A close and dispassionate look at the Afzal Guru saga makes it clear that he was a sacrificial victim. His hanging followed an unfair trial, a convenient judgment to satisfy the “society's collective conscience” and an expedient rejection of the mercy petition for political ends.

In the wake of its inability to crack Parliament attack case, the Government machinery picked up Afzal Guru, locked him up in a solitary cell, denied him legal aid other than “defence by a court-appointed advocate” and fell back on dubious evidence to prove his role in the plot to attack Parliament .

He was sent to the gallows in deference to “public opinion”.

The hard question is whether he was kept on death row for the politically opportune moment to come.

His family was informed about the hanging by “Speed Post”, in adherence to the jail manual, and denied one final meeting with him in his last hours, flouting the instruction in the same manual. The imposition of curfew and deployment of more troops were done to pre-empt protests in the Valley.

It is paradoxical that the insistence that Kashmiris are Indian citizens provides them no immunity from the violations of their rights as citizens in “the world's largest democracy”.

G. David Milton

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Budget agenda

This refers to the article “Budget 2013: Provide succour to aam aadmi (Business Line, February 11). There are important issues which should receive the Finance Minister’s attention.

They are: the level of wealth to fix the highest tax percentage, quantifying the CSR of the super-rich, taking into consideration various items like health care, and raising the total expenditure involved in educating children and dependent children. Significant tax relief should be announced for lower income groups.

T. R. Anandan

Chennai

(This article was published on February 11, 2013)
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