The heavy hand of justice

Letter to the Editor, by K.N.Pandita – Dear Sir, The Supreme Court of India, the highest institution of justice in the country has delivered its judgement in the case of terrorist attack on the parliament. One of the accused has been given death sentence and the other one served ten years of rigorous imprisonment. The verdict was delivered after all legal formalities were completed. In this process the most important part was of furnishing adequate and convincing evidence. The honourable judges never allowed any lapse in completing all technicalities. The accused were provided all opportunity of defending themselves. Legal assistance was also offered though not accepted by the accused. Thus from all legal aspects the case was thoroughly screened and examined.

There have been demonstrations in Srinagar and other towns of Kashmir valley against the verdict by the separatists. Interestingly, demonstrations against. The decision of the apex court began from the defenders of the law of the land meaning the Srinagar bar association itself.
Separatist groups and organizations including those who want to be called moderates took the clue from the bar association and made demonstrations. The police and security forces had to swing into action to protect the civilian population from being vandalised.

APHC, the ideological front of separatism has given a call for a general strike on August 8 in a bid to galvanise Kashmirian society into solidarity against the verdict of the apex court. The coalition partners of the APHC have also in separate statements called the verdict as a measure to suppress the “freedom movement” in Kashmir. An atmosphere of expression of disapproval of the SC is steadily built to accentuate the alienation process.

This environment is created at a time when the peace process is pursued with all seriousness and in the course of things, some movement forward has already been made. What bearing will it have on that hard earned achievement remains to be seen?

Going by the repeated statements of the Hurriyat, its affiliates and other separatist groups, violence is to be eschewed in finding a lasting solution to Kashmir problem. Taking the spirit of this assertion into consideration, it is obvious that there are only two ways of preventing further violence. One is that of amnesty for all indulging in acts of violence so that they are provided an opportunity to rejoin the national mainstream. The other and rather unavoidable way is to allow the law of the land take is natural course.

New Delhi offered ceasefire to the militants in Kashmir, which they spurned. It offered to talk to them if they eschewed arms but they spurned the offer. In regard to second option, the union as well as the state government never circumvented the law of the land in dealing with persons against whom there are criminal cases. As stated at the outset, all legal formalities were completed without the smallest lapse or negligence while the case was heard and all possible opportunities of defence were allowed to the accused.

The verdict came in complete compliance of the law of the land. It has to be noted that the Supreme Court hopefully did not deliver the judgement keeping in mind that the country’s highest law making body had been attacked. What the honourable court concentrated upon was that security personnel on duty were gunned down without any provocation with the intention of entering the parliament and gunning down a large number of MPs. Thus there was a clear case of murder against the assailants. Therefore the law took its ordinary course and now the verdict has come.

Where does all this leave any scope for protests and demonstrations? Where does this show that the “freedom movement” is suppressed? Where does it show that an irregularity is done?

Obviously those who are now demonstrating against the verdict or are instigating others to assemble in numbers and stage dharna and strike are challenging the authority and sovereignty of the Supreme Court of India.

Terrorism has spread to many parts of the country. Many terrorists have been captured tried punished and hanged or sent to long imprisonments. This is because the state promises to protect the life and property of its citizens. But challenging the law of the land means politicising the criminal procedure and intimidating the highest fountain of justice. No civilized society will allow it. And if it allows, it is not a civilized society nor is it having a just administration. Political leadership and political movements do not mean they have the freedom of committing crimes and politicising their law breaking activities. In the present case justice had to be done to those whose right to life was denied. In doing so, the human rights of the culprits were fully taken into consideration.

A true freedom fighter may be lionised. A true freedom fighter having suffered oppression and suppression may become Nelson Mandela of his times. But a murderer is a murderer when he makes an elaborate plan to attack his targets meaning human beings.

The separatists in Kashmir shall have to see that the law and politics are not mixed-up. A legally constituted government is bound to enforce the verdict of its highest court of law whose judges have been appointed by the President of India through an established procedure. The law of the land still leaves the option of appeal for mercy open to the aggrieved. This is yet the last attempt to ensure that a fair deal has been given and the law of the land has not been abused.

The verdict should have evoked a constructive response of appealing the militants to refrain from acts of violence that deprive innocent human beings the right to enjoy existence.

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