So in India, what does it really take to hang a person 'til he's dead?
The answer is eerie but true: an exclusive opinion poll by a leading current affairs journal or perhaps a couple of agitated television talk shows. But this is getting ahead in the story. Let's start from the beginning.
The Origin of the Tale
On December 13, 2001, five terrorists launched a suicide attack inside Lok Sabha - India's national parliament. Their aim was either to take hostage the entire Indian leadership or to annihilate it. But the attack was foiled by the security forces. The terrorists were killed. It was later revealed that they all were from Pakistan.
Within three days, the Delhi police claimed to have solved the conspiracy and followed it up by arresting four Kashmiris, including a woman, all of them from Delhi. One of the alleged plotters, Mr. SAR Geelani, was an Arabic language lecturer in Delhi University. He was sentenced to death but was later acquitted by the higher court. But the death sentence of another man - Mr. Mohammad Afzal - was upheld by the Supreme Court in September, 2006. He will soon be hanged to death.
After the Attack
The terrorist attack inside the parliament had serious repercussions. The Pakistan connection only made it worse. It enraged the then Indian government, led by BJP - a Hindu fundamentalist party, to an extent that it decided to transfer the army to the international border forcing Pakistan to do the same. The bulk deployment of troops triggered a serious possibility of a nuclear war in South Asia forcing worldwide panic and resulting in fleeing of westerners from both the countries.
Who is Mohammad Afzal?
His story is a mirror into the wasted lives of several Kashmiri youths. Like many of his fellow young men, Mr. Afzal was disgusted and dejected by the alleged atrocities of the Indian army and went across the border into the terrorist camps of Pakistan-held Kashmir. But after returning to India, he was disillusioned enough to surrender to the Indian armed forces in 1993. His later life allegedly turned him into some sort of a police informer, an arrangement in which he willingly or was coerced to supply information on underground dissidence in the strife-ridden Kashmir valley. At least till 2001, he remained in close contact with the Indian armed forces.