People's Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti feels Afzal Guru's hanging is a step backward. Excerpts from an interview:
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has clarified that the state government had no role in the execution?
Can you believe the chief minister of a state, especially like Jammu and Kashmir, whose citizen is being hanged, had no advance information? If that has happened, then it means that we are not a part of democratic India. It is not just that he is an alliance partner, he is friends with people in Delhi. I don't think such an influential person had no inkling.
National Conference patron and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah has said all procedures were completed before Afzal was hanged.
The NC hunts with the hound and runs with the deer. It is a very serious issue and they are making a joke of it. Omar should have confirmed whether the [Afzal's] family was informed. He should have made arrangements for it.
What could be the possible repercussions of this execution for the state?
Remember, we [the PDP] were also the UPA's alliance partners. I had told them then that it would be a step backward. I was criticised by many. But we continued to stress our point and also appealed to the President. And, when there was talk of a resolution for clemency for Afzal in the J&K Assembly, we decided to support it. As Kashmiris, we understood the consequences would be grave. And, the way it has been done has made it even more grisly.
You have said that all investments in peace are now at stake.
Yes, not only us but the people of the state have invested in peace. But what they [the Centre] have done and the way it was done is highly unfortunate. The fundamental rules of decency have been flouted for the so-called war on terror.
Do you think the UPA had taken this decision for its benefit and left Omar to deal with the fallout?
In Afzal's case, the UPA has jumped the queue. We want to know why. I wish the NC had taken a stand. It seems the NC and the UPA are paying the debts they owe each other. Kashmiris have been hanged before and so is it now. We are facing a martial law and order situation in the state.
Have you tried to get in touch with Afzal's family?
No, I don't think they are in the right frame of mind right now. We are part of mainstream politics and we take pride in being part of the Indian democracy. But the face that Afzal's family has seen of it, where they were not even allowed one last meeting with him, has put us in a very difficult situation.
Would the PDP and Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, as former home minister, use his influence to get Afzal's body back to Kashmir?
That is our stand and we would strive for that. I think that is the least that can be done to assuage the hurt of the family and the people of Kashmir.