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A Political Hanging: Nirmalangshu Mukherji

Guest Post by Nirmalangshu Mukherji

Since the secret hanging and burial of Afzal Guru in Tihar jail, many writers have justly condemned the manner in which the government conducted the execution . However, once the state decides to hang a person, the issue of whether the killing took place in a ‘transparent’ and ‘dignified’ manner is a largely aesthetic one. The process that initiated the killing continues to be of primary epistemic concern.

No doubt the manner and timing of the hanging clearly indicates that the government had ulterior political motives in mind. Yet, these motives are better understood in terms of the political considerations that guided the case of Afzal Guru from his arrest to the rejection of his mercy petition. His hanging within a few days of the presidential rejection was just the inevitable culmination of this political process.

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