New Delhi: Parliament attack convict Afzal
Guru has become a cause of a war between a human rights NGO
and a lawyer, with both claiming to represent him in his fight
against death sentence.
The war came out in the open after N D Pancholi, a human
rights activist and a lawyer, claimed to the media that Guru
had petitioned the Supreme Court for expeditious disposal of
his mercy plea as his "solitary confinement was worse than
Pancholi made the statement, saying he was representing
Guru in his fight for mercy petition which is under
consideration of the government.
The Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners
(CRPP), an NGO led by S A R Geelani, who was acquitted in the
2001 Parliament attack case, soon came out with a statement
rubbishing Pancholi and his claim to be Guru`s lawyer.
Geelani, the Working President of CRPP, claimed that
Pancholi had nothing to do with the case and Guru was being
represented only by his NGO.
He claimed that that Pancholi had never appeared for
Guru in any court.
An associate professor in Delhi University, Geelani
claimed the CRPP was representing Afzal and Pancholi had
nothing to do with the case.
Pancholi rejected this contention. "How can they (CRPP)
say that? I have the `vakalatnama` and I met him through
proper channels. Then how can they say that I am not his
counsel? Whose cause are they serving," Pancholi said.
Incidentally, Geelani and Pancholi were founding members
of an NGO Society for Protection of Detainees and Prisoners
Rights (SPDPR) from which the lawyer resigned following
Countering Pancholi, Geelani said that Pancholi was
given `vakalatnama` by the SPDPR when he was its member to
meet Guru in jail. "After that he had resigned and even Guru
had objections to him," he claimed.
"If he had gone to the President`s House with mercy
petition, it was the SPDPR which sent him. We sent him not as
his counsel," he said.
Pancholi dubbed CRPP`s statement as "mischievous" and
said he had "the approval from Guru to say about this
Pancholi claimed he resigned from the SPDPR along with
human rights activist Nandita Haksar as they were not
satisfied with the way Geelani and his faction was handling
the Afzal case.
"They wanted to mix politics in it. They want to mix
Kashmir politics. They are using Guru for their politics. We
were against it and wanted a true representation of the case
without politics," Pancholi said.
However, Geelani said it was upto Guru to decide on how
he should be portrayed.
The lawyer also alleged that Geelani had collected funds
for the case for which "no proper account" was maintained.
Geelani rubbished the claims saying "we never collected
funds. I don`t want to make counter claims. Pancholi`s
comments are baseless and borne out of frustration."