P Chidambaram , the former finance minister in the Dr Manmohan Singh UPA government has created another stir with his latest comment on the Afzal Guru issue . Chidambaram has raised serious doubts over the degree of his involvement in the 2001 Parliament attacks. In an interview, published to The Economic Times, Chidamabaram had said, “I think it is possible to hold an honest opinion that the Afzal Guru case was perhaps not correctly decided.”
During the interview, the Congress veteran also referred to the ongoing JNU row and the slapping of sedition cases against five students for organising the Afzal Guru event and said, ”The opinion that Afzal Guru’s case was wrongly decided by the court is not anti-national so it is outrageous to slap sedition charges against the students.”
Importantly, former Home Minister’s comments come at a time when the JNU controversy has divided the whole nation with some calling for the urgent release of the five sedition-charged students, while some demanding strict action against them.
Congress leader who was the home minister from 2008 to 2012. To a question that he was also in the government that executed Guru, Chidambaram said he was “not the home minister then”. “I can’t say what I would have done. It is only when you sitting on that seat you take that decision.”
Chidambaram said though the government of the time could not have held the court decision wrong, “an independent person can hold an opinion that the case was not decided correctly”.
He said it was wrong to brand anyone with the same view as “anti-nation” and added the sedition charges against JNU students were “outrageous”. “Free speech is not seditious speech. Is your speech a spark in the powder keg (inciting violence) only then it amounts to sedition,” he said.
Afzal Guru was convicted by the Supreme Court of India in the 2001 Parliament attack that led to the killing of six Delhi Police personnel, two Parliament Security Service personnel and all 5 Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists.