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'Media traumatized Afsan Guru'

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
November 01, 2003 18:02 IST
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Navjot Sandhu alias Afsan Guru, who was acquitted along with Professor Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani in the Indian Parliament attack case by the Delhi high court on Monday, expressed happiness that she has been let off.

Afsan, 40, told over the telephone she was thankful to all who helped her get out of the case.

"I am very happy. I am indebted to the judiciary for doing justice to me," she said.

Referring to the judgment by Special Judge S N Dhingra, who ordered that she should spend five years in jail for her alleged role in the attack on December 13, 2001, she said what happened to her was not good.

"I am thankful to all who helped me get out, particularly Lata Wani and Nitya Ramakrishnan," she said.

Justices Usha Mehra and Pradeep Nandrajog of the Delhi high court found nothing against Afsan Guru to confirm the lower court's judgment.

'As far as accused Afsan Guru is concerned, except for her being the wife of accused Shaukat Hussain, what has been brought on record against her by the prosecution is firstly the confessional statement of Shaukat and Mohammad Afzal, which we have already held is inadmissible against her,' the judges said.

The judges did not see merit in the evidence provided by the landlord, who had identified the terrorists and prosecution witness Sushil Kumar who sold a motorcycle to the terrorists.

'When he (Sushil Kumar) said when he sold the motorcycle, three men and a woman came to his shop. He did not identify the woman as being Afsan,' they noted.

'From the evidence against the accused Afsan Guru, we are of the opinion that even the offence that she had knowledge of the conspiracy and failed to report the same to the police is not established,' they said.

They dismissed the telephone conversation she had with her husband on December 18, 2001 as insufficient evidence.

The judges said merely because some meetings took place, assuming it to be correct, in the home would not be sufficient by itself to impute knowledge to her.

'The two pieces of evidence against Afsan do not create circumstances from which an inference of guilt can be firmly and cogently established. They do not unerringly point towards the guilt of Afsan,' the judges said.

Afsan's counsel Ramakrishnan said she was appalled to see her when they first met in jail in May 2002.

"She had a full blown pregnancy. She did not look comfortable. She wanted to know what wrong she had done that she was rotting in jail.''

Even subsequent meetings did not help. "We did not have an intelligent conversation, which was necessary to build up her defense. Whatever we could do was based on facts. Nothing else," Ramakrishna told

What plans does Afsan have? "We have no idea. She is struggling to come to terms with reality. The media gave her a bad time. If they had not hounded her after her release from Tihar last Tuesday, she could have been able to answer your questions," she said.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi