Former Lok Sabha MP and Dalit icon Babasaheb Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar spoke out against Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru’s hanging and said his death would help Kashmiri separatists polarise public opinion in their favour in the state.
However, Prakash’s stance drew fire from the Shiv Sena which has been demanding that the death sentence be executed.
Prakash said once Guru’s death sentence is executed, it would provide a rallying point for Kashmiri separatist organisations, who would paint him as a ‘martyr’ and hold Hindutva organisations responsible for it. He warned that the separatists could also demand a referendum on Kashmir. In an analogy that has angered the Sena, Prakash said Sardar Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom at the hands of the British had provided a similar rallying point for people in the freedom struggle.
“They (separatists) will indulge in propaganda around his martyrdom that he was a victim of (pro-) Hindutva India. (They will ask people in Kashmir valley which is Muslim dominated) whether they want to stay in a Hindutva dominated India,” Prakash, who heads the Bharatiya Republican Paksha-Bahujan Mahasangh told DNA. He warned that the ripples could also be felt in the northeastern states which are facing insurgency. “There is no need to execute (the sentence), let him stay in jail,” Prakash added, stressing that “rational behaviour is more important than emotional behaviour.”
However, these comments attracted the ire of the Shiv Sena, which stressed on the need to “sterilise the tongues of politicians”. An editorial in the party organ Saamna on Wednesday said that Ambedkar sat in the very Parliament which had been attacked by Guru and his accomplices. “The love that Prakash Ambedkar has for terrorist AfzalGuru does not suit the Ambedkar name,” the editorial said.