Afzal wanted to live quietly with his family, but his dream was cut short when once again the SOG got hold of him and took him back to Kashmir.
“The SOG told my husband to bring one man, Mohammad, to Delhi from Kashmir. He met Mohammad and one other man Tariq at the SOG camp. He did not know anything about the men and he had no idea why he was being asked to do the job. He had told this to the court, but the court only chose to believe half his confession about bringing Mohammad, not the part about where he had met these attackers,” she said.
Tabassum alleged that the superior judiciary ignored pleas to re-examine witnesses and to call SoG people to witness box.
Tabassum recalls how Afzal was attracted to the movement led by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, much like thousands of other youth. He went to Pakistan for training, was soon disillusioned and returned to Kashmir within three months.
Tabassum, now living with her son Ghalib, 14, had inklings of Afzal’s fate, as relatives of fellow Kashmiri inmates had conveyed that Tihar was full of rumours that he would be hanged soon.
They had taken a hint from the fact that execution court in Jail No. 3 of Tihar was being refurbished. “But there was no communication from the government,” she said, adding that the news of her husband’s hanging was broken to her by a relative, who heard it on TV.
Saturday was a normal day for Tabassum at the Sopore nursing home. Fourteen-year-old Ghalib was at a relative's house in Khanpora Baramulla. Father-in-law Ghulam Ahmad Buhroo ws at the local baker's shop in Baramulla buying bread for morning, while brother Bashir Ahmed Guru had gone to the mosque in Doabgah to offer prayers.
Then the calls started pouring in.
Freiends and relatives told the family about a rumour, that first surfaced on Facebook that Afzal had been hanged inside Tihar Jail.
Within half an hour, news channels confirmed the news.
Accusing the Centre and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde of lying, father-in-law Buhroo said: "They did not tell us anything." The J&K Police said they had not been told to inform the family.
Afzal's elder brother Ajaz Ahmad Guru told Indian Express: "I received a call from a close relative telling me to come home. When I reached, he told me there is a rumour that Afzal has been hanged. We couldn't believe it... The final confirmation came from news channels."
By then, the Army, police and CRPF had sealed Doabagh, the native village of Afzal, 5 km from Sopore. Nobody was allowed to enter. As people from surrounding villages tried to move in, they were fired at, with five wounded.
Afzal's father-in-law, with whom Tabassum and Ghalib stay at Baramulla, said: "We met him (Afzal) on Raksha Bandhan. It was a routine meeting. We did not have any idea that he would be hanged like this. If the government had informed us, we would have at least tried to meet him one last time. What kind of democracy is this? They did not even ask him for his last wish."
Buhroo, who was informed about the hanging by a relative, said he didn't know how to break the news to his daughter Tabassum. "I asked one of my relatives to convey the news."
He said he called the local police station, requesting that they be allowed to go to Afzal's ancestral home at Doabgah, 15 km from Baramulla. "The police declined. Later we took a private car to reach the village," he said. Surrounded by neighbours at Afzal's ancestral house, Tabassum refused to talk to anyone.
The family believes the execution was sudden because the Congress wanted to reap political benefits.
"Afzal was innocent and didn't get a fair trial," Buhroo said. "He was hanged by the Congress government for political gains. They know elections are around."
The family's only demand now is that Afzal's body be handed over to them. Buhroo said it was their right to perform his funeral in accordance with their faith.
''How can they bury him inside Tihar jail? He has a family. He has a son, a wife and a brother," he said. "They must hand over the body to us as soon as possible."
"They are claming to be the biggest democracy... They don't have the courage to give us his body," he added.
The family, including Ajaz, Tabassum and Ghalib, has written a letter to the Baramulla deputy commissioner, with a copy to J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, asking for their help for the return of Afzal's body.
"Every human being has a right (to a proper burial) as per his religion and faith. This alone can bring religious serenity and divine tranquillity to us, especially his wife and only child," says the letter.
Some of the family members are planning to leave for New Delhi on Sunday, if the government lifts the cordon around the village, and have sought the Baramulla DC's help for this.
Ajaz said they would sit on a protest at Srinagar's Lal Chowk if his body was not returned. "I only want to see his face," said Ghalib, who was just two years old when Afzal was arrested.
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