It was around 7.45 a.m. yesterday that I saw on Twitter that President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the mercy petition filed by Afzal Guru, who awaited the death sentence for his role in the attack on India’s Parliament way back in 2001. A lot of people, including me, felt the Government of India had dragged its feet in executing Afzal Guru fearing a back lash in the Kashmir Valley. It was well-known that the ruling UPA-II feared it might alienate sections of India’s large Muslim population by hanging him. I was surprised to see just a little while later reports emerge that he had been hanged to death in Tihar Jail at 8.00 a.m.With the hanging of Afzal Guru yesterday has his story come to an end? Or is it just the beginning of another episode? Only time will tell. I am reminded of some of the things I wrote about terror and terrorists in my latest thriller, ” Lucky For Some, 13″ published in December 2012.
- The back cover copy starts with, ” Is the only good terrorist a dead one?” Are the ones captured alive more likely to be problematic? As you can imagine, their very presence could lead to missions to rescue them ( as depicted in my book) before they talked too much. They could also be central to negotiations when others are held hostage to get their release from captivity (which is again covered in my book.)
- The shrewd old business magnate Seth Motiram didn’t like the idea of living in a place like “Opulence.” He felt it could be a target for some gang to hold some of the richest people in Bangalore to ransom. The idea was scoffed by his son Dinesh who felt they were absolutely safe because of the huge investments made in technology. As the story shows, the best of technology can crash before base human emotions of greed and fanaticism.
- Alice Hatchman Sawney (in my book) is in some ways modeled after the real life Daood Sayed Gilani now more notorious as David Coleman Headley who was one of the main persons involved in the planning of the attack on Mumbai in November 2008. Stereotypes being what they are, many in India wouldn’t have dreamt that a Caucasian White American could be on the side of the terrorists.
- Ironically the very method setting up sleeper cells ( in my book) caused the downfall of the terrorists. They worked in such water-tight compartments that one didn’t know who the other was and what he/she was expected to do. This helped in the capture of Yusuf Ahmed ( in my book) when he was exposed by Hassan inadvertently. The same point comes up later in my book when Dhanraj was allowed to leave the farmhouse by Naveed saying he was carrying out a task assigned to him. This as later events showed paved the way for the attack on the farmhouse to rescue Dash Sawney.
Truth is often stranger than fiction. What lies ahead following Afzal Guru’s hanging remains to be seen.