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Saddam Death: While leaders show divide, people remain indifferent
11/6/2006 9:38:09 PM

Srinagar,Nov 06: The death sentence handed out to the ousted Iraqi President, Saddam Hussain, by an Iraqi tribunal has evoked mixed reactions in Kashmir. While some leaders have termed it a just decision, others expressed reservations saying that the decision should have come from an independent court and not a tribunal backed by America.

The people, however, remained calm. The decision was neither received with joy by the Shia community nor did the Sunnis protest the decision.

PDP leader and strong Shia cleric, Iftikhar Hussain Ansari said in Srinagar that justice was done by convicting the former dictator. "He committed a sin, he massacred Iraqis and he was punished. He could not have been forgiven," Ansari said adding that "the law of the land has punished him."

"May be America has played a role in it, but he deserved the punishment," the Shia cleric reacted to the apprehensions raised by different quarters about the fairness of the trial.

APHC (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, meanwhile, raised apprehensions about the fairness of the trial. Terming Saddam "a cruel dictator", Gelani said that we should neither be amused nor have a soft corner for such a cruel dictator whose reign was un-Islamic."

"A Muslim ought to stand for Allah and not for any person or group. But the only reservation is that this decision should have come from the International court of justice and not a tribunal backed by America – an occupational force – who can not be free from prejudice," Geelani said while speaking at a seminar in Srinagar.

Another Shia cleric, Sheikh Ghulam Rasool Noori, pleaded with the people not to see the judgment in the light of sectarianism and said that the job of the court was to be just.

Quoting a verse from the Holy Quran, Noori said that "a Muslim should not be soft hearted for an oppressor" and also said that "a tyrant neither has a sect nor a religion."
"We should not see the judgment in the prism of sectarianism," Sheikh Noori said.

Separatist leader, Masrat-ul-Islam, meanwhile said that he was impressed by Saddam's gesture of challenging the court even when a death sentence was being pronounced by the judge. The leader, however, refrained from opining about the court judgment.

But the surprising part was the approach of the general masses that neither protested the decision nor celebrated it. Though the leaders showed a divide over the judgment, people showed an indifferent approach. Even the Shia majority Budgam town was silent.
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