New Delhi, Feb 25: Former Union home minister P Chidambaram has said in an interview to the Economic Times that he felt it was possible to have an "honest opinion" that the case of Afzal Guru was "perhaps not correctly decided" and that there were serious doubts over the "extent of his involvement" in the 2001 Parliament attack.
Guru, who was convicted in the attack, was hanged and buried secretly in Tihar Jail in February 2013. Sushilkumar Shinde was India's home minister at that time. This year, a controversy broke out over the protest against the hanging of Guru leading to the establishment dubbing the protesters as "anti-national" and taking strong action against students on charges of sedition.
"I think it is possible to hold an honest opinion that the Afzal Guru case was perhaps not correctly decided," Chidambaram said in the interview.
"But being in government you cannot say the court has decided the case wrongly because it was the government that prosecuted him. But an independent person can hold an opinion that the case was not decided correctly," he said.
The veteran leader, who was the country's home minister between 2008 and 2012, backed the JNU students saying the sedition charges against them is "outrageous". He said free speech isn't seditious and the question of sedition arises only when one's speech incites violence.
"It is an age where students have the right to be wrong. And the university is a place where you don't always need to be profound, you can be ridiculous also," Chidambaram said in the interview.
When asked that he was part of the same government that hanged Guru, Chidambaram said: "That is true, but I was not the home minister then...I can't say what I would have done. It is only when you sitting on that seat you take that decision."