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India's Plan to Kill Muslim Heightens Tension

India plans to hang Kashmiri Muslim Mohammed Afzal, who was convicted of indirect involvement in the attack on India's parliament in 2001 in a trial that was riddled with shortcomings.

Controversy is raging both about his case and whether India should have the death penalty at all.

Large banners adorn the streets of Islamabad, calling for the international community to intervene in the Afzal affair. A former chief minister of India-controlled Kashmir says the country will go up in flames if Afzal is executed.

The Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy has weighed in on Afzal's behalf. Much hinges on India's president, a Muslim, who is handling a plea for clemency from Afzal's family.

He has felt considerable political pressure: A survey by India Today magazine has just been published that found opinion to be overwhelmingly in favor of killing Afzal.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering South America. Previously, he served as NPR's correspondent covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.