Let me tell you first it is not just the JNU students who feel the death penalty against Afzal was not justified but many others including many civil rights activists and lawyers. The people of India were shown only one side of the coin and I am sorry to say that people are not keen on finding out what really is happening. You can see that in case of JNU. You see people complaining against the JNU student that they are studying from the tax payers’ money, but they don’t want to see behind the curtains or even if they see the truth they still have some vested interest not to disclose the truth.

Starting with Afzal Guru, he was an Indian citizen who grew up in Kashmir during all the atrocities and conflict there. The army from both side (India and Pakistan) were accused of harassment, violence and even rape. The youth including Afzal grew up with seeing this and much more. According to him he wanted to become a doctor and he had taken admission too in MBBS. During which the movement escalated for freedom of Kashmir. Which led him to Pakistan where he saw the same that he saw in India. Pakistan had it’s own interest in taking up the land of Kashmir but wasn’t interested in freeing it. So because of this conflict in his mind, he surrendered to the Indian army. He surrendered because of his ideologies. He wanted freedom for his people not violence.

Then he says Indian army wanted him to become informer for the Indian army. Which he didn’t agree with. Maybe because it was against his principles to betray his peers. Because of which the Indian army beat him and tortured him including electrocuting his genitals. His wife and son had to endure this pain that he was suffering. He was in hospital for recovery for over a month. He later agreed to work with the Special Task Force (STF) of Kashmir, whether due to pressure or threat only he knows. It is said he was given instructions to accompany and help some people in order to get intel from them. Therefore he accompanied them and helped them to get to Delhi. The irony here is neither the police knew or STF knew the motive of those people nor did Afzal (according to his statement). So indirectly the police made the job of these militants easier via Afzal. But there is no police record of this. Whether there was no such incident or whether this was the truth and the records were deliberately erased, only the people involved know and it might never get disclosed. When the group arrived at Delhi those five attacked the parliament and died.

So among all these activities according to Afzal he was just playing his part, though it is not clear for whom. People might be saying now that he confessed in public in front of the national television. But, this evidence was not admissible in SC. This was however the evidence based on which the HC decided its verdict. But, the SC had to denounce this evidence as it was found that he confessed due to the police pressure (that could involve torture and various threat). So apparently there was no solid evidence which could convince his guilt and motive. The verdict of the SC clearly states that the judgement was given according to the circumstantial evidence.
Which concludes that he was hanged because of just circumstantial evidences. He didn’t have a proper defence because every week his lawyers would change. He was an Indian after all why couldn’t he be given a fair defence. The lawyers who were taking his cases were threatened and most didn’t want to take his case. The evidence based on which he was tried previously was not admissible in the SC. So, basically SC gave the death penalty to someone against whom they didn’t have enough evidence, who cooperated fully with the police and justice system & who didn’t have a proper defence prepared just because they felt that it would not be objectionable and would be accepted by most. So judgement was done against him for convenience for the Indian public. Whether it was justified or not who cares. People don’t want to see the truth, they just want to feel relevant and patriotic.
After all this if you think there could be no other side to the story of Afzal and JNU then I don’t know what will convince you.