Agencies, New Delhi Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today denied that the decision to send Afzal Guru to the gallows was a political one and said the case of the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh was different from that of the Parliament attack convict.
Mr Shinde said Guru’s execution was as per the law and his family was informed in prior as per the rules. Asked if Guru’s family wants to visit his grave in Tihar jail, Mr Shinde told a news conference that: ‘’Their request can be considered.’’ Afzal Guru was hanged in the Tihar jail on Saturday morning, whereas his family today received an official letter informing about his execution.
While answering a query, Mr Shinde confirmed that he personally informed Omar Abdullah on night of February 8 about the execution of Afzal Guru. The Home Minister said, “I personally informed Omar about the execution. Also, the family of Afzal Guru was informed on the night of February 7.” He also said the Telangana issue is not a closed chapter. Earlier yesterday, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah criticised the execution of Guru saying it would reinforce a sense of alienation and injustice among the youth in the already inflamed Kashmir valley.
Stating that it was a ‘tragedy’ that Guru was not allowed to meet his family before being hanged, Mr Abdullah observed that there would be long-term implications of the hanging. Voicing opinion against the death penalty because ‘’ I have no bloodlust,’’ Mr Abdullah said as long as the capital punishment exists on the statute there should be no ‘pick and choose’. ‘’How we would be able to correct or address that sense of injustice and alienation is a question I do not have answers,’’ he added.
Asked if the UPA government went for selective execution of death row convicts by hanging Guru, Mr Abdullah said it will have to be prove to Kashmiris and to the world that the execution of Afzal Guru is not a ‘selective’ one. Guru had been on the death row for over 10 years after being convicted for his role in aiding and abetting the attack. A special court had sentenced Guru to death in December 2002 and the decision was upheld by the Supreme Court on August 4, 2005.