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Hand over Afzal's body to family on humanitarian grounds: Mehbooba Mufti

Srinagar, Feb 9, 2013, (PTI): 19:37 IST
Terming the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru today as disappointing, opposition PDP President Mehbooba Mufti demanded handing over his body to the family for last rites.

"While the hanging should not have been carried out, the return of Afzal's body was the least the government could do to show its concern for humanitarian values," the PDP president said in a statement here.

Mehbooba said the PDP believed that whatever the requirements of legal process, there was a need for the government to take into consideration the overall political impact of this execution, which is the reason why the option of mercy has been provided under the constitution.

She said the PDP had, keeping this in view, made an appeal to the President of India in 2011 to grant clemency to Guru and commute his death sentence into life imprisonment.

"We feel that at a time when there is a need to step up measures to reduce the trust deficit between the state and rest of the country, the execution of Afzal Guru could produce results to the contrary. Our party is generally in favour of scrapping death penalty from the statute book and we reiterate that position once again," Mufti said.

Referring to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's claim that he had no role in carrying out the execution, Mehbooba said the state government cannot be absolved of its responsibility in taking this crucial decision that can have long term political implications on the state.

"The NC is part of the UPA and it must share the responsibility for this decision. Power sharing can't be in isolation of sharing the fallout of decisions," she said.

Appealing for restraint in expression of feelings, Mehbooba said the people of the state have already suffered too long and too much "at the hands of this trigger happy government with loss of life in 2010 only the latest which awaits closure."

Condemning the use of force on protesters at various places, especially in Baramulla district, Mehbooba said the government has once again exposed its "trigger happy" nature. She said many have been wounded in police action and reportedly about a dozen of them have sustained bullet injuries.

"Contrary to elsewhere in the country, in Kashmir, bullet seems to be the preferred weapon of the forces which unfortunately contributes to cynicism, alienation and anger apart from killing, maiming and disabling countless people trying to use their democratic right to protest," she added.

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