Afzal Guru's case was different, says Shinde

Reaffirms that all procedures were followed

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday picked holes in Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s assertion that Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s hanging was “out of turn.”

At his monthly press briefing, Shinde said executing the killers of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and Punjab chief minister Beant Singh “differ from this particular case.”

“The cases of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh’s assassins are still pending in the Supreme Court. After rejection of mercy petitions, cases were filed in the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court. These cases are still under consideration before the judiciary. Hence Afzal Guru’s execution was different,” the minister told reporters.

Omar Abdullah’s father, Union minister Farooq Abdullah, said: “Afzal Guru’s mercy petition was put before the President. He rejected it. The matter is over.”    

A day after Guru’s hanging, Omar had said: “The onus will rest on the judiciary and the political leadership to prove to the people that this was not a selective execution and not for political purposes.”

Volleying questions on why faster means of communication was not used to inform Guru’s family of the hanging, Shinde produced a photo copy of the letter dispatched to Guru’s family in Kashmir’s Sopore village via speed post on February 7, two days before the hanging. But the letter reached the family on Monday at 11 am.

Sources in the government said an inquiry has been launched to find out why a letter drafted on February 6 by the Tihar jail superintendent reached Guru’s wife Tabassum after four days.

Shinde, however, said: “His family’s request for conducting the last prayers according to their religion can be considered.” On whether Guru’s body will be handed over to his wife, the home minister said, “Everything was carried out according to rules.”

The minister also defended the absolute secrecy in the government’s functioning.
No government can function if every decision is made public, he added. Meanwhile, the BJP criticised Omar Abdullah for being “sympathetic” towards Guru. 

“We deeply condemn his interview because it has a sympathetic chord for the terrorist who attacked Parliament, the idea of India and condemned to death eight years ago. So, to raise the issue of discrimination or some other references, actually is nothing but provoking the situation in the Valley. At least the chief minister should not do this,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters.

No political motive

The Congress has rejected speculations that there was a political motive behind the execution.

“Finally, justice has been done. The people will also understand this. Elections to the Lok Sabha will be held after one and a half years. I do not think it has anything to do with the elections. The process was on for many days. Action was taken as soon as the President rejected the mercy petition,” Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit said.

On Omar Abdullah’s remark that the new generation in Kashmir would identify themselves with Guru, he said a section of the people could possibly have such mindset, but it was unfortunate.

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