Afzal's family plans to move apex court

Afzal's family plans to move apex court

Still grappling with the trauma of his sudden execution, the family of Afzal Guru is planning to move the Supreme Court so that no other family is denied the right to meet their loved one before being hanged.

“We cannot bring back Afzal who met such a cruel fate. The authorities were insensitive and did not allow him to meet his family one last time. But perhaps we can ensure that no other family undergoes the same trauma,” says Aijaz Guru, elder brother of Parliament attack convict Afzal, who was hanged on February 9.

Afzal’s wife, son and others in the family got to know of his execution after the news became public. A letter from Delhi’s Tihar jail authorities informing them that he was being hanged reached them some 51 hours after the hanging, generating a wave of anger in the Kashmir valley. The family has taken note of the comments of Chief Justice of India Justice Altamas Kabir who said last week that families of death row convicts should be informed in advance about their execution. “The principle has always been that the family members were told when things will happen,” he had said.

At the height of controversy over the way Afzal was executed, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had reportedly summoned Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and expressed his displeasure over the delay in informing Afzal Guru’s family about his hanging. Afzal’s family now want the apex court to take suo motu cognisance of the matter and lay down the rule that the families of those who are to be hanged are informed in advance and allowed to meet the person before execution.

If that does not happen, Guru's family will move the Supreme Court with that objective, Aijaz said.

More than two months after the hanging of Afzal, the execution still haunts the family which is trying hard to pick up the threads of life with Afzal's wife Tabassum resuming work at a local hospital here while Aijaz and his younger brother Hilal were still receiving condolences.

"We never imagined that such information will be shared with us through television. Did the authorities not even think once about his 12-year-old son Ghalib?" he asked.
"Words can hardly provide any balm and our souls have been left completely bruised," says 45-year-old Aijaz .

"We cannot ensure that those responsible for such a mix up will be punished but by moving the Supreme Court we can ensure that this will be the last case and no one faces this kind of harassment," Aijaz said as the family of the Parliament attack convict stays away from politics in the state over handing over Afzal's body.

"Aagey kisi ke saath aisa zulm na ho (No one should suffer like the way we did)," Aijaz, who runs a small time timber trade, said with tearful eyes.

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