The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday said the capital punishment awarded to 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru is a part of legal and judicial process which ought to have taken place much earlier.
"The attack on the Indian Parliament happened in 2001 that is 12 years ago, which was an attack on India. As we all know, no Member of Parliament can enter inside the Parliament even with a small blade in his hand. And if one of the terrorists with AK-47 would have entered inside, the life if nearly all the major leaders of all the major political parties of the country would have been imperilled, many would have been killed. This was the severity of the terrorist attack," said BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.
"The Supreme Court confirmed capital punishment against Afzal Guru in August 2005, his review was rejected in January 2007. Why so much of delay in spite of the overpowering desire of the people of the country that those who are accused of such a heinous offence ought to be given capital punishment as affirmed by the highest court of the land. This question will remain important and an answer will have to be found out," he added.
Prasad further said today is the day for us as a nation to take the resolve of zero tolerance against terrorism, and added that resolve is indeed very important.
Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the government's decision to hang Guru was judicious, in the interests of justice and the cause of national security.
"In the case of Afzal Guru, there was a dastardly attack which took place in the Indian Parliament. It led to an investigation process, which culminated in a prosecution process, which went through three layers of judicial scrutiny at the trial court, at the high court and at the Supreme Court level. Certain people, who were accused in this particular outrage were found to be innocent, they were acquitted by the courts. Others were found to be guilty, they were convicted," Tewari told media in Chennai.
"Then the clemency process under the Indian Constitution ensued and eventually it culminated in government taking a decision which it thought was judicious, furthers the interests of justice and the cause of national security," he added.
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today confirmed that Guru was hanged at 8 a.m. at the Tihar Jail. President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Guru's mercy plea on February 3 and a final decision to hang him was taken on February 8.
Guru was convicted of conspiracy in the December 2001 attack on Parliament and was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in 2004.
On 13th December 2001, five heavily-armed gunmen stormed the Parliament complex and opened indiscriminate fire, killing nine persons.
They included five Delhi Police personnel, a woman Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) official, two Parliament watch and ward staff and a gardener.
A journalist, who was injured, died later. All five terrorists were shot dead.
Guru, a Kashmiri Muslim, was arrested within hours after the attack from a bus in the national capital. (ANI)