Beni Prasad Verma flip flops after saying Afzal Guru should not be hanged

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 13, 2012 11:18 hrs

Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma, who said Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru should not be hanged, on Thursday backtracked his comments and said he did not make such remarks.

"The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is in a hurry on the matter. I did not say that. Did you hear me say that?" Verma told reporters when he was asked on his remarks.

"We shall respect what the Supreme Court has said...Whatever the President will decide shall happen," he said.

"What is right should happen," Verma said.

Verma earlier in the day sparked a controversy and said Guru should not be hanged.

"Afzal Guru should not be hanged. His sentence should be commuted to life imprisonment," he told media.

Lok Sabha witnessed uproar over the Guru on Thursday as Speaker Meira Kumar slammed the lawmakers of the Opposition party when they raised a ruckus over the Parliament attack convict's hanging inside the House.

"This day 13 people were martyred to save the Parliament. They did not sacrifice their lives for this," an angry Meira Kumar said pointing to the pandemonium that broke out.

She was angry over the uproar by the BJP and Shiv Sena MPs after the house observed a minute's silence.

BJP and Sena lawmakers started shouting demanding the hanging of Guru.

Paying tribute to the martyrs of the Parliament attack on this day in 2001, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj on the same day said the best tribute to the dead would be when Guru was hanged for the crime.

"We can pay real tribute to the martyrs only when the date of hanging of Afzal Guru is announced," said Swaraj.

She said why Afzal Guru was not hanged remained unanswered.

The BJP has given a notice for the suspension of Question Hour in the Lok Sabha to discuss the hanging of Guru, who is convicted in the Parliament attack case.

The Congress, however, criticized the BJP for raising the issue while paying tribute to the dead.

"The hanging decision is taken by courts and not parliament," said junior home minister Kunwar RPN Singh.

Earlier Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the file of Guru, which was sent to President, was sent back to him along with other cases and he will look into it after the Parliament session ends.

On Dec 13, 2001 the Indian Parliament was attacked by Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists leading to the death of several people, mostly the security personnel.

Five policemen, a security guard, and a gardener were killed, and 18 others were injured.

Convicted terrorist Guru has been sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in 2004. The sentence was scheduled to be carried out on Oct 20 2006 but Afzal was given a stay of execution and remains on death row.

There was a clemency plea against his death sentence before the President.

Last month, 26/11 Mumbai attack's only surviving gunman, Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasav, was hanged inside a Pune jail.

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