'Capital punishment is given in rarest of rare cases': Manish Tewari

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 11, 2013 08:20 hrs

With Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah stating that he fears the hanging of Afzal Guru may reinforce a feeling of alienation in his state, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Monday said every individual and every leader is free to express his or her views in the Indian democratic milieu, but added that capital punishment is given in the rarest of rare cases, and each case rests on its own unique facts and circumstances.

"We listen to them extremely carefully. We take those views on board. However, it is important to remember that capital punishment is given in the rarest of rare cases, and each case rests on its own unique facts and circumstances. There can never be a one size fits all. There can never be a generic broad brush when you deal with matters, which are so sensitive and have both legal, judicial and constitutional implications and obligations," said Tewari.

"So, therefore, we would like to submit that in the case of capital punishment, there is a need to be responsible and there is a need to understand and realise that there is a very deliberate scrutiny process, which is involved and which takes into consideration the facts and circumstances of each case on its own merits," he added.

In an exclusive interview to a leading English news channel, Abdullah has said that he can't reconcile to the fact that Guru's family was denied one last meeting with him.

"The long-term implications of Afzal Guru's execution are worrying as they are linked to the people of Kashmir, especially the younger generation. Like it or not, the execution has reinforced the point that there is no justice. We will have to deal with how we can change that sort of alienation," he said.

Abdullah, who has repeatedly stressed in the past that Guru's execution could have severe repercussions in Jammu and Kashmir, had earlier on Saturday urged the people not to politicise the issue and to maintain peace and calm in the state.

"First of all, I would like to appeal to the people of the state that they should not let the situation get out of hand. There are such people among us who can use the instance of Afzal Guru's hanging for their personal and political gains, and would also try to incite the people. I hope that people will control their emotions and not let those people do such type of things," he said.

Guru was hanged at Delhi's Tihar Jail at 8 a.m. on Saturday. He was buried inside the prison complex soon after his execution.

President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Guru's mercy plea on February 3 and a final decision to hang him was taken.

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 was arrested within hours after the attack from a bus in the national capital. (ANI)

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