Omar raps Centre on Guru hanging

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 10, 2013 12:32 hrs

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday spoke out on the execution of Parliament-attack convict Afzal Guru, saying the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government will need to prove that the move was not a 'selective' one.

"I had a sense that Afzal Guru would be executed sooner rather than later. Generations of Kashmiris will identify with Afzal Guru. You will have to prove to the world that the death penalty is not used selectively. The onus rests on the judiciary and the political leadership to show that this wasn´t a selective execution," Abdullah told CNN-IBN.

"We would have preferred if he wasn´t hanged," he said.

Slamming India´s main opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Abdullah said: "Why don´t we see the BJP clamouring for execution of Beant Singh´s killers or Rajiv Gandhi´s killers? If that (Afzal Guru´s execution) was to be the last execution on people who attacked Indian democracy, I would call it a political decision."

Speaking on the government´s decision to send a letter via speed post to Guru´s family to inform that his petition for clemency had been rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee and that he would be hanged in Tihar Jail, Omar said: "There is something wrong in the system if we are sending information through Speed Post in this era. We could have easily got the family to meet him in Delhi and kept it a secret."

Pertinently, Guru´s family on Saturday contradicted the government´s statement and said they were not informed about the Parliament-attack convict´s execution or rejection of his mercy plea by the President.

Guru´s cousin Yaseen Guru said they came to know about his execution via television channels and social networking sites.

Union Home Secretary RK Singh, however, on the same day said Guru´s family was sent a letter via speed post to inform about the rejection of his petition for clemency by the President and that he would be hanged in Tihar Jail.

Omar said the long-term implications of Guru´s execution are ´worrying´.

"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," the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister told NDTV.

Guru was hanged at Delhi´s Tihar Jail on Saturday. The execution took place at 8am and he was buried soon after at the jail, where he had been lodged for nearly eight years.

Guru´s execution was initially scheduled for Oct 20, 2006. But it was stayed after Guru´s wife filed a mercy petition with the President.

In December 2001, nine people were killed when five terrorists drove into the Parliament complex and opened fire. All the terrorists were shot dead.

Guru was arrested shortly after the attack and accused of planning it.

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