We only want government to return Afzal Guru's body to us, says his family

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 12, 2013 10:28 hrs

New Delhi: The family of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru today said their only demand was that the Centre return his body to enable them to give him a proper burial just as Home Secretary R K Singh said that the family will be allowed to visit his grave inside Tihar jail.

"We have no problem if immediate family of Afzal Guru wants to come and offer prayers at his grave in Tihar jail," he told reporters here.

However, Guru's family said all they want is his body to be returned to them so that they can perform the last rites.

"We have no other demand...the only thing we want is that Afzal's body be returned to us," Mohammad Yasin, a cousin of Afzal, told PTI over phone from Sopore.

He said the family has written a letter to Tihar jail authorities as well as Deputy Commissioner Baramulla seeking that Guru's body be given to them.

"Soon after we came to know about the hanging, we wrote letters to Deputy Commissioner Baramulla and Tihar Jail authorities for return of the body," Mr Yasin said, adding, they were awaiting a response from the concerned authorities on the matter.

Asked about thhe Union government's considering allowing the family to offer 'fatiha' (prayer) on Afzal's grave, Yasin said it was of no use.

"Where will we offer 'fatiha'? We want to bury him here (in Sopore)," he said.

On reports that Afzal's family might be airlifted to Delhi for the purpose of visiting Afzal's grave, he said the family would go on their own if the situation comes to that.

"We will go to Delhi on our own, if it comes to that. We do not want any largesse from the Government. The only thing we want from them is to return Afzal's body," he said.

He termed as "cruel joke" the letter received yesterday from Tihar Jail authorities informing the family about Afzal's hanging.

"The arrival of the letter yesterday was like rubbing salt into open wounds of the family...the wounds which may never heal," Yasin said.

He alleged that the leaders of the country were playing politics over the death of Afzal.

"Afzal was hanged - rightly or wrongly, we don't want to go into that - but politicians should stop playing politics with it," he said.

On the other hand, the Home Secretary added that all of Guru's belongings will be handed over to his family.

"Belongings of Afzal will be returned to the family," Singh said.

The Tihar jail authorities will soon take a formal decision on the possible date for Guru's family to visit the grave.

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