Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru hanged
Source: The Sangai Express / Press Trust of India
New Delhi, February 09 2013 :
Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged on Saturday morning at Tihar Jail, was buried inside the prison complex soon after his execution.
"He (Guru) was buried near jail number three," a top Tihar Jail official said.
Guru spent over 10 years on death row in the Tihar prison and was hanged at the jail at 8 AM in an operation shrouded in secrecy.
The mercy plea of 43-year-old Guru, who was sentenced to death in 2002 by a special court and later upheld by the Supreme Court in 2005, was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee a few days back, Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Venu Rajamony said.
The body of Guru was buried in Tihar Jail itself as it was done in the case of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, who was buried in Pune's Yerwada jail soon after his execution.
Union home secretary RK Singh said President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the mercy petition of Afzal Guru on February 3 .
On December 13, 2001, five heavily-armed gunmen stormed the Parliament complex and opened indiscriminate fire, killing nine persons.
It is said that Jaish-e-Mohammad militant Afzal Guru, who was hanged today for his role in the deadly terror attack on Parliament in 2001, was remorseless when he was taken to the gallows in the morning.
Senior Tihar Jail officials who oversaw the entire preparation for hanging of Guru said he was "very peaceful" and "calm" during the final moments and did not appear repentant.
"He was very peaceful and calm during the final moments.
He looked very composed," a top Tihar Jail official said.
The official said Guru, who was lodged in Jail No.3 of the prison, was informed about his impending execution last evening and looked a "little shaken" thereafter.
A resident of Sopore in north Kashmir, 43-year-old Guru was executed near Jail No.3 in a top-secret operation.
A magistrate, a doctor and senior prison officials were present during his execution.
Another official said Guru was woken up at around 5 AM and was served tea.
He offered Namaz immediately after getting up.
"He was taken to the gallows at 7:30am," the official said.
Asked whether he was remorseless in his final moments, Director General of Prisons Vimla Mehra said, "He was happy and healthy.
That answers your question" .
A doctor carried out a health check up of Guru before he was taken to gallows near his cell.
Mehra said normal procedure was followed in the hanging.
"He (Guru) was buried near Jail No.3 with full religious rites," said another Tihar Jail official.
A Maulavi performed religious rites.
The jail authorities refused to share any details about whether he had any last wish or about any final words.
Guru, a former fruit merchant, was found guilty of conspiring and sheltering the militants who attacked Parliament on December 13, 2001, in which nine persons were killed.
The family of Guru residing in Sopore in north Kashmir was informed about the decision of the Government that his mercy petition has been rejected.
However, Guru's lawyers Nandita Haksar and N Pancholi said his family was not informed about the government decision to hang him.
The lawyers said the family came to know about Guru's hanging only through news channels.
"The family was not informed about the decision.
They came to know only through news channels.
The family is in Sopore.
They cannot come due to curfew," the lawyers said.
Political parties on Saturday said justice has been done with the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru even as BJP questioned the delay in carrying out the death sentence.
Both Congress and the BJP said the hanging of Guru, a Jaish-e-Mohammed militant, would send a message to terror outfits that India would not tolerate terrorism.
"The law has taken its course.
The Parliament attack convict has been hanged," Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi said reacting to the execution of Guru in Tihar Jail here.
"Justice has been done," another Congress spokesman Sandeep Dikshit said.
Questioning the delay in Guru's hanging, BJP said it should have happened much earlier after the confirmation of the capital punishment by the Supreme Court in 2005."The capital punishment awarded to Afzal Guru today 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.
"Why this sort of delay inspite of overpowering desire of the people of the country that those who are accused of such a heinous offence ought to be given the capital punishment as affirmed by the highest court of the land.
This question would remain important and an answer would have to be found out," BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.
In Chennai, Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said the decision to hang Guru was not based on political considerations.
"The process of Article 72 unfolded and once the mercy petition was rejected by the president (Pranab Mukherjee) the law took its own course," Tewari told a press conference.
He was referring to the article of the constitution under which a President can grant pardon or commute the sentence of any convict.
Alvi said the capital punishment to Afzal Guru would send a message to all terror outfits that India will not tolerate terror.
"We have sent a message to the world that we cannot tolerate terrorism at any cost.
Anybody committing any acts of terror will be punished.
People of our country and government have zero tolerance for terrorism", he said.
Taking a swipe at the BJP, Alvi said terrorists released by the NDA government during the Kandahar plane hijack episode were those who planned attack on Parliament.
BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: "Though delayed, we still feel that the hanging of Afzal Guru was a right action.
This action is delayed.
But undoubtedly it is a welcome action" .
CPM said the law of the land has taken its course as far as attack on the Indian Parliament is concerned.
"I think, the law of the land with all its provisions has finally been completed as far as the Afzal Guru case and the attack on the Indian Parliament is concerned.
The issue which had been lingering for the past 11 years has finally completed its due course," CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury said.
In Srinagar, People's Democratic Party expressed disappointment over Guru's hanging, saying the "sensitivities" of the people of Jammu and Kashmir should have been taken into account before taking the decision.
PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar also criticized Guru's burial inside the prison complex in New Delhi, saying the body should have been given to his family in Kashmir.
The All Party Hurriyat Conference announced a four-day mourning on the death of Guru.
"We call on people to observe four-day mourning on the hanging of Guru.
A complete shutdown will be observed over the mourning period," Hurriyat Conference spokesman Shahidul Islam told in Srinagar.
Shiv Sena, another party strident in its demand for Guru's execution, welcomed his hanging, saying the government showed "courage" in taking this decision.
"The government showed courage in hanging Guru," Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said in Mumbai but rued the delay in the process.
Raut said when Pranab Mukherjee had met Shiv Sena chief late Bal Thackeray during his campaign for the Presidential elections, the Sena supremo had urged him not to grant clemency to Guru.