Omar Slams Afzal’s Hanging, Says Long-term Implications ‘Far More Worrying’

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SRINAGAR: Chief minister Omar Abdullah today hit out at the UPA government over Afzal guru’s hanging, saying he “would have preferred if Afzal Guru was not hanged”. 

Speaking to a news channel a day after the Parliament attack convict on Sunday, Omar, whose party National Conference is an ally of UPA said, Afzal’s hanging “didn’t come as a complete surprise to us”, adding, “We would have preferred if he wasn’t hanged.”

“I had a premonition that Afzal Guru’s execution would follow Ajmal Kasab’s execution.

“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.”

Warning that Afzal’s execution will breed alienation amongst Kashmiris, Omar said, “A lot of what happens in the Valley simmers under the surface. There are a few things I need to discuss with the government over the larger implications,” he said.

Lashing out at the Opposition, Omar questioned BJP’s silence on the death sentence of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh’s killers.

“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,” he added.

Though Union Home Secretary R K Singh had yesterday said that the family of Guru, a resident of Sopore in North Kashmir, was sent a communication through speedpost, the family claimed having not received any such communication raising questions as to whether there was a serious effort to inform the family.

Omar questioned the rationale of informing Guru’s family through post saying the reliability of the medium itself was questionable.

“If we are going to inform someone by post that his family member is going to be hanged, there is something seriously wrong with the system,” he said.

The Chief Minister expressed concern about his government having been informed about the execution just 12 hours in advance and said he was hurt that the family of Guru had not been informed in due time.

Omar said it was a “tragedy” that Guru was not allowed to meet his family before he was hanged and not allowed a “final farewell”

Omar said his government could have arranged a state government plane to take Guru’s family to Delhi for meeting the death row convict before his hanging.

On Guru’s family not allowed to meet him, Omar said, “I cannot reconcile myself to the fact that his (Afzal) family was not allowed to see him before he was killed or executed. That to my mind, on a human level, is the biggest tragedy of this execution.”

“I wish we were the ones authorised to give the news to the family. I will talk to the government about the issue of bringing Afzal Guru’s remains here to the Valley,” he added. Agencies

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