Shinde Defends Secrecy in Afzal’s Hanging

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NEW DELHI: Amid a row over delay in informing the family of Afzal Guru about his execution, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday said that the family was informed in prior as per the rules.

Addressing a press conference, Shinde said: “The decision to hang Afzal was not politically motivated but was done as per the law.”

Shinde also defended the secrecy shrouding the execution and said Afzal Guru’s family was informed two days before the hanging through speed post. The post reached the family Monday, two days after he was hanged.

Shinde rejected allegations that the hanging was a “political decision” and said the authorities acted according to rules.

Afzal Guru was hanged in the Tihar jail on Saturday morning, whereas his family on Monday received an official letter informing about his execution.

However, Shinde added that if Afzal Guru‘s family wants to visit his grave in Tihar jail, that can be considered.

He also dismissed Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s charge that the execution of Afzal Guru was selective, and said the assassination cases of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and Punjab chief minister Beant Singh were different.

“These cases are still under consideration before the judiciary. Hence, they are different,” he said.

Shinde said he had called Abdullah Feb 8 and informed him about Afzal Guru’s hanging.

Abdullah had told TV channels Sunday that the government and the judiciary will have to answer for Afzal Guru’s execution.

He had also referred to cases of convicts in the assassination cases of Beant Singh and Rajiv Gandhi and said if targeting parliament was an attack on symbol of democracy, so was the attack on a chief minister and a former prime minister.

Answering queries, Shinde said he had cleared all mercy petitions sent to him by President Pranab Mukherjee.

“All that came to me have been cleared,” he said.

To a question about some people wanting to pray in Tihar Jail where Afzal Guru was buried, Shinde said it could be considered.

Asked if Afzal Guru was a surrendered militant, Shinde said he did not go into such details while looking at his file.

“I was concerned with evidence and what happened in the Supreme Court and the high court. That was my job,” he said.

Asked about possible retaliation from terror outfits against Afzal Guru’s killing, he said the government had to assess every possibility. Agencies

 

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