New Delhi, Feb 9 (IANS) Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was hanged in the national capital’s Tihar Jail at 8 a.m. Saturday, less than a week after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy plea, officials said. Political parties welcomed the move.
“Afzal Guru was hanged at 8 a.m.,” Home Secretary R.K. Singh told reporters.
“We received the president’s rejection of his mercy plea on Feb 3. We moved accordingly then,” he said.
Afzal Guru was given the death sentence by the Supreme Court in 2004. His hanging was scheduled for October 2006, but was suspended after his wife filed a mercy petition.
Nine people were killed in the Dec 13, 2001, attack on Parliament House when five heavily-armed Pakistani terrorists drove into the complex and opened fire. There were about 100 MPs, including then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his cabinet members, in the building at the time of the attack.
The terrorists were shot dead. Guru was convicted of plotting the terror attack.
Asked if he had been kept in the loop, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said: “Absolutely.”
He told TV news channel CNN-IBN that Afzal Guru’s body was buried within the jail campus, according to the jail manual rules, and would not be handed over to his relatives in Kashmir.
The burial was done according to religious rites, he added.
“As per the jail manual, the burial of a convict is held inside the prison campus,” he said.
He also said he did not apprehend any law and order problems. A curfew has been clamped in parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which had been repeatedly demanding Afzal Guru’s execution, welcomed his hanging but said it was a “delayed decision”.
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: “Hanging of Afzal Guru is the right thing. We welcome the decision. The people of the country were waiting for it. But it was a delayed decision.”
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh justified the hanging.
“The central government has taken a decision according to law. Whoever is involved in terrorism deserves the same treatment. I urge the central government to conduct trials of terrorism cases in fast track courts,” he said.
The CPI-M also welcomed the move. “Justice has been done,” CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said.