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Afzal execution: The way it was done was unfortunate, says Fali Nariman

Feb 17, 2013 13:13 IST

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New Delhi: "Our worst enemies couldn't have done it better," was how eminent jurist Fali S Nariman reacted to the manner of execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru without properly communicating it to his family.

"These things have to be thought out from a humanitarian aspect. You may certainly hang somebody because the President has refused his mercy plea. At the same time, humanitarian concepts are not alien to India," Nariman told Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate programme in CNN-IBN.

Protests following Afzal Guru's hanging. Agencies.

Protests following Afzal Guru's hanging. Agencies.

"Our worst enemies couldn't have done it better. The way it was done. It was unfortunate. I am sure they did not think it out." He said though the decision to hang Afzal on February 9 was communicated to his family through speed post as per the jail manual, nothing stopped the authorities from informing them through a telephone call.

The noted jurist said communicating through telephone was given a go-bye as "some government minion must have thought that Afzal Guru will obtain a stay against the death warrant by moving the court."

"Strictly comply with it. Send a letter but that does not prevent you from phoning. Jail manual doesn't say you cannot inform them by phone," he said when told that the government says it was bound by the jail manual which stipulates that the intimation has to be sent by a letter.

Nariman was responding to a question whether he bought the government's argument on the issue of the jail manual, which was written before mobiles, email, faxes came into being.

He said informing the family through phone must be done and the "puerile" excuses of jail manual should not come in the exercise which, in Afzal's case was "absolute thoughtlessness, recklessness".

Asked about the handing over of the body to Afzal's family, he said if there was truly an apprehension that it could be utilised for demonstration, then the government would be justified in retaining the body as per jail manual.

"I don't know about the right thing. Perhaps the latter. Yeah retain it. I would think if there is an apprehension that this is going to be made into a big demonstration etc, later on and if the government is truly apprehensive then they would be perhaps justified in following the jail manual," he said.

PTI