The secrecy shrouding the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru at Delhi's Tihar jail in the wee hours of Saturday has gradually started haunting the establishment with human rights organisations, activists and now top notch politician like Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioning the hush-hush business at the gallows.
Clearly unhappy with the procedure followed before and after the execution, Abdullah while interacting with CNN-IBN in Srinagar, said, "I wish we were the ones authorised to give the news to the family."
What is disturbing to the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister is that he had prior intimation when the Pakistani national Ajmal Kasab was to be executed but he had little information about Guru's fate.
"We could add on the 12 hours advance flash and say I had a premonition after the Kasab execution. The home ministry did discuss the matter broadly with me," Abdullah said.
"I find it very difficult to reconcile the fact that we executed a convict without his family members seeing him one last time. There is something wrong in the system if we are sending information through Speed Post in this era. We could have easily got the family to meet him in Delhi and kept it a secret," the chief minister said.
Abdullah, however, was not surprised with the execution of Guru.
"I had a premonition that Afzal Guru's excution would follow Kasab. I had a sense that Afzal Guru would be executed sooner rather than later," the chief minister said.
Talking aboout the impact of the execution in the Kashmir Valley, Abdullah said, "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 judiciary and the political leadership to show that this was not a selective execution."
Nevertheless, Abdullah is worried that a feeling of alienation might set in among average Kashmiris.
"I will talk to the government about the issue of bringing Afzal's remains here to the Valley. Afzal Guru's execution will breed alienation in the Valley," he said.
Abdullah, who is at the helm of affairs in the state from January 2009, can hardly afford a sense of alienation in the Valley that has already been battered by bullets and bombs.
"A lot of what happens in the Valley simmers under the surface. There are a few things I need to discuss with the Centre over the larger implications. I never underestimate how bad things can go here," he said. "Our guard will continue to be up."
The chief minister also gave a sharp reaction to the role played by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
"Why don't we see the BJP clamouring for execution of Beant Singhs killers or the Rajiv Gandhi's killers? If that was to be the last execution on who people who attacked Indian democracy, I would call it a political decision."
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