Srinagar: In yet another controversy that could embarrass the BJP, its ally in Jammu and Kashmir - the PDP on Monday demanded the return of Afzal Guru's mortal remains, who was hanged for his role in December 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament.
The demands have been made in a PDP note which has the endorsement of nine PDP leaders, as per ANI.
The PDP note maintains that “late Afzal Guru's hanging was travesty of justice and constitutional requirements and process was not followed in hanging him out of turn," adding, "PDP stands by the demand for return of his (Guru's) mortal remains, and the party promises to follow vigorously for the return of the mortal remains."
Engineer Rashid, Awami Ithaad Party (AIP) chief and MLA read out a press note to the media allegedly written by PDP MLA and J&K Cabinet Minister Naeem Akhtar demanding return of Guru's remains.
The legislators who signed the statement are Mohammad Khalil Bandh, Zahoor Ahmed Mir, Raja Manzoor Ahmad, Mohd Abas Wani, Yawar Dilawar Mir, Advocate Mohd Yosuf, Aijaz Ahmad Mir and Noor Mohd Sheikh.
Confirming the news, PDP MLA Pulwama Mohd Khalil Bandh, whose name is mentioned in the note, reiterated his demand. "Within and outside Assembly we had demanded Afzal Guru's remains be returned," he said.
The note also said - "The way he was picked up from serial number 28 and singled out has been condemned by PDP and it stands by the demand for return of his mortal remains. We believe that the resolution brought by Independent MLA Rashid Ahmed to seek clemency for late Afzal Guru was justified and should have been adopted by the House at that time," as per PTI.
In 2011, the resolution seeking clemency for Guru could not be taken up in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly due to pandemonium in the House. The resolution became void as according to rules, any listed business that does not come up for discussion would lapse.
On the other hand, Jitendra Singh, MoS PMO declined to comment on the matter saying that he had yet to read the statement in detail.
But BJP MLA from Nowshera, Ravinder Rana said that "such statements should be avoided" as it would "create unrest in Valley."
Also, BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said, "Terror has no religion. We condemn this type of politics. Terrorism is an enemy of humanity and the whole country should unite to root this out. BJP believes in zero tolerance to terrorism."
Reacting to the reports, Congress' Manish Tewari said, "PDP-BJP are in an alliance. PM must answer if he feels the demand by the PDP MLAs are correct/incorrect."
On his part, former J&K chief minister and NC leader Omar Abdullah taking to Twitter wrote, “If PDP truly believed they wanted to work to bring back Guru's remains they would have fought to include it in the CMP, which they didn't.”
In another tweet he wrote, “So PDP brought out its big guns, cynically used AfzalGuru by giving Rashid a signed statement and still lost the election.”
Guru was a Kashmir-born and is said to have received terrorist training in Pakistan and was accused of providing hideout and logistics for the terrorists for the Parliament attack.
He was arrested in 2001, along with three others. On February 03, 2013, his mercy petition was rejected by the President and he was subsequently hanged at Delhi's Tihar Jail on 9 February 2013.
Later he was buried inside jail grounds. His family was not informed prior to execution and the government did not hand over his dead body to them.
PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who took oath as J&K CM yesterday, had courted controversy when he had credited smooth conduct of the state Assembly polls to the "people from across the border".
"I want to say this on record and I have told this to the Prime Minister that the we must credit the Hurriyat, militant outfits for the conduct of Assembly elections in the state," Sayeed had said during a press conference, as per PTI.
Realising the consequences of such remarks, BJP by yesterday evening contested the claim, saying the exercise had been successful due to the efforts of the Election Commission and Indian Army and of those who believe in the Indian Constitution.
Meanwhile, Sayeed today stood by what he had yesterday on violence-free polls in the state, as per PTI.
His daughter and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti also maintained that the J&K CM's remarks did not discredit the people of the state.
The BJP, which bagged 28 seats in the 87-member Assembly and the PDP, which won 28 seats in the state elections, came together after more than two months of negotiations to form government in the Valley.
Mufti's oath-taking ceremony was attended by a Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of other to BJP leaders yesterday.
(With Agency inputs)