New Delhi: With questions being raised over
the delay in clearing the mercy petition file of death row
convict Afzal Guru, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday
said it took longer time to take a decision on the issue
because of its sensitive nature.
Dikshit also attributed the delay in clearing the
Parliament attack convict`s file to the opinions given on it
by two Chief Secretaries of her government in which they had
raised the issue of law and order implications if the
execution is carried out here.
Sources said one of them, who had already retired from
the post, had opposed carrying out the execution in the city.
"I had said during the (Lok Sabha) election campaign last
year that we have not cleared the file because it is a
sensitive issue," Dikshit said replying to a question on the
delay of almost four years in clearing the file.
The Delhi government last week sent its views on Guru`s
mercy petition to Lieutenant Governor Tejendar Khanna with
comments that it had no objection to the hanging but its
implications on law and order needed to be kept in mind.
Making it clear that Delhi Government never opposed the
Supreme Court verdict on Guru, Dikshit said the President of
India will have the last word on the issue.
"I just wanted to clarify that we never had the intention
to oppose the Supreme Court verdict (against Guru). We will
never do that. Afzal is in jail and he will continue to be in
jail...At the end, President of India will sign on it (mercy
petition)," she said.
Dikshit said in their notings, both the current and
earlier Chief Secretary had "said that it is a sensitive issue
and there could be law and order problem in the city (if Guru
is hanged here)." She said that later, Jammu and Kashmir Chief
Minister Omar Abdullah also said that there could be law and
order problem there if Guru was hanged.
"At the end, there will be two options available -- life
imprisonment or hanging," she added. The BJP has been
attacking Dikshit for not clearing the file and accusing her
of playing "vote bank politics" over the issue.
Meanwhile, Lt Governor Khanna today said he was studying
the file and it will be sent to Home Ministry soon.
Delhi government had kept the file with it for nearly
four years and the capital punishment awarded to Pakistani
terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab in the Mumbai attacks case brought
the issue under fresh focus.
Guru was awarded death sentence by a Delhi court on
December 18, 2002 after being convicted of conspiracy to
attack Parliament on December 13, 2001.
The death sentence was upheld by Delhi High Court on
October 29, 2003 and his appeal was rejected by the Supreme
Court two years later on August four, 2005.