New Delhi: Amid a row over delay in informing the family of Afzal Guru about his execution, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday said that the family was informed in prior as per the rules.
Addressing a press conference, Shinde said: “The decision to hang Afzal was not politically motivated but was done as per the law.”
The Home Minister was speaking about the delay of the letter which was delivered to the family two days after Guru's hanging.
Afzal Guru was hanged in the Tihar jail on Saturday morning, whereas his family on Monday received an official letter informing about his execution.
However, Shinde added that if Afzal Guru's family wants to visit his grave in Tihar jail, that can be considered.
According to reports, the letter dispatched by the Superintendent of Tihar Jail was delivered to Guru’s family this morning.
"We got the letter early morning today. Though we refused to accept it initially some of our relatives prevailed on us to see the contents," said Aijaz Guru, Afzal's elder brother. "What is the need of getting the letter delivered when the execution has happened three days back," he added.
Senior postal officials in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital, said the speed post was received Saturday evening - Afzal Guru was executed at 8 am on Saturday - but delivered on Monday as Sunday was a public holiday.
"We received the speed post by air Saturday evening. It was addressed to Tabassum Guru (his wife). Sunday being a public holiday, the speed post has been delivered today," John Samuel, the chief post master general (Jammu and Kashmir), told journalists.
While answering a query, Shinde confirmed that he personally informed Omar Abdullah on night of February 08 about the execution of Afzal Guru.
The Home Minister said, “I personally informed Omar about the execution. Also, the family of Afzal Guru was informed on the night of February 07.”
Asserting the need to maintain secrecy, Shinde said, “This, as Ajmal Kasab's case, was extremely sensitive, government had to be very careful. Secrecy has to be maintained in such cases.”
However, while dismissing Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's suggestion that the execution of Afzal Guru was ‘selective’ the Home Minister said, “The case of killers of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh are different from Afzal Guru's.”
He also said that the Telangana issue is not a closed chapter.
Mohammed Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri fruit seller who helped Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists carry out the dastardly attack on Parliament in 2001, was on Saturday hanged and buried in Tihar jail in a secret early morning operation.
The 43-year-old resident of Sopore in North Kashmir was said to have been calm and composed when he was taken to the gallows. He was hanged at 8 am in the high-security prison number 3 of Tihar jail, six days after his mercy plea was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee
He had been on the death row for over 10 years after being convicted for his role in aiding and abetting the attack. A special court had sentenced Guru to death in December 2002 and the decision was upheld by the Supreme Court on August 04, 2005.
First Published: Monday, February 11, 2013, 16:49