Prez to decide on Afzal Guru`s fate: Govt
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Last Updated: Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 20:10
  
New Delhi: Under fire from opposition over the delay in carrying out the death sentence of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, government on Tuesday put the onus on President Pratibha Patil saying a decision on the issue has to be taken by her.

Using the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Parliament attack, BJP asked why government was not punishing those held guilty for the December 13, 2001 audacious strike.

"Despite the Supreme Court confirming the sentence, the man (Guru) is still out there in jail... The nation wants to know, why are we hesitating in punishing those guilty for the Parliament attack," Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said.

"We come here every year to remember all those killed in the attack. There are two sides to the issue, one is to pay homage to those killed and the other is to carry out the sentence granted by the Supreme Court on the man responsible for being behind the attack conspiracy," she said at a function in Parliament House to pay homage to nine people who lost their lives in the attack.

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad asked "Why the delay in Afzal Guru's (case). How long? Why? I think, the sooner that verdict is executed, it will be the biggest homage to those great warriors...," he said.

Asked about the delay, Union Home Secretary R K Singh said the clemency petition of Guru is pending before the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which has to take a call.

"The matter is with the President and it is for the President to decide," he said.

Admitting that the justice delivery system in the country was slow, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said efforts were on to ensure matters are decided in courts within three to five years.

"We want quick justice in all matters. This (Parliament attack) is of course a symbolic and significant event that we cannot easily forget but nevertheless even for such an event there is not much one can do except to hope that our entire system learns to respond in a much faster manner," he said.

The daughter of Kamlesh Kumari, a woman constable with the CRPF who was gunned down during the attack by LeT and JeM terrorists, echoed similar sentiments and demanded that Guru be hanged as soon as possible.

All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) chief M S Bitta, who has escaped terrorist strikes in the past, said there should be no delay in the execution of Guru.

"Don't humiliate us...take back the petrol pumps that were given to us, but hang Guru." he said at an event where children of some of the victims were present.

The Home Ministry had sent Guru's case to the President's Secretariat for a decision on July 27, 2011 with the recommendation that his mercy plea be rejected.

Guru was convicted of conspiracy in the attack and the order to sentence him to death was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2004. The sentence was scheduled to be carried out on October 20, 2006.

However, Guru's execution was stayed following a mercy petition filed by his wife. He remains on death row since then.

Earlier, the Delhi government too in its recommendation to the Home Ministry had favoured execution of Guru.

The Constitution does not give any time limit for the President to decide any clemency petition.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 20:10


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