Prez to decide on Afzal Guru`s fate: Govt

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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