Omar Abdullah calls Afzal Guru 'sahib'



Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday described Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged to death Feb 9, in respectful terms in the state legislative Assembly suffixing his name with "sahib".

The suffix "sahib" is usually reserved for men held in respect.

Afzal Guru was convicted and sentenced to death by the Supreme Court for plotting the December 2001 attack on Parliament.

Omar Abdullah's anger was palpable Monday, as he spoke in broken Urdu, miffed by the opposition charge that he failed to save the life of Afzal Guru.

Speaking on the adjournment motion on Afzal Guru, Omar Abdullah said: "It is being made out here as if I was responsible for his death. It appears from their (opposition's) narrative that I put the noose around his neck and hanged him to death."

In his speech, peppered with praise for his government's handling of the situation in the Kashmir Valley in the wake of the execution of Afzal Guru, Omar Abdullah said Guru's hanging was "political".

"There are questions which need to be answered. And the answers will come in the future, as there are other convicts facing the death sentence. We will see what kind of treatment is meted out to them," the chief minister said.

Omar Abduallah pointed out that Afzal Guru's family was not allowed to meet him one last time, and his body was not handed over to the family either.

Justifying the massive restrictions imposed by the administration after news of Afzal Guru's hanging spread, the chief minister said: "Yes, my government imposed restrictions. People had to face difficulties, newspapers did not hit the stalls, but we safeguarded lives, which was of prime concern."

He said that in 2006, when the Supreme Court awarded Guru the death sentence, the then government of the state imposed curfew for 21 days.

Castigating the PDP for playing politics and shedding crocodile tears over the hanging of Afzal Guru, the chief minister said: "PDP only wants to utilize such incidents for their vested interests otherwise they do not have any concern either for the family of Afzal Guru or the people of the state. They want to play dirty politics over blood and shed crocodile tears to lead people astray; otherwise, their whole record is before the public."

IANS