Farooq Abdullah welcomes CJI's remarks



Jammu: NC chief and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah on Sunday expressed happiness over Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir's remark that the families of death row convicts should be informed in advance about their execution.

"Today I am happy that not only us, but the Supreme Court also sees it and understands that what has happened was wrong," Abdullah told reporters on the sidelines of a book release function held here.

The CJI's remarks came against the backdrop of the family of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru not being informed about his hanging in due time.

Abdullah said his party has time and again highlighted that Guru's family was not given a chance to meet him.

"We have told this time and again that he was not given a chance, his family was not given a chance to meet him".

The minister, however, said discussing the issue over and over again would "only lead to pain".

"Whatever has happened has happened, if we will time and again beat around it, we won't be able to heal the hearts of people. It will only lead to more pain.

"The time has come that we should make attempts to correct the mistake and ensure that no such mistake is committed in the future," Abdullah said.

The communication regarding the rejection of Guru's mercy plea and his subsequent execution had reached his relatives two days after he was hanged on February 9.

When asked why his party did not withdraw from the Congress-led UPA after Guru's execution, he said, "Why should I withdraw, do you think that Farooq Abdullah's job is to only withdraw (from the government)."

On having any prior intimation about Guru's execution, he said, "Central government has got its own powers and they used their powers without saying anything to the state government. I am also a member of the government, I was not informed. I came to know like everybody else".

Meanwhile, when asked about the revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the state, Farooq said the army was the only hurdle in the way of repealing the Act from Jammu and Kashmir.

"There is a lot of agreement in the Centre, our block is only at one place, that is the army. That is the only block," Abdullah said.

"I have maintained that wherever there is no need of AFSPA, it should be removed from those places," he said.

The senior NC leader also raised questions about the imposition of the Act in places like Jammu and Kathua.

"Is there need for AFSPA in Jammu, is there need of AFSPA in Samba, is there need of AFSPA in Kathua? Similarly, there are certain places in the Valley where AFSPA is not required," he said.

"If something bad happens tomorrow, AFSPA can be reimposed," he said. The NC chief said the interlocutors in their report have suggested that AFSPA should be repealed.

However, he said the report presented by them to the Centre should be discussed in Parliament.

"Interlocutors came here, they produced a report. We have been trying that the report should be discussed in Parliament. Let Parliament have the vision to see what is put up by those people," he said.

Abdullah said it was only by way of discussion that a solution to the Kashmir issue was possible.

PTI