February 10th, 2013

Afzal Guru hanged

NEW DELHI: The law took its own course when Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was sent to the gallows in a secret operation in Tihar Jail at 8:00 AM on Saturday; more than 11 years after five heavily-armed gunmen stormed the temple of democracy and opened indiscriminate fire, killing nine people.
In a decision likely to reinforce UPA’s ‘no tolerance’ against terror, hanging took place in a top secret operation, close on the heels of hanging of 26/11 terror attack convict Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab in a jail in Pune.
Afzal, who was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in 2004 in a case related to the attack on Parliament, was sent to the gallows in a secret operation in Tihar Jail this morning.
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Home Secretary R.K Singh confirmed that the Parliament attack convict was hanged at 8:00 AM in Tihar Jail.
The hanging of Afzal came almost a week after President  Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy petition.
Rashtrapati Bhavan spoke-sperson Venu Rajamony said the mercy plea of the Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist was rejected by the President on 3rd February.
Tight security was clamped across Delhi  after the hanging and a high alert was issued in all police stations in  the capital, police sources said. Curfew has been clamped around Tihar Jail while police patrolling has been increased  in crowded market areas of the city, railway stations and bus  terminals.
Security was tightened all over Maharashtra in view of hanging of Parliament attack convict. Additional forces were deployed, particularly in Mumbai and Pune.  Hotels, guest houses, bus stops and railway stations were under constant watch and the law and order situation was being periodically reviewed at a high-level meeting at Mantralaya, sources said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday questioned the ‘delay’ in execution of the 2001 Parliament attack convict.
BJP said hanging of Guru should have happened much earlier after the confirmation of the capital punishment by the Supreme Court in 2005.
”The capital punishment awarded to Afzal Guru is a part of legal and judicial process which ought to have taken place much earlier. The attack on Parliament happened in 2001, that is 12 years ago, which was an attack on India,” BJP Chief Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.
Prasad questioned the delay in execution.
”Why this sort of delay inspite of overpowering desire  of the people of the country that those who are accused of such a heinous offence ought to be given the capital punishment, as affirmed by the Highest Court of the land. This question would remain important and an answer would have to be found out,” he said.
The BJP Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha said if one of the terrorists with an AK-47 would have entered Parliament, ”the lives of nearly all the top leaders of major political parties of the country would have been imperiled or many would have been killed.”
”This was the severity of the terrorist act,”  Prasad added.
He said the nation should rededicate itself and take an resolve of zero tolerance against terrorism.
The Congress asserted that the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was sent to the gallows  as per the law of the land.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi commented ”better late than never”. ”Der aaye, durust aaye (It’s better to be late than never),” Modi tweeted.
All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary  Digvijay Singh told reporters that the decision to hang  Guru was taken as per the law of the land.
”The law has taken its course,” he maintained.
Reiterating that the Congress was never soft on the fight against terror,  Singh further asserted that the party had never compromised on security.
Moreover, Afzal Guru was convicted by the Supreme Court  and deserved no mercy, he added.

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