BJP targets Omar for remarks against Afzal Guru's hanging, seeks Centre's response
New Delhi, Feb. 11 : Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday lashed out at Omar Abdullah for questioning the secrecy surrounding the execution of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, saying the interview given by the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister is highly objectionable, and not in the national interest.
"I do not know what prompted him to make such a comment. The entire process of trial was conducted in a very fair manner. The sessions' court, the high court and the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court, at every stage there was a proper trial and then a fair opportunity was provided and at the end of it the conviction was given. The incident happened in 2001 13th December and the final judgement was given in 2002 December 18th and then a review petition was filed in 2005 which was rejected. Again another review petition (was filed) in 2007 that was also rejected. As the top court has said that every opportunity was provided and every procedure has been followed. And I don't know what else the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir is expecting," he said.
Naidu further said Abdullah's statements that it will affect the new generation are very objectionable.
"People should keep the national interest in mind, security of the country and unity of the country should be paramount for everybody. And people who lost their lives during the heinous stack on Parliament, what about their age? What about their families? And then what would have happened if at all those people would have entered inside the Parliament," asked Naidu.
"I don't know why this sympathy for Afzal Guru. I am not able to understand it. I totally disagree with the interview given by the Chief Minister. It is for the Centre, which is an ally of the Jammu Kashmir's ruling party National Conference, to explain better in this situation," he added, while seeking a response from the UPA Government at the Centre.
Another BJP leader Prakash Javadekar also echoed similar sentiments on Abdullah's statement.
"There is a national sense of relief after Afzal Guru's hanging. The remark from Omar Abdullah to national TV channels is condemnable. We want to ask Congress on how do they react to their ally talking like this," he said.
Congress Party, however, today played safe on the issue, and claimed that every individual and every leader is free to express his or her views in the Indian democratic milieu.
"We listen to them extremely carefully. We take those views on board. However, it is important to remember that capital punishment is given in the rarest of rare cases, and each case rests on its own unique facts and circumstances. There can never be a one size fits all. There can never be a generic broad brush when you deal with matters, which are so sensitive and have both legal, judicial and constitutional implications and obligations," said Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari.
"So, therefore, we would like to submit that in the case of capital punishment, there is a need to be responsible and there is a need to understand and realise that there is a very deliberate scrutiny process, which is involved and which takes into consideration the facts and circumstances of each case on its own merits," he added.
In an exclusive interview to a leading English news channel, Abdullah has said that he can't reconcile to the fact that Guru's family was denied one last meeting with him.
"The long-term implications of Afzal Guru's execution are worrying as they are linked to the people of Kashmir, especially the younger generation. Like it or not, the execution has reinforced the point that there is no justice. We will have to deal with how we can change that sort of alienation," he said.
Abdullah, who has repeatedly stressed in the past that Guru's execution could have severe repercussions in Jammu and Kashmir, had earlier on Saturday urged the people not to politicise the issue and to maintain peace and calm in the state.
Guru was hanged at Delhi's Tihar Jail at 8 a.m. on Saturday. He was buried inside the prison complex soon after his execution.
President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Guru's mercy plea on February 3 and a final decision to hang him was taken. Guru was convicted of conspiracy in the December 2001 attack on Parliament and was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in 2004.
On 13th December 2001, five heavily-armed gunmen stormed the Parliament complex and opened indiscriminate fire, killing nine persons. Guru was arrested within hours after the attack from a bus in the national capital.