Hand over Afzal Guru’s remains to his Family: PUCL

New Delhi: Mohd. Afzal Guru was hanged secretly last year on this day i.e. 9th Feb. in Tihar jail. The Supreme Court of India in recent judgment, titled as Shatrughan Chauhan Vs. Union of India {Writ Petition (Criminal) No.55 of 2013} has commuted the death sentences of about 16 convicts to life imprisonment whose mercy petitions were recently rejected. Had Afzal Guru not been executed hastily in hush hush manner, he would have also been benefitted by this judgment on the ground of ‘delay’ in deciding mercy petitions.
Afzal Guru
Afzal was informed of rejection of his mercy petition only a couple of hours before his execution on the morning of 9th February, 2013. A letter from jail in Delhi was sent by post on 7th February 2013 to his family in remote village in Kashmir in such a mischievous manner that it reached the village only after his hanging had taken place. The Supreme Court in its judgment has emphasized and reiterated the need for adopting a fair, just and reasonable procedure in tune with article 21 of the Constitution so that convict and his family is sufficiently informed in advance about the rejection of the mercy petition, provided legal aid to approach courts again in writ petition and that there should be a gap of minimum 14 days between rejection and execution so that the family is able to meet the convict.

All such requirements of a fair procedure were violated in the case of Afzal Guru with a view to prevent him from approaching the Supreme Court like others, and Mr. Shinde, the Home Minister, prided himself openly in taking recourse to such a cunning course while Mr. R.K.Singh, the Home Secretary master minded the secret operation. It is obvious that the Home Minister was guided by narrow political consideration of electoral gains; the Home Secretary was prompt to act in order to quench the blood thirst of his favorite political party, i.e. the BJP, which he soon joined after retirement.

Afzal Guru was number 21 in the queue of death row prisoners but the queue was broken to hang him secretly.
And to top the brutality, his dead body was refused to be handed over to his family, and because of this refusal, Ghalib, the 15 year old son of Afzal is under the false hope that his father is still alive hidden somewhere in Tihar Jail. Even the Pakistan government did not behave so inhumanly and promptly handed over the dead body of Sarabjit, the Indian prisoner, to his family. Tabassum, the wife of Afzal in particular and Kashmiris in general, are confirmed in the belief that Afzal was discriminated because he was a Muslim and a Kashmiri.

The secret execution of Afzal Guru is the most shameful act of the Indian Govt. and a blot on Indian democracy. I therefore, on behalf of PUCL urge upon the Indian Govt. to reconsider its decision and immediately hand over the remains of Afzal Guru to his family to enable it to perform the last rites.

Issued by Advocate N.D. Pancholi, President, PUCL Delhi