Afzal Guru execution not political, done according to law: Sushilkumar Shinde

Sushilkumar Shinde

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Monday that all constitutional procedures were followed in the execution of Parliament-attack convict Afzal Guru.

''It was not a political decision, but done in accordance to law,'' he said.

Usually the President signs on the mercy petition and the Home Ministry sends it for execution, he said. "Even in other cases, the files were sent to the states concerned. There they (convicts) went for appeal," he said.

Giving the sequence of events leading to the execution on Saturday, the Home Minister said he had informed Omar on Friday night. "That was the first time I

told him that we are doing it tomorrow morning."

Asked why it was done under such secrecy, Shinde said any matter of intelligence and the country's security could not be debated in the open. ''If this is transparent, the country will not run.''

Asked if it will now be difficult for India to secure freedom for Indian 'spy' Sarabjit Singh from Pakistan, he said the matter was before the Foreign Minister of that country.

Shinde also said he did not see the contents of the letter written to Afzal Guru's family, intimating them of the execution. That letter reached today, two days after the execution.

''Jail authorities sent that letter. I do not know whether it intimated the hanging or told his wife Tabassum that her mercy plea had been rejected, Shinde said. He said if Guru's family wanted to visit his grave in Tihar jail, it could be considered.

He said the cases of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh's killer were different from that of Afzal Guru. "In the cases of Rajiv Gandhi and the Chief Minister, the cases are still pending in Supreme Court. After rejection (of the mercy petitions) cases were filed in the Madras High Court and Supreme Court. These cases are still under consideration before the judiciary. Hence it (Afzal) is different from these cases," he told a press conference.

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