Afzal Guru execution not political, done according to law: Sushilkumar Shinde
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''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.
He was responding to questions on why the government showed tearing hurry in executing Afzal Guru while the killers of Gandhi and Singh were given options.
Omar also had said yesterday that it will have to be proved to Kashmiris and to the world that the execution of Afzal Guru was not a 'selective' one. Omar had asked if attack on Parliament was an attack on a symbol of democracy, wasn't the attack on a Chief Minister and former Prime Minister an attack on democracy?
To another question, Shinde said the decision to execute Afzal was not political but done according to rules.
Asked about the possibility of retaliation as threatened by some militant groups, the Home Minister said the government has to be vigilant against it.
To a question about the reported illegal detention of newspaper journalist Iftikhar Geelani, the Home Minister said that he had arrived today only from Meghalaya and "I will inquire into it now."
Geelani was detained at his father-in-law and separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani's house here on the day of hanging. He was, however, later allowed to go.
Asked about the non-execution of a death row convict whose mercy plea has been rejected by the President, he said: "That matter is also in court."
Queries as to whether any action will be taken against JKLF leader Yaseen Malik for sharing dais with Lashker-e-Taiba Chief Hafeez Saeed while sitting on a hunger strike in Pakistan, he said: "I will look into the case."