Afzal Guru hanged, buried in Tihar

FP

Within three months of the execution of Mumbai attack terrorist Ajmal Kasab, Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru was hanged and buried this morning at the Tihar jail in New Delhi. The execution took place six years after the Supreme Court reconfirmed the death sentence for his involvement in the December 2001 attack on Parliament House.

Afzal was held responsible for planning and plotting the audacious attack in which five Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists entered the main complex of Parliament, which was in session, and fired indiscriminately, leaving nine people dead. All the five terrorists were killed after security forces retaliated in a gun battle that lasted several minutes.

From Sopore in Kashmir, Afzal was sentenced to death by a Delhi court in 2002, a decision that was later upheld by the Supreme Court in 2005 and again, while hearing a review petition, in 2007. His family had moved a mercy plea with the President in October 2006, which Pranab Mukherjee finally rejected last Sunday. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde endorsed the decision the next day after which the remaining formalities were completed swiftly.

Incidentally, the date of hanging was fixed for February 8. Since it was a Friday, a day when Muslims assemble for prayers, authorities feared a law and order problem, especially in Kashmir. The hanging was put off for a day and carried out at 8 am today.

To preempt any disturbance, almost the entire Kashmir Valley was placed under curfew early this morning.

"The President rejected the mercy petition of Afzal Guru on February 3 and after that I gave my approval on February 4 and the date and timing was confirmed by a judicial official. He was hanged at 8 o'clock this morning," Shinde said soon after the execution. He said he had spoken to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday evening and asked him to make necessary arrangements to maintain peace in the state.

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