Citing Delhi prison manual, Centre to reject Afzal family's plea for his body

FP

While Afzal Guru's wife, Tabassum, has sought to claim his body, the Centre is set to decline her request, citing provisions of the Delhi Jail Manual which, among other things, stresses that "a human body... cannot be the property of anyone".

Afzal, convicted in the Parliament attack case, was executed and buried inside Tihar jail last Saturday.

According to the jail manual, a prisoner's body — whether the death has occurred due to natural causes or through execution — can be handed over to the family or friends only if a claim is made before it has been disposed of.

"Friends or relatives of a deceased prisoner making application for the body after burial, should be referred to the Commissioner of Police (and examined on) whether the prisoner has died of any infectious disease, how long he has been dead and whether... the body can be exhumed and removed with safety," states the manual.

Even before disposal, the jail authorities can turn down a request for claiming a body "if there are grounds for supposing that the prisoner's funeral will be made the occasion for a demonstration".

The manual clarifies that "a human body, whether alive or dead, cannot be the property of anyone".

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