May consider Guru family's request to visit grave: Govt

Afzal family

Two days after Afzal Guru was hanged, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the government might consider the family's request to visit his grave in Tihar jail.

The family of the executed Parliament attack convict has written to authorities in Tihar, asking that they be allowed to exercise their right to visit the jail. In a letter addressed to D-G (Prisons) Vimla Mehra, lawyers for the family have said, "We do not wish to make this a political issue in an atmosphere which is already volatile. But family members, as citizens of India, have rights, which must be respected."

On Monday evening, Shinde told a press conference in Delhi, "If they (Guru's family) want to go (to the grave), it can be considered."

The family had earlier demanded the return of Guru's body to them. In a letter written to the deputy commissioner, Baramulla, on the evening that Guru was hanged, the convict's wife, son and brother had said, "Please convey our appeal and heartfelt request to the Tihar jail authorities to return the body... to carry out his last rites. ...Every human being has his birthright to go through his religion and faith for his disposal...".

A copy of the letter was sent to Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

Shinde said on Monday that the family had been informed of the decision to execute Guru "as per the rules".

"The family of Afzal was informed as per the rules. The first information was sent on February 7 night and second after that. I also informed Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for the first time on the night of February 8," Shinde said. A top home ministry official said a call had been made by the ministry to J&K DGP Ashok Prasad on Friday evening, asking him to inform Guru's family.

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