At 8 am on Saturday, Afzal Guru, the main accused in the Parliament attack case of December 13, 2001, was hanged in Delhi's Tihar jail. The hanging comes less than three months after that of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistan-based terrorist who was part of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, earlier on November 21 , 2012.
However, Guru's body will not to be handed to his relatives and he will be buried in Tihar Jail itself, in accordance with the rituals, said Union home secretary RK Singh in the national capital.
It was less than a week ago, on February 3, that President Pranab Mukherjee cleared Guru's file, thus setting the ball rolling for Guru's execution. Pronounced guilty and convicted to death by the Supreme Court in 2003, Guru's hanging had been kept pending for several years. In fact, the recent times have seen the principle Opposition party, the BJP, racheting up the political pressure on the UPA government to hang Guru.
The decision to hang Guru came soon after the President cleared the file. The Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by the Prime Minister took the decision last week to go ahead with the hanging. By Friday, the centre had alerted the Jammu and Kashmir government as part of precautionary measures. The state government immediately imposed curfew in large parts of the state to ensure there were no law and order issues.
Guru's arrest came soon after the attack and he was charged under the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) that was passed by the AB Vajpayee-led NDA government and was later done away with by the Congree-led UPA. He was also charged with waging war against the state among other charges related to terrorism.
Union home secretary RK Singh told the media in a brief statement that by hanging Guru they had followed the rule of law. "The President cleared the file on February 3 and the decision was taken to go ahead soon after."
Political watchers say that this could be a move ny the UPA government to shore up its falling image as a preparation for a possible general elections in 2013. Guru's hanging was also controversial because the evidence that was used was questioned by several quarters. Some even alleged that in the absence of the real conspirators, the investigating agencies had been forced to make a scapegoat out of Guru. However the courts rejected these allegations and pronounced him guilty.
Meanwhile, curfew was imposed in the Kashmir valley, to prevent trouble in Guru's native Baramulla.
Belonging to the Baramulla district in Jammu and Kashmir, Guru, who had completed the first year MBBS was preparing for IAS exams when he was arrested for being providing logistic support to the 'fidayeens' in New Delhi for carrying out terror attacks on government symbols like Parliament and embassies. However, unhappy with the situation there, he moved back to Kashmir and surrendered before the Border Security Force.
The Supreme Court in 2003 awarded te death sentence to Guru, which was to to be carried out on October 20, 2006. However, the execution was stayed even as Afzal remained on death row.