They thank President for rejecting Afzal Guru’s mercy plea

The family members of those who lost their lives in the December 2001 Parliament attack, on Saturday took back the gallantry medals, which they had returned to the President in 2006 to protest against the delay in the execution of Afzal Guru, who was convicted in the case.

They received the medals from President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The families had announced that they would take back the medals after Afzal was hanged in February in Tihar Jail.

“We thanked the President for passing the orders for hanging Guru and thereby honouring the memories of the martyrs who died on December 13 when Parliament was attacked,” said Vipin, whose father head constable Vijender Singh was among the 10 who lost their lives.

Shweta Singh was also present to receive the medal that was presented to her mother CRPF constable Kamlesh Kumari posthumously. She expressed “gratitude” to the President for “rejecting the mercy plea of Guru” and honouring her “mother's martyrdom.”

The families had returned the gallantry medals, they received in honour of the slain personnel, to Rashtrapati Bhavan on December 13, 2006 when A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was President.

All India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) chairman M.S. Bitta, who accompanied the families to Rashtrapati Bhavan, said he was grateful to the President for giving back the medals.

Mr. Bitta also urged the President to clear all the pending death sentence cases, especially of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh’s assassins.

“Rajiv Gandhi is a martyr and one should risk the government, if required, to hang his assassins,” Mr. Bitta said.

In a memorandum submitted to the President, the AIATF has requested for the reinstating of cash awards, which were earlier announced for the security personnel, who fought the terrorists at the time of the attack on Parliament. The families of CRPF constable Kamlesh, CPWD Watch and Ward personnel M.S. Negi and Parliament security personnel J.P. Yadav returned the Ashok Chakra, while the kin of five police personnel returned the Kirti Chakra.

Those who had received the Kirti Chakra were Delhi Police sub-inspectors Ghanshyam and Nanak Chand, assistant sub-inspector Ram Pal and head constables Om Prakash and Vijender Singh.

Guru, convicted in the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001 was hanged in Tihar Jail on February 9 this year. A special court sentenced Guru to death in December 2002 for his role in aiding and abetting the attack. This was upheld by the Supreme Court on August 4, 2005.

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