Authorities biased against us, says Afzal’s brother

Afzal Guru’s family is planning to file a fresh application to claim his mortal remains and belongings from Tihar Central Jail here, the place he was hanged and buried.

Afzal, who was convicted for his involvement in the 2001 Parliament attack case, was hanged to death in Tihar Jail on February 9 last year. His family members’ request to the authorities to let them conduct the last rites and take his mortal remains was turned down. Guru’s belongings, including his spectacles, radio, some books and a diary, are also with the jail authorities.

“My family has been demanding the mortal remains of my brother for the past one year but the jail authorities have been in constant denial mode. Forget the mortal remains, they are not giving us even his belongings. I know it’s a government motivated decision. They have always been biased against us,” said Afzal’s brother Yasin Guru.

“Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins have got life [sentences] two years after their mercy petitions were turned down, and we are not allowed to get even the mortal remains and belongings of a family member who has already been hanged. This shows how people from Kashmir are being alienated in their own land,” Yasin added.

“As per the jail manual, the authorities are required to hand over the belongings of a prisoner to the family members immediately after his death. If the family cannot come to collect them physically, they should send it through courier. We filed an application for the same four months ago as well, but there was no development on the application,” N.D. Pancholi, Afzal Guru’s former lawyer, told The Hindu.

Afzal Guru’s family members feel the authorities are hesitant in giving his belongings to them as he was penning down a memoir in the jail. They are afraid that if it gets leaked, there can be controversies.

The jail authorities are, however, claiming that they have no problems in returning Afzal’s belongings provided the family comes to Delhi and collects them. A senior Tihar Jail official said: “The decision to hand over Afzal Guru’s mortal remains to his family is the decision of the government. We cannot do anything about it.”