The hanging of Afzal Guru was the culmination of the investigation, prosecution, judicial scrutiny and clemency process, and the UPA government did not have electoral or political considerations in mind while taking decisions on national security, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari said on Saturday.
Talking to reporters at Sathyamurthy Bhavan, the State Congress headquarters here, he said the dastardly attack on Parliament in December 2001 led to an investigation and prosecution that went through three layers of judicial scrutiny — in the trial court, the High Court and the Supreme Court.
“Certain people, who were accused in that particular outrage, were found to be innocent. They were acquitted and those found to be guilty were convicted. And there was a clemency process under the Constitution, which eventually culminated in the government taking a decision that was judicious and furthered the interest of justice.”
Asked about Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s contention that his party’s plea for clemency was ignored and Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remark that it was a sad decision, Mr. Tewari said these were extremely sensitive decisions arrived at by the government with circumspection and taking into account many issues.
“If we were to look into the entire investigation and judicial process in the case, we have played our role very fairly. The Indian judiciary has always acquitted itself on the benchmark of probity,” he said. He appealed for restraint and circumspection while commenting on decisions that had both judicial and national security implications.
Mr. Tewari said the UPA government did not take decisions based on religion, while dealing with terror. “Terror has no religion, no colour and no other identity.”