The bereaved family of Mohammad Afzal Guru, the hanged Parliament attack convict, on Tuesday clarified that it had demanded custody of his mortal remains for performing his funeral rites and burial at the local community graveyard in Sopore.
“Let it be clear that we have demanded custody of Mr. Afzal Guru’s mortal remains, not mere permission to the family for a visit and remembrance meeting at Tihar Jail. We have every right by law to claim his body and conduct the funeral rites as per Islamic practice at our community graveyard,” Afzal Guru’s first cousin Mohammad Yasin Guru told The Hindu. “Unfortunately, the media and politicians have played it up as if were begging for a permission to visit Tihar.”
Mr. Yasin Guru — a teacher in the School Education Department of the State government and younger brother of Showkat Guru, another convict of the case — revealed that the family had submitted an application to Deputy Commissioner of Baramulla Ghulam Ahmad Khwaja immediately after the execution on Saturday last.
“We emailed a joint application of Mohammad Afzal Guru’s wife, Tabassum, his 13-year-old son, Ghalib, and brother Aijaz Ahmad Guru to the D.C., Baramulla. He was reluctant on phone to acknowledge it but entertained [receipt of] a hard copy when we sent someone to his office. He assured us that he would forward the application to the concerned quarters in the State and the Central governments,” Mr. Yasin Guru said.
According to him, it was “a little difficult” for the non-Muslim officials in the Central government to realise the sensitivity of the issue and distinguish between performing a fatiha at the tomb and performing the actual funeral rites of a Muslim’s body. He made it clear that simply a fatiha or janazah could be performed anywhere, irrespective of where the body lay buried. “It’s not a matter of begging or obligation. We appreciate their sense of cooperation but let it be very clear on our behalf that we need neither Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s aircraft nor Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s helicopter for going to Tihar. As and when we get a positive response and a clear assurance that [Afzal Guru’s] body would be returned to us, along with all of his belongings like the writing material and clothes, we would go there without any state facilitation,” Mr. Yasin Guru asserted.
“Apart from the politics as to why and how he was executed, we simply make a request to the Government of India to be kind enough and return his mortal remains. We only want to perform his namaaz-e-janazah and the burial and have his tomb in the vicinity of our village.” Asked if the family had received any letter as reportedly written by Afzal Guru before his execution and posted on his behalf by the jail authorities, Mr. Yasin Guru claimed that no such communication had reached them till late on Tuesday.