The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly will on September 28 debate and vote on a controversial resolution demanding clemency for Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
The resolution has been moved by Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid seeking clemency for Guru who has been sentenced to death for his involvement in the attack on Parliament in December 2001.
Rashid submitted the resolution after Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a resolution seeking clemency for three persons on death row for their role in assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The Assembly Secretariat had received 39 resolutions from the MLAs but the rules provide for discussion and voting on only seven resolutions per session.
A draw of lots was conducted on Saturday and the resolution moved by Rashid was the second among those selected.
Both separatist and mainstream politicians in the Valley, except the ruling coalition, have one way or the other supported the demand for clemency to Guru while the political parties in Jammu region have opposed the idea.
The PDP, led by former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti, have said Guru should be spared the death penalty as hanging him can have negative effects on the situation in Kashmir.
BJP, on the other hand, has questioned the motive behind the resolution asking how the legislature can interfere in a case decided by the Supreme Court.
BJP state president Shamsher Singh said they will launch state-wide protests against the resolution.
“How can Assembly come forward to save a person who has been sentenced to death by the Supreme Court? The time has come to expose the dubious character of Congress in the country,” Singh said.
The BJP will find support from the three MLAs of National Panthers Party and some independent MLAs from Jammu as the party headed by Bhim Singh has said it cannot go against the law of the land.
National Conference, the senior partner in the 34-month-old coalition government headed by Omar Abdullah, has refrained from commenting on the issue so far but said a decision on whether to support or oppose the resolution will be taken at the party legislators’ meet expected to be held later this week.
“The decision on the resolution will be taken at the party legislators meet,” Mr. Omar had said recently.
The ruling party will have to walk a tight rope while deciding its strategy on the resolution as the main Opposition PDP has already announced its support.
The statements of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik will also increase the pressure on NC as the separatists have warned that hanging Guru could lead to disastrous consequences.
Congress, the junior partner in the government, will be wary of the outcome of the resolution, whatever it may be, as it is the only party today which has considerable support base across the state.
Pradesh Congress Committee President Saifuddin Soz said the party MLAs will decide whether to support or oppose the resolution. “We still have time... the legislature party will meet and take a decision,” he said.