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Afzal Guru hanged in secrecy, buried in Tihar Jail

Sandeep Joshi
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Family learnt of execution from TV; We informed them of the decision by Speed Post, says Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh

CLASH IN STREET:Bajrang Dal activists (right) clash with Kashmiri students, who were protesting against the hanging of Afzal Guru, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Saturday.— Photo: V. Sudershan
CLASH IN STREET:Bajrang Dal activists (right) clash with Kashmiri students, who were protesting against the hanging of Afzal Guru, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Saturday.— Photo: V. Sudershan

In a top secret operation Saturday morning, the 2001 Parliament attack case convict Mohammed Afzal Guru was hanged and buried inside the Tihar jail complex.

With this ended the decade-long uncertainty over the execution of the surrendered militant from Sopore, Kashmir, as his mercy petition got caught up in a political slugfest between the Congress-led UPA government and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

“He was hanged at 8 o’clock… All legal procedures were followed in the execution. The President [Pranab Mukherjee] rejected the mercy petition …on February 3 and after that I gave my approval on February 4… The date and timing [of the hanging] was confirmed by a judicial official,” Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told journalists here.

“The new President sent back all mercy petitions for reconsideration... I examined the file carefully and recommended to the President on January 21 for rejection of Afzal Guru’s petition,” the Home Minister added.

“His family was informed about the decision of the government to reject his mercy petition… This was done through Speed Post,” Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh told journalists here.

The letter clearly did not reach in time: Guru’s family in Sopore, including his wife, said they received no word about his imminent execution.

‘He was normal’

“He was calm and happy at the time of execution. He spent the night before in his cell calmly and everything about him was normal,” Director General (Prisons) Vimla Mehra told The Hindu .

Afzal Guru was woken up around 5 a.m. after which he offered namaz. He was served tea and medically examined before being taken to the gallows near his cell in Jail No.3.

“The normal procedure was followed in the hanging. He was healthy and his blood pressure was normal. A doctor, a magistrate, a hangman and a maulvi were present at the time of execution, besides some jail officials,” said Ms. Mehra.

Asked if he had any last wish, Ms. Mehra said there was no provision for it in the jail manual.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had rejected Guru’s petition in 2011 and forwarded it to Pratibha Patil, who was President at the time. Ms. Patil chose not to act, but when Mr. Mukherjee took over as President last year, he returned all pending mercy petitions, including that of…

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