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Hang Afzal, say kin of Parliament attack victims

Bindu Shajan Perappadan
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SEEKING CLOSURE: Relatives of the victims of the 2001 Parliament attack pay homage at the Police Memorial at Chanakyapuri in New Delhi on Thursday. — Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma
SEEKING CLOSURE: Relatives of the victims of the 2001 Parliament attack pay homage at the Police Memorial at Chanakyapuri in New Delhi on Thursday. — Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

“Time seems to have stood still for us. Over a decade after the Parliament attack our families are still coming to terms with the void that it has left behind in our lives,’’ says Gangadevi, wife of Delhi Police Assistant Sub-Inspector Nanak Chand who lost his life.

Sitting along with other families who lost their near and dear ones in the attack, she says: “Today [Thursday] is the 11{+t}{+h}anniversary of the attack, but we are yet to reconcile with what has happened. My husband was posthumously conferred a bravery award in recognition of his sacrifice, but we have returned the medal demanding death by hanging for Afzal Guru. Probably his death will help me regain my lost faith in justice and democracy. Right now the Indian government seems to be protecting Afzal. When we know that he is guilty and that he is responsible for such a heinous crime, what prevents us from allowing him to be hanged.”

Gathered at the All-India Anti-Terrorism Front president Maninderjit Singh Bitta’s residence on Thursday, the family members spoke of their pain and noted that their only demand was death for Afzal.

Sunita Devi, wife of Vikram Bisht who was on security duty, says: “My only concern now is educating my children and ensuring a good life for them. But we as a group appeal to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to respect the sacrifice made by the security personnel and clear the path for the execution of Afzal.’’

Pressing the need for closure, Munesh Devi, who lost her husband Desh Raj, who worked as a gardener in the Parliament House complex, said: “We were given petrol pumps as compensation. However, most of the work was done by the family members in terms of putting the paper work together and perusing the files for ultimately ensuring that we were given the compensation. Now after that process is over, we are demanding that the government go ahead with the hanging of Afzal so that the families finally have some peace and a sense of justice.’’

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