Changed scenario since his death has made coordination with family difficult: Pancholi

Lawyers N. D. Pancholi and Nandita Haksar, who took up Afzal Guru’s case and fought for him till the very end, have now decided to distance themselves from the family.

“We and our organisation, PUCL [People’s Union for Civil Liberties], continue to stand strongly for Afzal’s cause. But the changed scenario since his death has made functioning and coordinating with his family difficult,” Mr. Pancholi told The Hindu .

On Tuesday, they had written to Tihar jail authorities seeking handing over of Afzal’s belongings to his family, permission for it to pray at his grave in the prison and initiating procedures to take the body back to Kashmir. They said the Delhi Jail Manual on burial of executed prisoners was violated in Afzal’s case. “We are shocked that in violation of this rule, neither his family nor his counsel were informed before the execution so that they could make a claim to the body as per the rules…In a democracy, the Government cannot refuse to hand over the body on the ground that the people want to have a funeral procession.”

“Now there have arisen unseemly controversies and we do not wish to be party to these discussions. We also do not want to be distracted from the main issue on which we make our stand absolutely clear … We feel sad that all our efforts to build bridges between Indian people and Kashmiri people are constantly undermined by Indian authorities who condemn our efforts as ‘anti-national’ and in Kashmir, some political groups view these offers of solidarity and friendship with suspicion,” they added.

  • Neither his family nor counsel informed before the execution — flouting jail manual

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