Afzal Guru's Hanging: What Political Parties Say
Political parties today said justice has been done with the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru even as BJP questioned the delay in carrying out the death sentence.

Both Congress and the BJP said the hanging of Guru, a Jaish-e-Mohammed militant, would send a message to terror outfits that India would not tolerate terrorism.

Congress

"The law has taken its course. The Parliament attack convict has been hanged," Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi said reacting to the execution of Guru in Tihar Jail here.

"Justice has been done," another Congress spokesman Sandeep Dikshit said.
 In Chennai, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the decision to hang Guru was not based on political considerations.

"The process of Article 72 unfolded and once the mercy petition was rejected by the president (Pranab Mukherjee) the law took its own course," Tewari told a press conference.

He was referring to the article of the constitution under which a President can grant pardon or commute the sentence of any convict.

Alvi said the capital punishment to Afzal Guru would send a message to all terror outfits that India will not tolerate terror.

"We have sent a message to the world that we cannot tolerate terrorism at any cost. Anybody committing any acts of terror will be punished. People of our country and government have zero tolerance for terrorism", he said.

Taking a swipe at the BJP, Alvi said terrorists released by the NDA government during the Kandahar plane hijack episode were those who planned attack on Parliament.

BJP

Questioning the delay in Guru's hanging, BJP said it should have happened much earlier after the confirmation of the capital punishment by the Supreme Court in 2005.

"The capital punishment awarded to Afzal Guru today is a part of legal and judicial process which ought to have taken place much earlier. The attack on the Indian Parliament happened in 2001, that is 12 years ago, which was an attack on India.

"Why this sort of delay inspite of overpowering desire of the people of the country that those who are accused of such a heinous offence ought to be given the capital punishment as affirmed by the highest court of the land. This question would remain important and an answer would have to be found out," BJP Chief Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: "Though delayed, we still feel that the hanging of Afzal Guru was a right action. This action is delayed. But undoubtedly it is a welcome action."

Refuting the charge that there was delay in hanging Guru, Union Minister Mullappally Ramachandran today said quick implementation of decision is not possible in such cases.

"In such cases we cannot implement the decision all of a sudden. We have to examine the legal aspects etc. The delay was only procedural and nothing more than that," he said.

CPI(M)

CPI(M) said the law of the land has taken its course as far as attack on the Indian Parliament is concerned.

"I think, the law of the land with all its provisions has finally been completed as far as the Afzal Guru case and the attack on the Indian Parliament is concerned. The issue which had been lingering for the past 11 years has finally completed its its due course," CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said.

PDP

In Srinagar, People's Democratic Party expressed disappointment over Guru's hanging, saying the "sensitivities" of the people of Jammu and Kashmir should have been taken into account before taking the decision.

"While the hanging should not have been carried out, the return of Afzal's body was the least the government could do to show its concern for humanitarian values," the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said in a statement here.

"We feel that at a time when there is a need to step up measures to reduce the trust deficit between the state and rest of the country, the execution of Afzal Guru could produce results to the contrary. Our party is generally in favour of scrapping death penalty from the statute book and we reiterate that position once again," Mufti said.

PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar also criticised Guru's burial inside the prison complex in New Delhi, saying the body should have been given to his family in Kashmir.

Hurriyat

The All Party Hurriyat Conference announced a four-day mourning on the death of Guru.

"We call on people to observe four-day mourning on the hanging of Guru. A complete shutdown will be observed over the mourning period," Hurriyat Conference spokesman Shahidul Islam told PTI in Srinagar.

Shiv Sena

Shiv Sena, another party strident in its demand for Guru's execution, welcomed his hanging, saying the government showed "courage" in taking this decision.

"The government showed courage in hanging Guru," Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said in Mumbai but rued the delay in the process.

Raut said when Pranab Mukherjee had met Shiv Sena chief late Bal Thackeray during his campaign for the Presidential elections, the Sena supremo had urged him not to grant clemency to Guru.

RSS

RSS also welcomed the execution of Afzal Guru though it came after some delay and insisted that all Indians should rise above their differences to oppose terrorism unitedly.

"We welcome the implementation, albeit after a delay, of the Supreme Court order to hang Afzal Guru, the principal conspirator of the Parliament House attack of 2001. The Central government should have taken this decision earlier," RSS All-India propaganda chief Manmohan Vaidya said in a statement.

CPI(ML)

Meanwhile, terming the hanging of Afzal Guru as "travesty of justice and democracy", the CPI(ML) said it was carried out to "appease the communal fascist forces who want to make Narendra Modi India's Prime Minister."

"Faced with growing popular opposition and resistance on every front, the Congress party and the UPA government are desperately trying to appease the BJP and the communal-fascist brigade," General Secretary of CPI(ML) Liberation, Dipankar Bhattacharya said in a statement.

Forward Bloc

"This punishment will serve as a right message to terrorists organisations," AIFB General Secretary Debabrata Biswas said on the sidelines of the 17th state conference of the party.

"Nobody should try to mix religion with terrorism. A terrorist doesn't belong to any religion, caste or creed," Biswas said recalling that the hanging was due for a long time and the entire process had gone through the judicial system before going to the President.

Asked about the delay in the execution, Biswas said, "Many people are saying that there has been a delay in execution.

"In our judicial system everybody has a right to present their case. The law has taken its own course, justice has been done," he said.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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