Afzal Showed No Signs of Remorse: Tihar Officials

After an immediate reaction of being "shaken up" on getting the news of his impending execution last evening, Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was "remorseless" when taken to the gallows this morning.

Senior Tihar Jail officials who oversaw the entire preparation for hanging of 43-year-old Guru said he was "very peaceful" and "calm" during the final moments and did not show any remorse.

"He was very peaceful and calm during the final moments. He looked very composed. But he looked a little shaken when he was told about the execution last evening," a top Tihar Jail official told PTI.

Guru, who spent over 10 years on death row in the prison, was lodged in a 16-feet long and 12-feet wide death row cell in Jail No 3 and it was around 20 metres away from the spot he was hanged at 8 AM in the high security prison in a top secret operation.

The official said it was a sleepless night for Guru who was told to get ready at around 5 AM. He was offered tea but he did not have it. He offered Namaz immediately after getting up and was taken to the gallows at 7:30 AM.

Sources said Guru was hanged for 15 minutes. He had sought a copy of Quran last evening after he was told about the impending execution.

Director General of Prisons Vimla Mehra said Guru appeared "remorseless" in his final hours. A doctor carried out a health check up of Guru before he was taken to gallows. Mehra said normal procedure was followed in the hanging.

Sources said though he was offered dal, sabji and roti in dinner last evening, he did not have it.

Eight persons, including a doctor and a magistrate, were present when he was hanged.

His body was buried inside the prison complex soon after his execution. "He (Guru) was buried near Jail No.3 with full religious rites," said another Tihar Jail official. A Maulavi performed the last rites.

Asked about his daily routine, another jail official said Guru used to spend most of his time either alone or with books as he had a good collection inside his cell.

The official said he had a radio and he used to listen to FM channels regularly. "He used to wake up early in the morning and offer Namaz regularly."

"He also used to go for walk in the morning in a park outside his cell," he said.

This is the first time that Tihar Jail witnessed a hanging in the last two decades. The last was Kehar Singh and Satwant Singh, assassins of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who were sent to gallows in 1989.

The jail authorities refused to share any details about whether he had any last wish or about any final words.

Guru was found guilty of conspiring and sheltering the militants who attacked Parliament on December 13, 2001, in which nine persons were killed.

The mercy plea of Guru, who was sentenced to death in 2002 by a special court and later upheld by the Supreme Court in 2005, was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee on February 3.

The family of Guru residing in Sopore in north Kashmir was informed about the decision of the government that his mercy petition has been rejected.

However, Guru's lawyers Nandita Haksar and N Pancholi said his family was not informed about the government decision to hang him.

The lawyers said the family came to know about Guru's hanging only through news channels.

"The family was not informed about the decision. They came to know only through news channels. The family is in Sopore. They cannot come due to curfew," the lawyers said.

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