Afzal's Hanging: Centre Rules Out Political Considerations
The government today rejected any political or electoral considerations behind hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and said the decision "furthers the cause of justice and national security."

"There has been some narrative in media that the decision (to hang Guru) was motivated by electoral considerations. Nothing is more false. The government decisions on internal security are devoid of political considerations," Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters here.

As regards the attack on Parliament, which he described as "dastardly", due judicial process had been followed where an investigation process "culminated in prosecution process," and further underwent a 'three-layered' judicial scrutiny starting from the trial court to the Supreme Court which had upheld his conviction, Tewari said.

"Certain persons accused in the case were acquitted while some others were found guilty and convicted. Eventually it was judicious. It furthers the cause of justice and national security," he said.

Guru's case showed UPA's internal security related decisions were not taken out of "fear or favour", he said and appealed for restraint and circumspection on comments regarding the hanging.

On clemency pleas of death row convicts pending before the President, Tewari said decisions cannot be "extrapolated," as facts of each case are scrutinised in detail before arriving at a decision.

"There is no one-size-fits-all approach and each case has to be evaluated based on facts before the President applies his own mind. There is no need to extrapolate," he said.

To questions on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, he recalled India voting in favour of a resolution at a UN human rights body last year and said New Delhi's engagement with Colombo should not be seen as against Tamil Nadu's sentiments.

"The process of engagement (with Colombo) should not be construed as insensitivity towards a particular state."

On the Vishwaroopam controversy, which he described as "unfortunate," he reiterated that the power to certify a film "exclusively" wrests with Central government and wondered how can state governments over ride that.

Such instances will make the film-makers run from "secretariat to secretariat pleading with politicians" for the release of their film, he said.

On Tamil Nadu Attorney General A Navaneethakrishnan's contention that there were irregularities in the granting of Certification for the film, Tewari said he was "extremely anguished" and called for more professional conduct.

"He should have submitted evidence, if any, to the court, rather than making unfounded allegations," he noted.

Responding to BJP's criticism of saffron terror remark and its demand for Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's resignation over the matter, he said UPA did not make any distinction on religion and said "terror has no colour or religion but it itself is an identity."

Referring to Rahul Gandhi's recent elevation as Congress Vice-President, he said the former had "responded to popular appeal," and was in discussion with allies and other political leaders.

On BJP chief Rajnath Singh's insistence on building Ram Temple at Ayodhya, he said people are aware of the party's "opportunism."

The UPA government was selected for a five year term and will complete it, he said responding to queries on possibilities of early elections.

To a question, Tewari denied that the Centre had declined permission to Tamil Nadu government's plea for Digital Addressable System licence to its Arasu Cable TV, saying TRAI recommendations made it clear that state governments cannot involve themselves in broadcasting.

The recommendations were under consideration of an inter-ministerial committee and his department will take a final call after its meeting, he added.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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