BJP ‘agrees’ with Afzal, Congress avoids comment (Lead)

June 8th, 2008 - 9:27 pm ICT by IANS  


New Delhi, June 8 (IANS) As Afzal Guru, facing death sentence for terrorist attack on parliament, criticised the Congress-led central government for dithering over his mercy petition, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday reiterated its demand to hang him at the earliest while the ruling party refused to comment. “I would not like to react to what Afzal is saying. That would be derogatory for me. But this is a clear case of treachery, a case of attack on parliament,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, reacting to the terror convict’s comments in an exclusive interview to IANS.

“Azfal has been convicted by each court - from the lower court to the Supreme Court - and should be hanged,” Javadekar told IANS.

“For the Congress to now argue that a mercy petition takes long to get heard is absurd. Afzal is a terrorist and this is a special case. Even the Muslims do not say he should not be hanged. But the Congress is playing much more than politics here,” he added.

The Congress, while maintaining its stand on the issue, avoided a comment on Afzal’s request that his mercy petition be decided either way at the earliest.

“The mercy petition has nothing to do with Afzal. It has to do with the process of clemency. The BJP did not take a decision on those convicted in (former prime minister) Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination for six years that it was in power,” said a Congress leader, not wishing to be named.

In 2004, the Supreme Court upheld Afzal Guru’s conviction for his role in the Dec 13, 2001, terror attack on the parliament building and also his death penalty. His mercy petition is pending before the president. Six policemen and a civilian were killed in the attack.

In an exclusive interview to IANS, Afzal Guru, lodged in the Tihar jail here, said: “I don’t think the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government can ever reach a decision. The Congress party has two mouths and is playing a double game.

“I really wish L.K. Advani (of the BJP) becomes India’s next prime minister as he is the only one who can take a decision and hang me. At least, my pain and daily suffering would ease then,” he said.

The BJP has repeatedly accused the Congress-led UPA government of deliberately avoiding a decision on the clemency petition and alleged that the Congress was doing this to appease the minority Muslim community.

“Life has become hell in the jail. I requested the government to take an immediate decision over my sentence just two months ago. I don’t wish to be part of the living dead,” Afzal said.

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