BJP dares government to take decision on Afzal’s clemency

June 9th, 2008 - 9:49 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Shivraj Patil

New Delhi, June 9 (IANS) After parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru said he was tired of waiting for the government to take a decision on his mercy petition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday restated its position - hang him or give him clemency. “Afzal Guru has called the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government indecisive and double-faced. We demand from the government that if the family of Afzal Guru has asked for clemency, it should either go ahead and give him clemency, or reject it and hang him,” BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters.

“This is a matter of national importance and the UPA is dragging its feet for a long time. The BJP charges the government of not taking a decision for vote bank politics,” he said.

Rudy said family members of those security men who laid down their lives in foiling the terrorist strike on parliament Dec 13, 2001, have returned their gallantry medals to protest the government failure to hang Afzal.

Afzal in an exclusive interview to IANS stated that he was fed up of waiting endlessly for the government to take a decision on his mercy petition. Afzal also said that if BJP leader L.K. Advani became the prime minister there were chances that he would take a decision and hang him.

The BJP spokesperson said that Afzal’s case could not be compared to that of Sarabjit Singh, who too is on death row in a Pakistan jail for his alleged involvement in bomb blasts in Multan and Lahore in 1990.

“The family members of Sarabjit Singh have said that if his case is compared to that of Afzal, then they would prefer not to seek clemency for Sarabjit,” Rudy said.

Sarabjit’s execution has been postponed after the Indian government intervened in the matter. Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil last month compared Afzal’s case with Sarabjit, arguing one could not seek clemency for Sarabjit while demanding that Afzal be hanged.

Afzal’s death sentence in the parliament attack case was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2004. He filed a mercy petition that has been lying with the union government. Six security personnel and one civilian were killed in the terrorist attack on parliament. Five terrorists who mounted the attack also were killed.

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