Govt for rejection of Afzal’s mercy plea


Prime VIP
New Delhi, June 23

The Home Ministry is likely to recommend to President Pratibha Patil that the mercy petition of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru be rejected to uphold the death sentence awarded to him by the Supreme Court.

Official sources said Home Minister P Chidambaram is likely to suggest that such a recommendation could be sent to the President before whom the mercy petition is pending. The relevant file will soon be sent to the Prime Minister's Office shortly from where it will be sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The petition was filed by Afzal’s wife Tabassum four years ago.

A Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said the President was yet to receive any such recommendation from the government.“We have not received anything on Afzal Guru from the Home Ministry yet," the spokesperson said.

Delhi Lt Governor Tejinder Khanna had sent Afzal’s file to the Home Ministry on June 3. The file was sent after 16 reminders from the Home Ministry to the Sheila Dikshit government.

Meanwhile, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said he supported the stand taken by the Home Ministry in the case. He was replying to a question about his opinion with regard to the Home Ministry's recommendation to the President on his mercy plea.

The BJP expressed the hope that the President would go by the government recommendation that Parliament attack-convict Afzal Guru be hanged, saying he was “a symbol of treachery and terrorism” who deserved capital punishment.

Senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said whatever might have been the reasons for the delay deciding on the mercy petition in regard to Afzal, the President should accept government's recommendation, if any, rejecting it.

“The Home Ministry after so much delay seems to have recommended that the Supreme Court verdict should be implemented. We hope that the President will go by the recommendation,” Naidu said. The Congress said it supported the ministry's stand. “Law will take its own course and the procedure laid down under the Constitution will be followed,” said party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarjan told reporters here.