A group of People’s Democratoc Party (PDP) MLAs on Monday fired another salvo at its coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) calling the hanging of terrorist Afzal Guru issue as “a travesty of justice”. The issue is sure to embarrass the PDP leadership too and expose chinks in the relations between PDP and BJP who came together to form government in Jammu and Kashmir under Mufti Mohammad Sayeed just on Sunday.
A group of eight PDP MLAs issued a statement raking up the issue of Afzal Guru’s hanging. The statement said: “PDP has always maintained that late Afzal Guru’s hanging was travesty of justice and constitutional requirements/process was not followed in hanging him out of turn.”
The MLAs stated that the manner in which Guru was picked up from serial no. 28 and singled out has already been condemned by the PDP. The statement said the party stands by the demand for return of Guru’s mortal remains. “…the party promises to follow vigorously for the return of the mortal remains,” said.
The statement further quoted the MLAs as saying that they believe that the resolution brought by Engineer Rashid to seek clemency for Guru was justified and should have been adopted by the House at that time.
Parliament attack convict Guru was hanged and buried in the premises of Tihar Jail in Delhi on February 9, 2013. Since his execution, there have been demands from Jammu and Kashmir that the body should be handed over to his family.
Rashid, Independent member of J&K Assembly, taking a cue from the Tamil Nadu Assembly’s resolution in favour of Rajiv Gandhi assassins, moved a motion in the House in 2011 seeking clemency for Guru. However, the debate could not be completed due to shortage of time.
In 2004 Guru was sentenced to death by Supreme Court for his role in the 2001 Parliament attack.
The legislators who issued a statement comprised Mohammad Khalil Bandh, Zahoor Ahmed Mir, Raja Manzoor Ahmad, Mohd Abas Wani, Yawar Dilawar Mir, Advocate Mohd Yosuf, Aijaz Ahmad Mir and Noor Mohd Sheikh.
The J&K CM had courted controversy soon after taking oath as CM on Sunday by saying that Pakistan, Hurriyat and militants allowed conducive atmosphere for Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Centre and the BJP dissociated from Sayeed’s remarks and gave credit for peaceful elections in the state to the Election Commission, Army personnel, paramilitary forces and the local people.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Singh said questions were raised by the Opposition after Sayeed’s statement. “We disassociate statement of the CM of Jammu and Kashmir completely.”
Making a statement after demands were made by the Opposition, Singh said, “The credit for smooth polls in Jammu and Kashmir goes to the Election Commission, Army, paramilitary forces and people of the state.”
However, the Congress was not satisfied with Singh’s statement. Leader of Congress in the Lower House Mallikarjun Kharge demanded a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Sayeed’s remark. He said the PM should make a statement as he was in the country. He also demanded the negotiation which the PM had with Sayeed.
Singh said he had a word with the PM and he was in the loop over the issue. “I am giving this statement after talking with PM.”
Sayeed’s remarks have put the BJP in a tight spot as the Centre in August 2014 had cancelled talks with Pakistan after its High Commissioner Abdul Basit in New Delhi met Hurriyat Conference leaders. BJP has always advocated a strong stand against Pakistan and advocates a no-mercy policy towards terrorists while Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party is in favour of adopting a soft approach.