The Centre on Tuesday agreed to allow hanged Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s family to perform prayers at his grave in Tihar jail, but Afzal’s family rejected the offer, insisting it wanted custody of the body.
Home secretary RK Singh, who made the announcement in Delhi, also said Afzal’s personal belongings would be returned to his family.
Afzal’s cousin Mohammad Yasin said if Delhi wanted to be kind, “let it tell us where to collect the body. We will bear all expenses”. “As for praying... we can do that anywhere,” his brother Aijaz Guru added.
Earlier, Afzal’s counsel ND Pancholi and Nandita Haksar asked the jail authorities on behalf of the family to hand over Afzal’s body and personal belongings and allow them perform prayers at his grave in Tihar.
But on Tuesday when they wrote a second letter to the jail chief reiterating the requests, Tihar spokesperson Sunil Gupta said the jail manual stipulated that they could act on the requests only if they came from the immediate family and “not a lawyer”.
Pancholi said the family had hoped to come immediately to Delhi but had been unable to do so because of the strict curfew and other restrictions on their movement.