Congress on Wednesday sought to take the sting out of the BJP's attack on the delay in hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru saying his act was "unpardonable" and that law has to run the logical course.
At the same time, the AICC also went on the offensive against the saffron party questioning why L K Advani sat on the 15 mercy petitions from death row convicts which were pending during the erstwhile NDA rule when he was the Home Minister.
Party spokesman Manish Tewari told reporters that as many as 28 mercy petitions are pending with the President including one prior to 1997, 15 during the NDA rule and 12 since the Congress-led UPA came to power in 2004.
Noting that a lot of shadow boxing is being done on the Afzal issue, he alleged that attempts are being made to project that Muslims, which constitute a sizeable section of the country's population, were anti-national.
Besides, it is being projected that the Government wanted Afzal's sentence to be commuted or pardoned so as to appease the minorities. Condemning such projection, he said the minorities were as patriotic as any section of the population.
Afzal has committed an "unpardonable act... Law has to be taken to its logical conclusion," he said adding that decisions on the mercy petitions are taken in the order they are filed as "India is not a banana republic and goes by the rule of law."
Asked whether his statement meant that a decision on the mercy petition of Afzal would take time, he said "I am not commenting on a time frame."