After Masarat Alam, Afzal Guru issue may rock PDP-BJP boat

  • Toufiq Rashid, None, Srinagar
  • Updated: Mar 17, 2015 22:53 IST

After the controversial first few weeks, the newly-formed PDP-BJP government will face another litmus test on resolution of demanding the mortal remains of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

The issue is likely to rock the Assembly and may pitch the two alliance partners against each other again. Last week, the two parties had a face-off over the release of separatist leader Masarat Alam.

On the Guru issue, the alliance partners have traditionally opposite views. While the PDP was against Guru's hanging and had on many occasions in the past called his "trial and punishment unfair," however the BJP, which heads the government at the Centre and is PDP's junior partner in the state, had welcomed Guru's hanging.

The BJP-led NDA was in power when the audacious attack on December 13, 2001 had left 14 people dead.

While the BJP last week had said that they are likely to oppose the resolution and will get PDP on board on the issue. It, however, will be a tricky situation for the Kashmir-based PDP, which has always maintained that Guru's family should be handed over the remains.

Langate MLA Engineer Abdul Rashid has submitted a resolution during the budget session of the Assembly starting on Wednesday in Jammu, seeking Afzal Guru's mortal remains. He is also moving resolution to seek release of all political prisoners languishing in various jails.

"We do not want such kind of resolution to be moved in the Assembly. We are going to oppose any such move and our coalition ally PDP is going to be on our side. We have taken them on board," a BJP leader told Hindustan Times in Srinagar. The same was reiterated by BJP chief spokesman Sunil Sethi in Jammu earlier.

On Tuesday, however, the PDP did not want to reveal its stand. Speaking to the Hindustan Times, Firdous Tak, PDP leader, said that the party wasn't aware of any such resolution being moved in the Assembly.

"We are learning about the resolution from media. If someone has moved a notice for resolution it has to go through various processes, let it come to the Assembly, we will decide on our stand then,'' he added.

Only a day after government formation had demanded that the Centre hand over the remains of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru to his Kashmir-based family. A group of PDP MLAs in a statement had called it travesty of justice.

"PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) 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 statement read.

Meanwhile, even the National Conference refused to come clear on its stand.

"The decision on the resolution has to be taken by the legislative party and I don't think they have met specifically to discuss this,'' said NC spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattoo.

Mattoo, however, said that the NC has always supported that the remains should be returned to the family. "I don't think that stand has changed,'' he added.

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