Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who is already under fire from the party for “repeatedly” praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, triggered fresh controversy on Monday with his remarks that Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s hanging was “wrong”.
“I think the hanging was both wrong and badly handled. Family should have been warned, given a last meeting & body returned,” he tweeted, in response to a remark on the issue.
Guru was hanged inside Tihar Jail on February 9, 2013, during the tenure of the Congress-led UPA government.
This comment came on a day separatists protesting Guru’s hanging organised a shutdown in the Valley, disrupting normal life. One person was killed in the protests, when security forces allegedly opened fire on the agitators in Baramulla district.
“The people of Kashmir remember Guru for not showing any weakness and his last letter has become a milestone for the Kashmir struggle,” said a statement from hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
Tharoor’s party, however, distanced itself from his remarks. “Due process of law was followed…It was finally the end of a judicial process and the Supreme Court’s order was executed,” party spokeman Ajoy Kumar said.
The issue caused some anxious moments for the Congress during Saturday’s Rajya Sabha elections from the state when independent legislator Engineer Rashid sought a written statement from the party in lieu of his support for Ghulam Nabi Azad’s candidature.
Accordingly, five Congress MLAs issued a statement saying that Guru’s mortal remains should be returned to his kin.
Engineer then declared his support for Azad, who managed to retain his seat.
Bus service suspended along LOC
The cross-border bus service, which plied only on Monday’s, was suspended after the arrest of a Pakistan-occupied Kashmir-based driver who was found carrying 370 packets of narcotics.
The arrest has led to an impasse in trade between the 2 countries. In retaliation, Pakistan detained 50 trucks that had gone to Chakothi trade centre from here with goods on Friday. (With inputs from HTC in New Delhi)