Advocating the need for a national debate on ending the provision of hanging in India, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) general secretary Tariq Anwar on Sunday appealed President APJ Abdul Kalam to commute the death sentence of Mohammad Afzal, facing execution in the 2001 Parliament attack case, to life imprisonment.
"While many countries have ended capital punishment, India continues with it even in the 21st century. Besides, this is a land of Buddha, Mahavira and Mahatma Gandhi, who were symbols of peace ...India should do away with capital punishment," Anwar said.
The general secretary of NCP, a constituent of UPA at the Centre, advocated a national debate on ending execution in the country.
Anwar claimed that besides Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, two left parties like CPI and CPM also favoured life imprisonment for Afzal.
"Except for the BJP, majority of political parties and leaders want commuting Afzal's punishment to life imprisonment", the senior NCP leader said.
Providing clemency to Afzal would give him an opportunity to repent for his act, Anwar added.