The ruling National Conference (NC) in Jammu and Kashmir alone will decide the party's position on clemency for Afzal Guru, on death row for conspiring in the 2001 terror attack on the Indian Parliament, if a resolution on it in the state assembly is put to vote, chief minister Omar Abdullah said on Sunday.
"The speaker of the assembly has the powers to decide on the resolution submitted by an independent member of the assembly seeking clemency for Afzal Guru," Abdullah said. "If put to vote, the NC legislature party, headed by the party patron, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, will decide what course the party should take on the resolution."
Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a function in Srinagar, Abdullah defended his Twitter comments on the Tamil Nadu assembly resolution on clemency for the three sentenced to death for conspiracy in former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination.
"The BJP cannot silence me on this issue," the chief minister said. "It is the people of my state who have the right to silence me if they so choose."
The BJP had criticized Abdullah for a tweet in which he said that if the Kashmir assembly passed a resolution seeking clemency for Afzal Guru, as the Tamil Nadu assembly had done by seeking clemency for the three on death row for Rajiv Gandhi's killing, the reaction would not have been as muted as it was over the Tamil Nadu assembly resolution.
An independent legislator in the 87-member Kashmir assembly, Engineer Rashid, has already submitted a resolution to the speaker seeking clemency for Afzal Guru, who belongs to the Valley.
Assembly speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone has said that he finds nothing constitutionally wrong in putting the resolution to vote.
Governor NN Vohra has convened a short-routine session of the state legislature Sep 26.