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HindustanTimes Mon,01 Sep 2014

Afzal Guru Execution

Centre’s nod needed to return Afzal's body to family
Abhishek Sharan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 10, 2013
First Published: 19:12 IST(10/2/2013)
Last Updated: 09:28 IST(11/2/2013)
Guru’s execution: 2nd-day curfew in Kashmir

A day after the hanging of 43-year-old Mohammed Afzal Guru in Tihar jail, its authorities took a decision on Sunday to compile an inventory of his personal possessions which could be returned to his family.


The authorities will, however, seek clearance from the central government before they take a decision regarding returning of Guru’s personal possessions and his body to his family. As per the jail manual, executed prisoners’ possessions have to be returned to his family, said a prison source.

“Afzal Guru’s belongings are with us, we have received a request from his lawyer on Saturday on behalf of his family for their return. We will check our records to compile a list of his personal possessions, to verify what belonged to him and what might have belonged to the prison,” Tihar’s Chief Director General (prisons) Vimla Mehra told HT.  Mehra said, “We will consult with the government on whether his body and his personal possessions are to be returned to his family. These things can be decided now that the hanging is over.” According to a prison source, the jail authorities had informed Guru’s family about his execution on Friday.

During his 12-year stay in Tihar Jail’s high-security wards, Guru had built his world around a few coveted personal possessions - an embroidered Kashmiri rug on which he offered namaaz five times a day, a small FM radio set he used to keep track of the world, especially Jammu and Kashmir and a copy of the Quran. Lodged in a solitary cell in a high-security ward of sub-jail three, which was under 24/7 closed circuit television monitoring, Guru was often seen reading books, newspapers and magazines (including Newsweek and Time) in English, as well as Hindi and Urdu, according to a jail source. Besides, among his personal belongings that are likely to be returned to his family, are his steel-rimmed spectacles, tee-shirts, pyjamas and trousers.   

While Guru’s lawyer N D Pancholi said he is yet to get a reply from the Tihar authorities on his request, Mehra said the latter could respond to it on Monday. Guru’s family, wife Tabassum and son Ghalib, will come to Delhi from Sopore (Jammu and Kashmir) to take back his body and personal belongings once “Tihar jail’s Director General” takes a decision, according to Pancholi.

Though Guru did not make any final wish, a prison source said he had spoken of “oneness of mankind” before he was executed. Guru had apparently chatted with all who met him before the hanging.


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