The National Conference (NC) has accused the Centre of "betrayal" on the Afzal Guru hanging issue, but maintained that continuing in the Congress-led UPA was a political compulsion.
Supporters of independent MLA Rashid protesting to draw President Pranab Mukherjee's attention towards the mercy plea of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in Srinagar on Thursday. Waseem Andrabi/HT
The party also said the Centre was looking at Jammu and Kashmir through a different prism.
"I challenge the Government of India to hang Balwant Singh Rajaona and Rajiv Gandhi killers... They won't do it. For them, Punjab and Tamil Nadu are electorally very important unlike J&K," senior NC leader and Lok Sabha MP Mehboob Beg told HT.
"Kashmiris feel let down over Afzal Guru's hanging. There is anger and anguish among the youth. The execution has long-term repercussions," Beg said.
Accusing the Congress-led UPA government of betrayal and playing vote-bank politics, he, however, said staying in the coalition was a compulsion for the NC.
"We don't have any other option. We can't go with BJP which reminds us of 2002 Gujarat riots."
To limit the political damage, the party has upped the ante over returning Guru's body to his family. "If the PM is genuinely upset over the way the entire issue was handled, he should ensure the return of Guru’s body to his family.”