Hang Afzal call grows loud, nation remembers Parl attack victims
The government today put the onus on President Pratibha Patil for a final decision on Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's hanging as the nation remembered the victims of the audacious strike ten years ago.delhi Updated: Dec 13, 2011 21:45 IST
The government on Tuesday put the onus on President Pratibha Patil for a final decision on Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's hanging as the nation remembered the victims of the audacious strike ten years ago.
Political parties and families of the victims demanded expeditious execution of Guru, the surviving conspirator sentenced to death by the court.
The government said his mercy petition was for Patil to decide.
"The matter is with the President and it is for the President to decide (whether to accept it or not)," Union home secretary RK Singh told reporters in New Delhi.
On Dec 13, 2001, when the two houses assembled for the day's sitting, five heavily armed men posing as security personnel stormed the Parliament House and opened indiscriminate fire, killing nine people. The attackers were also gunned down.
Guru was convicted for conspiracy and sentenced to death that was to be carried out Oct 20, 2006. His wife filed a mercy petition that was forwarded by the government to the president.
The government note on July 27, 2011 recommends that the clemency petition should be rejected.
The families remembering their lost ones want that justice be done and Guru hanged.
"Till the time Guru is hanged, there will be no honour for the martyrs in the Parliament attack," said 23-year-old Bipin Adana, the son of Delhi Police head constable Vijendra Singh, who was killed in the attack.
Adana, who runs a petrol pump allotted to him by the government as compensation for having lost his father, said he was ready to forgo the fuel station.
"Why is the traitor not being punished?"
Shweta lost her mother Kamlesh Kumari, a woman constable with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), in the attack. She is surprised Guru has not been hanged.
"The person who killed my mother, hasn't been hanged yet. I want him to be hanged soon," she said.
The victims included five Delhi Police personnel, a woman CRPF trooper, two Parliament watch and ward staff and a gardener. A journalist who took a terrorist's AK-47 bullets died later.
Law minister Salman Khurshid admitted the pace of implementation of law was slow in the country.
"We are not always happy with the pace with which the rule of law is implemented in our country and that is the reason why we have a mission for justice delivery," he told reporters.
"We are sure that the matters are decided in court between three to five years. There should be nothing that goes beyond five years," he added.
The attack on parliament complex had led to an escalation of conflict between India and Pakistan, as New Delhi was convinced that the terror strike had been masterminded in the neighbouring country.
On Tuesday, the memory of the event came alive.
Vice President Hamid Ansari led members of both houses of parliament in paying tribute to those killed.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and other members attended a ceremony held in Parliament complex.
The leaders observed a minute's silence in memory of the victims.
Advani recalled the attack and said "if even one of them (the attackers) had succeeded in entering Parliament House, it would have been horrific."
A blood donation camp was organised in Parliament by the Red Cross Society.
First Published: Dec 13, 2011 21:33 IST