BJP chiefs to meet Kalam over Afzal tomorrow

BJP is meeting the President to request that the Afzal's sentence should not be changed to life imprisonment.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2006 15:52 IST

Opposed to clemency for Mohammad Afzal, facing execution in the 2001 Parliament attack, the BJP has sought an appointment with President APJ Abdul Kalam forSunday to request that the punishment should not be commuted to life imprisonment.

"He (Afzal) should be punished in accordance with the court orders. We have sought an appointment with the President forSunday. When we meet the President, we will tell him that any decision in this regard should lie in national interest," BJP chief Rajnath Singh said on Saturday.

A BJP delegation, including Singh and senior party leader LK Advani, will also submit a memorandum to the president.

Singh, who maintained that no attempts should be allowed to reverse judicial decisions in such cases, recalled that Mahatma Gandhi had requested no clemency for Bhagat Singh, who was apprehended after a bomb attack on the Central Assemblyin New Delhiand sentenced to death in connection with a murder in Lahore.

"There his no need to grant pardon to Afzal," the BJP chief, whose party seeks to use clemency calls for Afzal as a nationalist issue after its Vande Mataram campaign ahead of assembly elections, told a party event commemorating the birth anniversary of Valmiki.

Singh also used the occasion to woo SCs and STs, the main vote-block of the BSP in Uttar Pradesh, as he demanded there should be lessons in school and college textbooks on Valmiki.

The former UP Chief Minister, whose party held the Valmiki event for the first time at its headquarters, said he had ordered a survey while being in power in the state to assess the reach of government benefits for SCs and STs.

First Published: Oct 07, 2006 15:52 IST