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J&K political parties seek clemency for Afzal

Several mainstream and separatist parties in J&K have come together to seek review of Afzal's death sentence.

india Updated: Sep 29, 2006 20:44 IST
United News of India
United News of India

Sinking their differences, several mainstream and separatist parties in Jammu and Kashmir have come together to seek review of the death sentence to Mohammad Afzal Guru, convicted in the Parliament attack case.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Chandigarh on Thursday and reportedly sought Presidential clemency for Guru, citing the public sentiment in the Valley against the verdict.

At the meeting held on the margins of a conclave of chief ministers of Northern India, Azad urged the Prime Minister to immediately intervene in the matter.

National Conference (NC) President and former Union Minister Omar Abdullah pleaded for review of the death verdict.

In a statement in Srinagar, Abdullah said thousands of people have been killed so far and several others sent to gallows, but the Kashmir issue still remained unresolved.

He said the fact was that after every killing the situation further worsened in the state.

"Our efforts are at present focussed on making the dialogue process a success and restoring the atmosphere of peace and security in the state. Steps such as execution of Guru have potential to squander all these efforts and make the matters worse. We cannot afford to ignore the sentiments and aspirations of the people," Abdullah said.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Mehbooba Mufti told a local news agency that the people of Jammu and Kashmir will get further alienated if the death sentence to Guru was carried out.

She said the execution would have an adverse impact on the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan.

Mufti said during her meeting with the Prime Minister five months ago she had sought review of the court verdict.

The PDP Chief urged President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam to grant presidential clemency to Guru on "humanitarian" grounds.

The Jammu and Kashmir CPI(M) has also pleaded for review of the sentence, saying such steps will indeed hamper the ongoing peace process in the sub-continent.

In a statement, the state CPI(M) said the execution would make matters worse. Given the seriousness of the situation, one cannot ignore the tumult caused due to the decision and its negative impact on the ongoing peace process, it added.

"Repetition of past exercises by the Government of India will adversely affect the efforts for restoration of the peace in the state," the party said.

First Published: Sep 29, 2006 17:14 IST