Rajnath demands reason for delay in Afzal's execution
BJP president Rajnath Singh on Monday demanded an explanation from the UPA government over the delay in carrying out the death sentence of Parliament attack convict Mohammed Afzal.
"The country wants to know why Afzal's death sentence is not being executed," Singh told reporters in Mumbai. Afzal is on death row for the last three years.
Noting that Afzal had filed the clemency petition on October 4, 2006, Singh asked, "What is taking so long to take execute the court decision?" The mercy petition is pending before the President.
Singh's remarks came close on the heels of Afzal reportedly saying he hoped that L K Advani will become the country's next prime minister as the BJP leader was the only one who can take a decision and hang him and spare him of his daily ordeal. Advani had previously criticised the delay in executing Afzal.
Singh also said he was also surprised at how Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil could have made the remarks apparently targeting the BJP that those demanding Afzal's hanging could not seek reprieve for Sarabjit Singh.
Patil should not have equated Afzal Guru and Sarabjit Singh, Singh said.
"He (Patil) should not have made these remarks. I could not understand what message he wants to convey by making such remarks", the BJP chief said.
"If you are asking for Afzal Guru's hanging, then how can you ask for pardon for Sarabjit Singh," Patil had asked triggering an outcry among opposition parties.
While Afzal Guru has been awarded capital punishment in Parliament attack case, Sarabjit Singh has been sentenced to death in Pakistan for his alleged role in terror blasts there. Sarabjit's handing has been indefinitely postponed by Pakistan authorities.
Singh lauded Sarabjit Singh's wife for saying that she would not favour her husband to be freed at the cost of the interests of the country.
The Government should formulate a comprehensive plan to curb terrorism, Singh said. "BJP promises that it will support the Government fully on this issue," he added.
Singh said the remarks by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the Jaipur blasts were aimed at damaging Indo-Pak ties and confidence building measures were an attempt to divert attention from real issues and showed the Government's lack of will to deal with the growing menace of terrorism.
The BJP president also cited a report by the US State Department on global terrorism which said "India continues to rank among the world's most terror-afflicted countries".
Almost 10 per cent of people killed by terrorists in the world in 2007 were in India, Singh said. "Of the 22,685 people killed around the world in 2007, over 2,300 were killed in India", he said.
Singh referred to the report making a mention of Indian Government's counter-terrorism efforts remaining hampered by outdated and overburdened law enforcement and legal systems. He also flayed the UPA government for its 'adamance' in not bringing in a tough anti-terror law.