AFZAL MAY GO TO GALLOWS

New Delhi, June 23: Government of India is likely to recommend to President Pratibha Patil that the mercy petition of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru be rejected, upholding the death sentence...

New Delhi, June 23: Government of India is likely to recommend to President Pratibha Patil that the mercy petition of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru be rejected, upholding the death sentence awarded to him by the Supreme Court.
Sources said Home Minister P Chidambaram is likely to decide that such a recommendation could be sent to the President before whom the mercy petition is pending. The relevant file is expected to be sent to the Prime Minister's Office shortly from where it will be sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
However, a report said the central Home Ministry has already written to the President of India that Afzal Guru's is a fit case for death sentence. The Centre said the nature of the crime is heinous and the convict in the Parliament House attack deserves no mercy.
A ministry note says: "Mercy petition filed by Tabassum, wife of the Parliament House attack convict Afzal Guru, should be rejected. Nature of the crime committed is heinous and he deserves no mercy."
The mercy petition was filed by Guru's wife Tabassum four years ago.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said that the President was yet to receive any recommendation on the Parliament attack convict from the government.
"We have not received anything on Afzal Guru from the Home Ministry yet," the spokesperson said. Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna had sent the file on Guru to Home Ministry on June 3. The file was sent after 16 reminders from the Home Ministry to the Sheila Dikshit government.
Guru was sentenced to death by a Sessions court on December 18, 2002 for the December 13, 2001, militant attack on Parliament House. The verdict was upheld by the Delhi High Court on October 29, 2003, and by the Supreme Court on August 4, 2005. Subsequently, the Sessions court set October 20, 2006 as the date for hanging Guru but his wife filed a mercy petition. The petition was referred by the Ministry to the Delhi government but the Dikshit government sat on it for nearly four years.
Meanwhile, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said he supported the stand taken by the Home Ministry in the case of Guru.
However, eminent jurist Shanti Bhushan termed the Centre's move unfortunate, saying Guru was only a conspirator of the attack, and did not carry out the attack.
"This is very unfortunate. The government is bowing down to the Opposition pressure. Death penalty is for the person who actually does the act. He was only a conspirator, so the SC should not have given him death sentence. It is an additional punishment to be on the death row for five years," said Shanti Bhushan.

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