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Centre may move for Afzal Guru�s execution

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, June 23 � Government 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.

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.

He was replying to a question about his opinion with regard to the Home Ministry�s recommendation to the President on his mercy plea.

Meanwhile, Opposition party BJP expressed the hope that the President would go by the government recommendation, saying he was �a symbol of treachery and terrorism� who deserved capital punishment.

Senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said whatever may have been the reasons for the delay deciding on the mercy petition in regard to Afzal, the President should accept government�s recommendation, if any, rejecting it.

BJP has often alleged in the past that the Congress-led UPA government and the Shiela Dikshit-led Delhi government were delaying the hanging of Afzal Guru for minority appeasement and vote-bank politics. � PTI

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