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Kashmir Leaders Warn Of Serious Consequences If Afzal Guru Is Hanged

PTI 12 Aug 2011, 20:40:10 IST

Srinagar, Aug 12: A day after the Union Home Ministry advised the President to reject the mercy petition of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Hurriyat  Conference chairman  Syed Ali Shah Geelani warned the Centre of “serious consequences if he is hanged”.

“The death sentence to him is more a political decision than a judicial decision. If such a blunder (Guru's execution) is committed, it will have serious consequences and India cannot control the situation here notwithstanding its military power,” Geelani said.

Guru's death, he added, “will create hundreds of Afzal Gurus in Kashmir”.

Geelani said the courts did not “fulfill the standards of justice” in Guru's case, pointing out that he wasn't allowed to get his own lawyer to argue the case in the trial court to prove his innocence.

“The Indian judiciary has not been able to prove its neutrality as far as cases of Kashmiris are concerned,” he said. “They consider Kashmiris as guilty even before hearing their case.”

Separatist groups Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF warned of “consequences” if Union Home Ministry's recommendation to the President to reject the mercy petition of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru is implemented. “The responsibility for the consequences of acting in haste on the recommendation of the Home Ministry on Afzal Guru's mercy petition will rest with Government of India”,

Mirwaiz said in his address to a Friday congregation at Jamia Masjid here. He said if Guru is hanged, tension in Kashmir will be heightened. “Government of India talks about confidence-building measures for improving the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

What kind of CBM will be if Afzal Guru is hanged”? he said. Mirwaiz asked BJP and other political parties to stop “playing politics” over Afzal Guroo's hanging.

JKLF vice chairman Bashir Ahmad Bhat said hanging Guru will endanger peace in South Asian region. 

In Delhi, Home Minister P Chidambaram said, “That is Geelani's view.

I am bound to act according to the Constitution and the law.” Chidambaram downplayed the statement of its interlocutor on Kashmir Dileep Padgaonkar, who reportedly disfavoured death sentence to Afzal Guru.

The Home Minister said: “He (Padgaonkar) called me to say he did not make any such statement. He said his personal view was that death penalty should not be given to anyone. He is against death penalty. A number of people are against the death penalty. He denied the statement. So as far as I am concerned, there is no issue.”

Chidambaram said that the Government of India has forwarded the mercy petition of Afzal Guru to the President with recommendations (that the plea should be rejected). “It's only when the President takes a decision, we know what the decision is....there is no decision on mercy petition yet,” he added.

Replying to questions on President Pratibha Patil rejecting the mercy petitions of Rajiv Gandhi assassination accused, the Home Minister said, “We are in the process of informing the state governments (concerned)” about the decision. PTI