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'We want Afzal hanged'
Onkar Singh in New Delhi |
October 12, 2006 04:20 IST
While Kashmiri leaders including the family of Mohammad Afzal Guru have been pressing for clemency, the families of the victims of the December 13, 2001 parliament met President A P J Abdul Kalam to put forward their point of view and told him categorically that no mercy should be shown to the man who was one of the key conspirators of the attack on the Sansad Bhavan.
Their arguments got a shot in the arm when the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment said that President and governors should also keep in mind what the victims have to say while deciding on mercy petitions.
The court also said that if the pardon was granted because of extraneous considerations then the same could come under the judicial review. Sushil Kumar Shinde had remitted the sentence of a congress activist and the same had come for judicial review before the two judge bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S H Kapadia said the President and Governor have to keep in mind the effect of such pardon on the family.
Almost five years after the incident the families of the victims have been waiting for justice. "Not a single person has been hanged. We want Afzal to be hanged," said Ganga Devi, widow of sub-inspector Nanak Chand.
She was part of a delegation led by former youth congress chief Maninderjit Singh Bitta on Tuesday which also happened to be festival of Karva Chauth-when married women fast throughout the day for the long life of their husbands.
Prem Vati, wife of Jagdish Prasad had driven down from Neem Ka Thana in Rajasthan to join the delegation. "I have two children one son and one daughter. The life is really very hard without my husband who laid down his life while fighting the terrorists who had stormed the parliament house on December 13,2001," she told rediff.com after her meeting with President Kalam.
"When President Kalam asked me about Afzal, I like others told him that Afzal should not be shown any mercy and he should be hanged," she added before she was driven away from the Rashtrapati Bhavan lawns.
"My son Om Prakash, worked in Delhi police and was in vice President's bodyguards. He caught hold of one of the terrorists by the collar when they tried to attack the Vice President's motorcade. My son lost his life," said sixty-five year old Sardar Singh.
Whiping his tears the old man said that his only wish is now to see that that Afzal is hanged for his crimes. "Woh desh drohi hai aur isye logon ko phansi laga deni chahiye (He is a traitor and should be hanged)," he said.
Sardar Singh and his family members have not slept since they saw the Kashmiri separatist leaders as well as the mainstream leadership joining hands and asking for clemency for Afzal Guru.
"I live on Delhi-Haryana border near Sonepat and we have been making trips to Delhi to ensure justice is done by hanging the terrorist," Sardar Singh told rediff.com. He is not sure whether the President of India would give a green signal to the hanging.
Avdesh Kumar, husband of Kamlesh Kumari, the only woman paramilitary personnel to have lost her life to terrorists, expressed similar sentiments.
"Afzal is getting support from various quarters and this clearly indicates the struggle for the vote bank," he said in written memorandum that was submitted to President Kalam by the delegation of the victims.
"If this man is not hanged then hundreds of more terrorists would get encouraged to strike again. Afzal would breed more subversives," said Jayawati wife of late Bijender Singh. What irked the members of the families of the victims was that they had to struggle hard to get what the government had promised them.
Some of them were asked to bribe the officials and they told President Kalam about it.
Though Afzal is scheduled to be hanged on October 20, the victims families are critical of the manner in which blatant attempts are being made to get a reprieve by holding out threat of violence in the valley.
"Nobody cares about the sacrifices of our husbands or relatives said another woman who did not wish to be named as statements in the media have not helped their cause. On the contrary it has damaged their cause.