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No decision of Afzal Guru's mercy; busy with rape case: Shinde

January 10, 2013 19:28 IST
The home ministry has not yet taken a decision on the mercy petition of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, as it was busy in handling the situation arising out of the gang rape of a girl in Delhi.

Asked whether any decision has been taken on Guru's pending clemency plea, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the relevant file has come to him and he wanted to send the government's recommendation on the mercy to the President as soon as possible.

"But in between, the rape case happened and I had to devote a considerable amount of my time to it. I will take a decision. But I will have to go into details. When the country's President sends something to me for the second time that means I have to go deep into the case and study it in detail and then send the recommendation," he said.

There were huge public protests after the 23-year-old paramedic student was brutally raped and assaulted in a moving bus on December 16. Later, she died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.

Asked what would be the government's decision on Telangana statehood, Shinde said he had heard the views of eight political parties of Andhra Pradesh on December 28, 2012 and promised to make some announcement within a month. 
"I said that I will tell something within a month. I did not say this way or that way. At this moment, there is nothing. Some people are writing to me what to do and what not to do and it is my duty to collect all information within a month so that something can be worked out," he said.

Asked about the possibility of making Hyderabad a Union Territory, the home minister said there has been no discussion on it so far. "There are many suggestions. There are suggestions of the Srikrishna Committee also. We will look into all those...," he said.

Asked whether infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir has been on rise, Shinde said, "Infiltration has been going on in Jammu and Kashmir." He said so far there was no information that Pakistan-based extremists were involved in Tuesday's killing of two Indian soldiers but some infiltrators could have been involved in some of the recent attacks on Indian soldiers.

The home minister said the security forces have launched large-scale operations in Maoist strongholds in Latehar district of Jharkhand where in an encounter, ten CRPF jawans lost their lives. Eight Naxals and three civilians were also killed in the gunfight.

"This is expected to be a tough battle since the Maoists are entrenched in this area for decades and are familiar with the terrain. The operations will continue till the Maoists are cleared from this area," he said.

Shinde, however, said government was not in favour of "bullet-for-bullet" but for peace and providing help in improving socio-economic condition of the people living in Naxal-affected areas.

Asked whether the Delhi police commissioner would be removed from his post after the Delhi high court's adverse comment in the wake of the Delhi gang rape incident, the home minister said he would not like to comment on a sub judice matter.

He, however, said following a recommendation of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, a joint secretary level woman police has been posted in Delhi Police headquarters to handle cases of crimes against women.

"On Wednesday, I reviewed the law and order situation in Delhi with the Delhi Police and we have taken a number of decisions," he said.

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