Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah disclosed on Tuesday that he had already taken up the issue of returning the bodies of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
A statement issued by the state government on Tuesday evening said that the chief minister had called on the PM and also written a letter demanding the mortal remains be returned to their families. “In a letter to the prime minister, on February 19, Omar Abdullah had strongly pleaded, handing over the mortal remains of Afzal Guru to his family. The chief minister, during his recent meeting with the prime minister, had also reiterated this demand of the family of Afzal Guru.”
”Given the strong sentiments attached to the treatment meted out to Afzal Guru’s family especially the denial of a last chance to meet their loved one before his execution and the denial of a judicial review of the case, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told the prime minister that least the Government of India can do in this matter, is to return the remains to his family,” the statement said.
“Recognising the similarity between both the cases of Afzal Guru and Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, the chief minister also asked for return of the remains of Maqbool Bhat which has been an unresolved issue and a long pending demand of his family ever since his execution in 1984,” it read.
While Guru was hanged in Delhi’s high security Tihar jail on February 9, Bhat was hanged on February 11, 1984. The mortal remains of both Guru and Bhat were buried inside the jail premises.
Earlier in the day, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party patron and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had also written a letter to the prime minister seeking return of the mortal remains of Guru to his family.
The separatists have been staging protests and shutdowns to press their demand for return of the mortal remains of Guru. Another shutdown has been called for Friday.