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Afzal Guru awaits his fate, Azhar plots next attack

Last updated on: December 13, 2011 15:17 IST

Afzal Guru awaits his fate, Azhar plots next attack

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Indian authorities may claim that they have completed their probe in this case successfully, but the main accused has evaded arrest so far, points out Vicky Nanjappa

On the tenth anniversary of the attack on Parliament, it is not possible to talk about the incident without mentioning Afzal Guru.

Guru was convicted of the attack and sentenced to death. He filed his mercy petition five years ago; it is currently pending before the President of India.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has made the issue of Guru's hanging one of their prime agendas.

Security experts point out that Guru's imprisonment may inspire another Kandahar type hijacking incident; terrorists might stage an attack to get him released. They argue that since the courts have decided that he deserves the death penalty, there is no point in dilly-dallying about it.

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Afzal Guru waits for his fate, Azhar plots next attack

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During the trial, the prosecution told the trial court, high court and Supreme Court that the conspiracy to attack Parliament was planned by Maulana Masood Azhar, who led the Jaish-e-Mohammad.

He instructed one Ghazi Baba to carry out an attack on key installations in India including Parliament.

Baba, who was in charge of the JeM in Kashmir, roped in one Tariq, who in turn recruited Afzal Guru and Mohammad Haider. It was alleged that Guru helped bring in the ammunition to Delhi by using his contacts.

He allegedly kept in touch with Shaukat Hussain Guru, Shaukat's wife Afzan Guru and SAR Geelani.

The prosecution also argued that through some of the phone numbers obtained after the arrest of Guru, they found his connection to Geelani. Geelani, claimed the prosecution, led the police to the other accused.

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Afzal Guru waits for his fate, Azhar plots next attack

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But those arguing for a lenient sentence point out that the Supreme Court, while convicting him, had clearly mentioned that it had only circumstantial evidence against Guru and he was neither the mastermind nor the executor of the attack.

According to some reports, Guru had joined the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front but he was unhappy in that outfit. It is further contended that he had accompanied accused Mohammad, who had purchased a car which was used during the attack. Guru's supporters claim that he didn't know the real motive.

On the other hand, political leaders are wary about hanging Guru because of the extreme repercussions in Kashmir. Leaders from all sides of the political spectrum want a resolution for the Kashmir issue and they don't want to risk disrupting the fragile peace there.

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Afzal Guru waits for his fate, Azhar plots next attack

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We should not forget those accused who are absconding in the case.

According to the chargesheet, the main accused is Maulana Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Mohammad and his accomplices Ghazi Baba and Tariq Ahmed.

Ghazi Baba, according to security forces, was killed in a gun battle a couple of years ago.

Indian authorities may claim that they have completed their probe in this case successfully, but the main accused Azhar has evaded arrest so far.

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Afzal Guru waits for his fate, Azhar plots next attack

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His release in the hostage swap -- during the Kandahar hijacking crisis -- proved to be a costly affair for India. Azhar formed the JeM and struck back with the Parliament attack.

Though most of Azhar's activities are concentrated in Kashmir, he wants to target other Indian cities like Ayodhya, Amritsar and New Delhi.

According to Intelligence sources, Azhar has been toying with the idea of joining the battle in Afghanistan, but his handlers in the Inter Services Intelligence have ensured that he focuses only on Kashmir.

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