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'Why is Afzal Guru still in jail? He should be hanged'

Last updated on: December 14, 2011 13:29 IST

'Why is Afzal Guru still in jail? He should be hanged'

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Priyanka

Besides the numbing grief of losing a loved one and disappointment with an indifferent government, families of the martyrs of the terror attack on Parliament unwittingly share another sentiment. They all want Afzal Guru to hang, reports Priyanka

Every year, on December 13, his son is remembered for "a few moments", says Sardar Singh, the distraught, aging father of one of the martyrs of the Parliament attack on December 13, 2001.

"Nobody really bothers about our problems," he adds bitterly.

His son Om Prakash was a head constable with the Delhi police and part of the security team for then vice president Krishna Kant. Om Prakash died fighting in one of the most daring terrorist attacks in India.

Ten years on, Singh musters all his strength to say, "We have been very patient but now I have no expectations from anybody. All I want is that the person responsible for the death of my son should be hanged."

When five militants with AK-47 rifles had tried to barge into Parliament premises through gate no. 11 of the main building, they were greeted with a valiant gun-fight by security personnel.

By the time the gun-battle ended, all five militants and five Delhi police personnel, one Central Reserve Police Force constable, two Rajya Sabha security staffers and a gardener had been killed.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pays homage to the victims of the December 2001 parliament attack on its 10th anniversary in New Delhi
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters

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'We don't want the Ashok Chakra'

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On the tenth anniversary of the terror attack on Tuesday, the families of the martyrs unanimously refused to participate at the Parliament event to honour those who had laid down their lives while guarding our lawmakers.

These families seemingly share a common sentiment -- disappointment. It is becoming very hard for them to understand why Afzal Guru, the man found guilty by the Supreme Court for the attack on Parliament, has still not been hanged.

Ten years ago, on December 13, Kamlesh Kumari was keeping watch at her post at gate no.1 when she saw terrorists running towards gate no. 11 of the Parliament. Kamlesh, a Central Reserve Police Force constable with the 88 Ladies Battalion, immediately informed the duty officer via a wireless set.

Then, she came out of her police post and raised an alarm.  Before the security guard could gun down the terrorist, Kamlesh had been fatally hit.

She was later awarded the Ashok Chakra posthumously. But her family members returned the medal to the government four years ago.

"We don't want the Ashok Chakra. We had returned it four years ago and asked the government to keep it in a museum or wherever they wished to. Our only demand now is that the person who has been proven guilty should be given the punishment he deserves," he says.

"Afzal Guru should be hanged," he added.

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Image: Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi pays homage to the victims of the December 2001 Parliament attack
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters

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'Hasn't the Supreme Court confirmed Guru's death sentence?'

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Former Congress youth leader and founder of Anti-Terrorist Front M S Bitta submitted a memo on behalf of the families of the martyrs on the tenth anniversary of the attack on Tuesday, seeking the execution of Afzal Guru. But Bitta is not very hopeful about the government agreeing to their demand.

"I have been on this case for ten years now. This issue has been politicised to such an extent that I don't see any justice being done to the families of the martyrs in the near future," he said.

Prem Devi, the widow of Jagdish Prasad Yadav, is worried about the education of her two school-going children. Life has been difficult after her husband, a watch-and-ward staffer at Parliament, died during the attack.

"I am worried about my children's education. There is no one to support me now," she says.

Besides the numbing grief of losing a loved one and the disappointment with a government that has not bothered enough, these families unwittingly share something else. They all want Afzal Guru to hang.

"Hasn't the Supreme Court confirmed Afzal Guru's death sentence? Why is he still in jail," asks Jayavati, wife of late Bijendra Singh.

Her husband, who was killed during the Parliament attack, was a head constable with the Delhi police.  After marrying off four of her children since her husband passed away, she has now retired to their ancestral home.

Jayavati asks the same lingering question for which no one seems to have an answer, "Why hasn't Afzal Guru been hanged?"

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Image: Afzal Guru
Photographs: Reuters

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