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Afzal case: 'Don't drag PM's name into controversy'
Onkar Singh in New Delhi
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October 04, 2006 09:40 IST

Bhim Singh, president of Jammu and Kashmir [Images] National Panther's Party and who is coalition partner in the Jammu and Kashmir government headed by Gulam Nabi Azad, hit out at Chief Minister Azad for dragging the name of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] in the Mohammed Afzal clemency controversy.

Afzal has been awarded death sentence for his role in the Parliament attack by Pakistani terrorists on December 13, 2001.

Azad had appealed to the government to commute the punishment keeping in mind the sentiments of the people of Kashmir.

There were violent protests in the Valley after the trial court fixed October 20, 2006, for carrying out the death sentence.

Others who have sided with Azad include former chief ministers Dr Farooq Abdullah and Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.

"The final authority is the President of India and not the prime minister whose name need not be dragged in for political convenience. Those who are shedding crocodile tears today and appealing to the prime minister for mercy owe an explanation to the entire nation as to why they didn't provide able legal defence counsels to the said person during his trial before the Special Court in Delhi. Some of them remained in power in J&K and some of appellants were in power in Delhi. They had every opportunity to provide the best of legal assistance to the accused persons," Bhim Singh told

Bhim Singh advised political parties and leaders not to colour a pure and simple legal issue with their jaundiced eyes looking for their electoral gains and vote banks at the cost of an ordinary human being.

"Slogan-mongering and political exploitation of innocent Kashmiris for their political rehabilitation in the name of someone is neither moral nor in the interest of the one they claim to help," Bhim Singh added.

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