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Clemency for Afzal against national interest: BJP
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October 05, 2006 14:24 IST

Opposing the clemency sought for Afzal in the Parliament attack, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday demanded that the death sentence awarded to Mohammad Afzal Guru be carried out as per the Supreme Court verdict.

"The Union Home Ministry should complete the formalities without any delay to enable Afzal's execution on October 20 and the attempts by some activists and groups to seek President's pardon is against the national interest," BJP Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters in Hyderabad.

"While Afzal himself pleaded guilty and did not ask for clemency, some pseudo-secularists and Left-backed groups were pleading for commutation of his death sentence, which is anti-national," he said.

Family members of Afzal are scheduled to meet President A P J Abdul Kalam later in the day, while a delegation, including former Jammu and Kashmir [Images] Liberation Front leader Yassin Malik, Sajjad Lone of People's Conference, social and human rights activists Nirmala Deshpande and Arundhati Roy held protests on Wednesday in Delhi [Images] to save Afzal from gallows.

"These people were nowhere when there were attacks on Ayodhya, Varanasi and Akshardham but are trying to save the life of a convict who is a hardcore terrorrist," he said, adding that the United Progressive Alliance government should bring in stringent laws to punish terrorists and re-enact POTA in some form or the other to strengthen national security.

He also objected to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Gulam Nabi Azad's remark that he was echoing the mood of the people of the Valley, who wanted clemency for Afzal.

Alleging that the soft approach of UPA towards extremism was responsible for the growth of ISI-sponsored terrorism in the country, Naidu stressed upon the need for stringent measures and legislations to check the menace. Accusing the Centre of lack of political will to tackle Pak-sponsored terrorism, Naidu said, "There is no point in continuing with the Indo-Pak talks when there was no assurance from the neighbour on cooperation on the issue."

"Whether it is attack on Parliament, Mumbai blasts or the attack on Akshardham temple [Images] -- majority of the attackers were from Pakistan and there is no point in still trying to have a dialogue with the neighbouring country," he added.

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