“Supreme Court had given the decision. The case had gone against him (Afzal) in the apex court. Mercy petition was also rejected. The decision (to hang Afzal) was taken after all these developments. It was not a political decision,” Mr. Shinde said.

Asked what must have prompted Mr. Abdullah, who was the Chief Minister of the troubled state when the hanging took place, to make such remarks now, Mr. Shinde said, “He may be wanting to indulge in politics there in Kashmir. But at that time, he never brought such an aspect (about politics being behind the hanging) to our notice.”

“After the SC ruling and rejection of the mercy petition, people were expecting that Afzal will be hanged,” the senior Congress leader said. Mr. Abdullah has claimed that hanging of Afzal Guru had been carried out for “political reasons” by the UPA government which had informed him only hours before.

Mr. Abdullah said he was out for a dinner with his sister at a Delhi restaurant, when he received a call from Mr. Shinde, who was then the Home Minister, informing him that he had signed the papers for Guru to be hanged early next morning and asking him to make law and order arrangements.

Pointing out that the cases of assassins of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh had been handled differently, he said, “the fact is whether we like it or not he was hanged for political reasons. It’s a fact. I had said I will not pass judgement on it until I see how Government handles other cases... I have seen other cases. Look how they handled assassins of Beant Singh and Rajiv Gandhi and look how they jumped this guy up the queue.” Guru, who was at serial number 28 in the list of condemned prisoners, was hanged on February 9, 2013.

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