It is palpable now that the mercy petition for Afzal Guru, who has been already convicted and awarded death sentence for his role in the case of Parliament attack, is lying in dust in the Home Ministry, as P Chidambaram disclosed that the petition has not yet been forwarded to President Pratibha Patil. It is surprising that the Minister claimed in the House that there is no delay on the part of the Ministry. If the Ministry is not procrastinating, who can be held responsible for expediting it? The President would take any decision when the petition reaches her. Earlier, the Delhi government delayed it now the Home Ministry is doing it. It seems that there is a deliberate bid to save Afzal Guru. It is awful that the political brinkmanship is willingly played on the execution of Afzal, while on the other side the government says that there should be no deadline in this issue. However, the Supreme Court categorically explained that there should not be any delay in this process. One should not get political mileage on such a grievous issue. If the Central government shies away from punishing Afzal Guru, a message will go that the government is not able to take on terrorism. The lax attitude of the Centre on the Afzal’s execution drives home the point that the government’s stand on tackling terrorism is weak, which is beating the country’s image on the international arena. The lackadaisical approach of the country to handle terror is emboldening the perpetrators, which could have wider ramification.

Earlier, it was floated that if Afzal is hanged he will get status of martyr among the terrorists. Now, a new theory has been dropped that there should be no timeframe in this matter. The Orissa government recently buckled before the Naxalists, which are a major threat to the internal security of the nation, but the Central dispensation seems to be indifferent. This will spur Red terror to materialize their sinister design, the influence of which spreads across the country. Going by situation, it seems the execution of Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist caught alive during the Mumbai terror attack, could also hangfire. There is no sense of eulogizing the judicial system for delaying the punishment of Kasab. It is a great irony no one seems keen to execute Kasab as soon as possible.