New Delhi: Eleven years after the Parliament attack, the government is still mulling over the decision to execute convict Afzal Guru. Though, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has assured a decision on Afzal after the Winter Session of Parliament, there is a possibility of delay as the government needs to consult the Law Ministry before taking any stand.

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It is to be noted that 14 retired Judges of the Supreme Court had written a letter to the President Pranab Mukherjee urging him to consider the mercy petition of seven other convicts in the case. The President had forwarded the request to the Home Ministry for its consideration. The name of Afzal Guru does not feature in the demand of the Judges but the Home Ministry officials want to seek suggestions of the Law Ministry in regards to Afzal along with other convicts.

A senior official said that Sushilkumar Shinde is yet to give his consent on sending Afzal Guru’s file to the Law Ministry. It is contemplated that Afzal’s file will be forwarded to the Law Ministry after the Winter Session of the Parliament which may delay the decision on his execution.

The Supreme Court in 2005 had convicted Afzal Guru in the Parliament attack case and ordered his execution. But seven years have gone by and a decision on his mercy petition is still awaited.

Timeline of 2001 Parliament attack
  • December 13, 2001: Five armed Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists managed to sneak into Parliament and fired indiscriminately.
  • A gun battle broke out between the terrorists and the security personnel inside the premises of Parliament building in which all five attackers were killed. Nine other persons comprising security personnel, Parliament staff and a gardener were also killed and many others sustained injuries.
  • The gun battle was telecast live, hundreds of Parliamentarians including senior ministers like LK Advani (then Deputy Prime Minister) and was present inside the building when gun battle broke out. Perhaps Vice President Krishna Kant was also present inside the building.
  • The indecent badly affected the relationship between India and Pakistan and within a couple of weeks after the attack, the former withdrew its envoy from High Commission in Islamabad for the neighbouring country’s denial to act against the terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammed.
  • Trial and conviction in special court: A wide and intense inquiry began in this case and within one year of the incident, four people- Afzal Guru, a Delhi University professor SAR Geelani, Navjot aka Afsan and her husband Shaukat Hussain Guru were nabbed within three days of the incident for their alleged role in hatching conspiracy in tandem with the forces inimical to India operating from Pakistan. Their trial in a special court concluded by the end of 2002 after which the accused, excluding Afsan, were sentenced to death. Afsan was sentenced to five-year rigorous imprisonment for hiding the information about the attack.
  • The convicts appealed in the High Court which in October 2003 commuted the conviction of Prof. Geelani, later Geelani and Afsan were acquitted in the case.
  • Shaukat Hussain Guru’s death sentence was commuted into the years imprisonment and now he has been released.
  • Afzal’s death sentence was upheld by the Apex Court and his mercy plea is still lying before the President and a decision is yet to be taken on it.

JPN/Niloo Ranjan

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