Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday raised a question whether a resolution by Jammu and Kashmir assembly seeking mercy for the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on the lines of Tamil Nadu House would also generate a "muted" reaction, comments that came under sharp attack from BJP. BJP calls Omar's remarks unfortunate (Agencies)
"If J&K assembly had passed a resolution similar to the Tamil Nadu one for Afzal Guru would the reaction have been as muted? I think not," Omar punched on social networking site.
His controversial comments came a day after the Tamil Nadu assembly passed a unanimous resolution urging President Pratibha Patil to reconsider the mercy plea of three convicts
in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case who are facing death sentence.
"Omar's remarks are unfortunate. Had the Hurriyat leaders made such a comment, it would have been understandable. A responsible CM should not have made such comments," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said in Delhi.
His party colleague Balbir Punj dubbed Omar's remarks as "shocking, irresponsible and unfortunate".
Congress chose to distance itself. "What the CM comments on twitter is his business. Its really not for us to take cognisance of. These are sensitive issues which each state government sees and perceives on their own. We can only wait and watch.
"In a democracy, it's perfectly okay for people to voice their opinions collectively or individually. I don't think we should speculate," Renuka Chowdhary, Congress spokesperson said.
"The Congress party does not feel the need to comment on old issues, on issues like death sentence, execution of death sentence which, as we have repeatedly said, involve a constitutional process, a legal statutory porocess and then an administrative process," said Abhishek Singhvi, also Congress spokesperson.
"That process has gone on and is going on. There is no question of us commenting and there is also no question of us commenting upon the comments of another on that issue," he said.
The state government apprehends trouble if Guru is hanged. The home ministry has sent the file on Guru's mercy petition to President Pratibha Patil.
Legal expert and senior lawyer K T S Tulsi said religion has no play in crime and punishment.
"It has taken a political turn. That is unfortunate but the political controversy is completely irrelevant. If at all, the assassins get off the hook and their death sentence is commuted, it will be on the basis of the human rights jurisprudence of the Constitution of India," he said.
The September 9 hanging of Rjaiv Gandhi assassination case convicts Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, lodged in Vellore Jail, was stayed for eight weeks by the Madras High Court on Tuesday.
BJP on Wednesday termed as "unfortunate" Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's comments on Afzal Guru and maintained that a responsible leader like him should not speak the "language" of Hurriyat leaders.
Abdullah had tweeted that if J and K Assembly had passed a resolution against the death sentence given to Afzal Guru as was done by the Tamil Nadu Assembly for the killers of Rajiv
Gandhi, the reaction would not have been as muted as it is now.
Guru is on death row and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has recommended to President Pratibha Patil that the mercy petition filed on behalf of Guru, a Parliament attack convict, be rejected.
"This is a sensitive issue and Omar Abdullah's comments on it are unfortunate. Had a Hurriyat leader made such remarks it was understandable but a responsible chief minister should not have said so. At a time when the Supreme Court has already given the death sentence, raking up this debate is unfortunate," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
Another party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad insisted that any person who seeks to break India's sovereignty and integrity or kills a former Prime Minister and given a death sentence should be executed.
"BJP is clearly of the view that all those who have been given capital punishment after due process of law, including confirmation by the Supreme Court and whose clemency plea has been rejected by the President, then the capital punishment should be executed," he said. Prasad insisted there is a need to understand that capital punishment is given in the rarest of rare cases.
"All those who are involved in terrorist activities or in attacking the sovereignty and integrity of India or killing a former Prime Minister of India certainly fall in this category," he said.
He maintained that integrity and unity of the country is far bigger than a party or political divide and there is a need to understand this.
Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday raised a question whether a resolution by Jammu and Kashmir assembly seeking mercy for the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on the lines of Tamil Nadu House would also generate a "muted" reaction, comments that came under sharp attack from BJP.
BJP calls Omar's remarks unfortunate