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Afzal Guru hanged at 8 am, says Home Secretary

Feb 09, 2013 08:32 AM IST India India

New Delhi: Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru has been hanged. The Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist was hanged at 8 am on Saturday, Home Secretary RK Singh said. A recommendation to hang him had been sent to the President on January 21. The President gave it his assent on February 3. Announcing the details, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that the final decision to hang Afzal Guru was taken on February 8 and he was executed on February 9 at 8 am.

Home Secretary RK Singh said, "Once the President rejected the mercy petition, the procedure was followed. This is according to the rule of law." He added that Afzal Guru will be buried inside Tihar jail with full religious rites.

A tight curfew is in place in several areas in Jammu and Kashmir, including capital Srinagar. In Sopore, the hometown of Afzal Guru, a thick security blanket is in place. Delhi and Mumbai have been put on high alert. The Maharashtra government has beefed up security at vital installations.

Afzal was awarded death sentence by a Delhi court on December 18, 2002 after being convicted of conspiracy to attack Parliament on December 13, 2001. The death sentence was upheld by Delhi High Court on October 29, 2003 and finally his appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court two years later on August 4, 2005.

Nine security personnel, including five policemen, were killed when suspected Pakistan-backed terrorists had attacked Parliament.

Afzal Guru's execution had been initially scheduled on October 20, 2006. The execution was stayed after his wife filed a mercy petition with the President.

Even as Guru remained on death row, some political parties and human rights activists claimed that he had not received a fair trial and pleaded that his sentence be commuted. The BJP, on the other hand, demanded that he be hanged at the earliest.

The demand intensified after the 26/ 11 terror attack. The BJP accused the government of dragging the matter because it feared losing Muslim votes.

The MHA sent his mercy plea recommendation in August, 2011. On December 10, 2012, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that he would examine Afzal Guru's file after Parliament's winter session concluded on December 22.