News / Asia

    India Hangs Man Convicted in 2001 Parliament Attack

    A Kashmiri civilian walks past an Indian policeman standing near a barbed wire during curfew in Srinagar, India, February 9, 2013.
    A Kashmiri civilian walks past an Indian policeman standing near a barbed wire during curfew in Srinagar, India, February 9, 2013.
    Aru Pande
    Authorities have imposed a curfew in Indian-Kashmir, after a man convicted in the 2001 attack on India's parliament was executed in a New Delhi jail.
     
    Afzal Guru was hanged at 8 a.m. local time in the Tihar prison, after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his plea for clemency earlier this week.  
     
    Guru had denied involvement in the 2001 attack, during which five gunmen stormed parliament - shooting and killing nine people - mostly security forces.  The assailants were killed before they could enter lawmakers’ chambers.
     
    The Indian government blamed the attack on the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad and accused Guru of conspiring and sheltering the militants who attacked parliament.  He was convicted and sentenced to death in 2002.
     
    Following Saturday’s execution, clashes broke out in Guru’s native Kashmir despite a curfew imposed in the disputed Himalayan region. Indian-Kashmir’s Chief Minister Omar Abdullah appealed for calm.
     
    He says, "there are some who would like to exploit the hanging of Afzal Guru to try and incite violence." He hopes that Kashmiris will exercise restraint and not allow themselves to be influenced in such a way.
     
    In New Delhi, the ruling coalition led by the Congress Party rejected criticism from the main opposition-Bharatiya Janata Party who questioned the decision to carry out the death sentence after more than a decade.  
     
    “On internal security, the UPA government has never shied away from taking decisions which are tough, which are in [the] national interest, which further the cause of national security  and whenever we take decisions of national security, we do not keep electoral considerations in mind," said Manish Tewari, India’s information and broadcasting minister.

    Guru’s execution comes just three months after Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman convicted in the 2008 terrorist attack on the country’s financial hub, Mumbai, was hanged in the same New Delhi prison.  
     
    Prior to Kasab’s execution in November 2012, India had imposed an unofficial moratorium on executions for eight years.
     
    "This is the second hanging and it is really a distressing step back, Human Rights Watch believes that the death penalty should be abolished because it is an inhumane and irreversible process,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director for Human Rights Watch.
     
    Human Rights groups had alleged the 43-year-old Guru was not given immediate legal representation and thus denied a fair trial.
     
    In Kashmir, Muslim separatist leaders have called for a three-day shutdown to protest Saturday’s execution. The region is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both. Separatists have been fighting for independence from India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan.

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    Comments
         
    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    February 10, 2013 10:34 AM
    Even the execution of the Moslem terrorist who attacked the Indian parliament becomes a religious and political issue in India. Religion and politics are intertwined in the secular India, ever since the British partitioned India on religious lines. Everything is relegious in Indian democracy.

    by: nik from: US
    February 10, 2013 9:35 AM
    this is not justice it is murder. anyone who followed the case closely would know the charges were fabricated just like other cases that came to light where innocent men and women have been killed by indian government official after falsely being accused as terrorists.
    the parliament attack itself is in question. how can 5 people in an ambasidor car get through the security at the parliament yet when inside do no damage. And ofcourse all such fake attacks happened under BJP rule which thrives on such communal propaganda. BJP is endangering the very fabric of our nation.

    by: fantom100 from: USA
    February 09, 2013 7:19 PM
    Hopefully the unoficial moratorium is off when the gang rapist come to trial.

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