In what could be the major setback to both unionists and separatists of Jammu and Kashmir, the Government of India (GoI) Monday ruled out handing over the mortal remains of Parliament attack convict Muhammad Afzal Guru to his family in Kashmir.
Union Home Minister Sushil kumar Shinde conveyed the decision in New Delhi and said that “the body has been buried according the jail manual and there was no way it could be handed over”.
After hanging of Afzal on February 09 in Delhi Tihar jail, people cutting across the party lines were demanding body for proper burial as per the aspirations of people in general and family in particular. The list of advocates even included, chief Minister of state, Omar Abdullah.
Omar had, in his letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month, demanded the return of the body of Afzal as well as that of Maqbool Bhat who was hanged in 1984, so did patron of state’s principal opposition, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.
While rejecting the demand of returning the body, Shinde told reporters that Guru’ family can come and pay respects at his grave in Delhi.
Afzal’s family was even denied the last meeting before hanging and were informed through a speed post communication which was delivered to them two days after the execution.
Pertinently, in martyrs graveyard in Eidgah, a day after Afzal’s execution a grave was dug up, adjacent to empty grave of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat, another Kashmiri who was hanged in Tihar.
With Shinde’s announcement the grave has to remain empty, same as that of Maqbool’s.