Should Have Let Afzal Guru's Kin Meet Him: Congress

7 February 2015
DNA
Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Srinagar: The Congress on Saturday seemingly succumbed to the pressure of the architect of 'Save Afzal Guru' resolution and MLA Langate Sheikh Abdul Rasheed when its five sitting legislators gave a written undertaking admitting that not allowing his family to meet Guru was a mistake and the return of his mortal remains is a humanitarian issue in a bid to secure his vote to ensure the victory of Ghulam Nabi Azad in the Rajaya Sabha polls. What does Azad'z victory mean? Azad's victory came at the expense of BJP which had tied up with PDP but could manage only one seat and fell short of votes to secure second. PDP won all the two seats it had contested in the Rajaya Sabha polls held on Saturday. Sheikh Abdul Rasheed aka Engineer Rasheed, who heads Awami Ithaad Party (AIP) was the only weak link to the victory of Azad as he needed 29 votes to sail through in the 87 member House. Azad had the support of 28 MLAs including 15 from National Conference (NC), 12 Congress, one CPIM and one independent. What is Cong saying? Rasheed's vote was crucial in the fragmented house and therefore to placate him five sitting Congress MLAs-Vikar Rasool from Banihal, GM Saroori from Inderwal, Mohammad Amin Bhat from Devsar, Haji Abdul Rasheed from Sopore and Gulzar Ahmad Wani from Shangus constituencies -gave in writing that not allowing family of Guru to meet before his hanging was mistake and return of his mortal remains is a humanitarian issue. However the sentence about admitting 'the mistake' was curiously written by hand in the fine computer print statement. 'The group of legislators also said that his (Rasheed) demand about the return of the mortal remains of Afzal Guru is a humanitarian issue and his resolution in this regard could have been looked into from a humanitarian angle.The views of Engineer Rasheed regarding allowing the last meeting to the kith and kin of Afzal Guru are genuine and based on humanitarian values and that same was a mistake', said the statement signed by the five legislators. What is the significance? Elated by Congress' change of tack, Rasheed said he felt vindicated by the written undertaking given by the legislators and that is why he voted in favour of Azad on Saturday. 'My stand is vindicated. Kashmiri people have felt that somebody has spoken for them. For me it is an achievement', Rasheed told dna. Rasheed, who quit his job as government engineer to contest elections in 2008 as an independent candidate, hogged the limelight in September 2011 when he brought the controversial 'Save Afzal Guru' resolution in the J&K Legislative Assembly seeking amnesty to the parliament attack convict. The resolution was put off by the then speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone who adjourned the House without tabling it for discussions following the ruckus created by the Congress and the BJP members. His second resolution seeking the mortal remains of Afzal Guru was also rejected by the speaker Mubarak Gul citing rules of procedure and conduct of business. Parliament attack convict Mohommad Afzal Guru was executed and buried in Tihar jail New Delhi on Feburary 9 2013 when the Congress-led UPA was in power at centre. Separatists and Engineer Rasheed has been demanding the mortal remains of Guru to be handed over to his family for the last rites.