Afzal Guru's Hanging 'Wrong', Says Congress MP Shashi Tharoor

9 February 2015

New Delhi: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has said that the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru exactly two years ago was 'wrong and badly handled,' potentially embarrassing his own party, which was in power at the time. 'I think the hanging was both wrong and badly handled. Family should have been warned, given a last meeting & body returned,' Mr Tharoor, a Congress MP from Kerala, tweeted today. The comments follow revelations that five Congress lawmakers in Jammu and Kashmir admitted in a signed statement that Afzal Guru's hanging was a 'mistake.' The statement said: 'The demand for clemency for Guru was justified and his mortal remains should be returned to his family. The decision to not allow his family members to meet him one last time was also a mistake.' The admission was apparently made in exchange for a vote to secure a Rajya Sabha seat for senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. An independent lawmaker, Engineer Rashid, allegedly arm-twisted the Congress into signing off on the Afzal Guru statement for his vote. Mr Rashid read out the statement in the state assembly before voting for Mr Azad, and said, 'Let this message go to people that the Congress, which hanged Afzal, is admitting today that they have committed injustice.' Guru was held guilty of plotting the 2003 Parliament terror attack and was hanged at Delhi's Tihar Jail on February 9, 2013, and buried within the jail premises. The news came out only afterwards. Vikar Rasool, one of the five Congress legislators, said the 'party completely agreed' with the sentiments expressed in the statement. 'Afzal's hanging was a legal issue, but his body should have been returned (to his family) and that was a better way to handle it. We also support the resolution brought by Rashid Sahab in this regard,' said Mr Rasool.