Family can visit Afzal’s grave: Centre
‘It Will Be One-Off Visit For Wife, Son And Some Close Relatives’
New Delhi, Feb 12: The Union Home Ministry has decided to allow the family of Afzal Guru to visit his grave for prayers in the Tihar jail premises where he was buried after being executed.
The move comes a day after Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde hinted at the possibility of allowing Guru’s family members to visit his grave.
Confirming this here on Tuesday, Home Secretary RK Singh said that the belongings of the deceased would also be handed over to them. “We have no problem if immediate family of Afzal Guru wants to come and offer prayers at his grave in Tihar jail,” he told reporters. He was responding to a question on allowing Guru’s family to offer prayers at his grave.
The Tihar jail authorities will soon take a formal decision on the possible date for Guru’s family to visit the grave. “Belongings of Afzal will be returned to the family,” Singh further said.
Though the Singh refrained from giving any time-frame for such visit, the Ministry officials said it would happen soon and the government would facilitate the visit of the family members of Guru to Tihar Jail complex.
They also said that this would, however, be a one-off visit for Guru’s wife Tabassum, son Galib and a couple of other close family members, keeping in mind their desire to offer “Fateah” (prayer at the grave). The government’s move seems to have been prompted by public criticism and adverse comment about Guru’s close family members not being able to meet him and the delay in the official dispatch stating the rejection of his mercy petition reaching the family.
Union Home Minister had on Monday said the visit of Guru’s family members to his grave “can be considered”. Officials had later said the matter was discussed in detail with Tihar Jail authorities including director general (prison) Vimla Mehra.
He made these remarks on the issue after Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah expressed anguish over the Centre’s decision not to allow Guru’s family members to meet him ahead of his hanging.
Meanwhile, besides jail authorities in the Capital, top J&K police and civil authorities have also been sounded about the move which the government will try and keep a low key affair.
Guru’s family members had on Saturday requested that they be allowed to perform his last rites in accordance with religious traditions. The letter, written by Guru’s lawyer ND Pancholi to Mehra on behalf of Tabassum, said the family learnt about the execution from national TV.
NOT ALLOWING FAMILY TO MEET GURU WRONG: DIGVIJAY
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has said it was unfair if Afzal Guru was denied an opportunity to meet his family members before he was hanged. “According to procedures, the convict’s last wish has to be granted. If it has not been done, it is unfair,” Singh said.
Although the Congress general secretary said the issue should not be politicized, his assertions on the issue are certain to be discomforting for the government as the same complaint was amplified on Sunday by Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah and the chief opposition party PDP.
The letter from the government informing Afzal’s family about the rejection of the mercy petition and the plans for execution reached his home only on Monday morning.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 12 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 12 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 13 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST
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