After Soni Razdan’s ‘scapegoat’ tweet, Afzal Guru’s family demands return of mortal remains

Srinagar: Two days after Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt’s mother Soni Razdan said Afzal Guru was made “scapegoat”, family of the executed parliament attack convict demanded the return of his mortal remains and permission to visit his grave at Tihar Jail.

This followed the arrest of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Davender Singh. Guru had exposed Singh’s role in the entire parliament attack conspiracy, but that was largely ignored.

“We want the return of mortal remains of Afzal Guru and permission to visit his grave so that we can offer fathe (burial prayers). We also demand that his personal belongings should be handed over to us. I once went to Tihar but the officials asked for a formal application. Later they told me to approach union home ministry. I did not approach home ministry because it could have become a political issue”, said Aijaz Ahmad Guru, elder brother of Afzal Guru.

Family has broken their silence at a time when senior Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt’s mother Soni Razdan said Guru was made scapegoat (in the parliament attack) and demanded a probe into the incident.

“There needs to be a solid enquiry into why Afzal Guru was made the scapegoat. There should also be an enquiry as to how people like Afzal are tortured and forced to carry out terrorist activities for criminals and then get the death penalty”, tweeted Razdan.

Razdan’s tweets came weeks after Singh was arrested for his links with militants. Singh, who was posted in the anti-hijacking wing at Srinagar Airport, was arrested along with Hizbul Mujhadeen commander Naveed Babu and Altaf when they were travelling in a car from Shopian district of South Kashmir on January 11. Singh was trying to drive the Hizbul commanders out of the valley.

Singh, according to Guru, was the person who handed over Mohammad, one of the four slain attackers in parliament attack, to him. He was allegedly asked to arrange logistics for the parliament attackers in New Delhi.

Sources said it was Singh who tortured Guru before he was set free. Later in December 2001, he was called by Singh and asked to ferry Mohammad to Delhi and put him in a safe house besides arrange a vehicle for him.

Guru was hanged and buried in Tihar Jail on February 9, 2013, after the then President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy petition. Guru, along with deceased SAR Geelani, Showkat Guru and his wife Afshan Guru were charged with planning the attack on the parliament on December 13, 2001.

Supreme Court later upheld the death sentence of Afzal Guru but acquitted SAR Geelani and Afshan. Showkat, hailing from Sopore, who was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment, was released after completing his jail term in 2011. After the apex court verdict, Guru’s wife Tabasum and son Ghalib Guru met late president APJ Abdul Kalam and sought pardon for the parliament attack convict.

“People have played politics in Afzal Guru’s name. Be it the then Congress-led government at Centre or Pakistan or leaders in Kashmir. Neither Afzal Guru nor his family has got justice. We feel he did not get the fair trial”, said Aijaz.

Family said there are hundreds of cases like Afzal Guru and all should be probed. “There are so many cases like Afzal Guru. Let government probe all that. There are people missing in custody. Their families are staging sit-in day in and day out”, he said.

Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

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