Afzal Guru case: Delhi Lt Governor to send recommendations to Home Ministry

      Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna on Monday said that he would soon send his recommendations to the Home Ministry on the mercy petition of Afzal Guru, an accused in the 2001 Parliament attack case. "I am studying his file and will very soon send my recommendation to the Home Ministry," said Khanna on the sidelines of a swearing-in ceremony of Dipak Misra, the new Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court. On May 19, Khanna was given the file on Guru's mercy petition for a second time by the Delhi Government, which had clarified some of its remarks that concerned the implications of law and order with regard to his execution. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had on Friday said President Pratibha Devisingh Patil would take a decision on Guru's mercy petition. Dikshit said the file had been sent to both the Home Ministry and the office of the Lieutenant Governor and their replies were awaited. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government has faced criticism from almost all fronts for its 'lackadaisical' attitude in the Afzal Guru case. The Bharatiya Janata Party has protested against the delay by the Delhi Government in giving its opinion on the mercy petition moved by Afzal Guru, to show that this case was one of terrorism alone and had nothing to do with any community in particular. Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly V.K. Malhotra had criticised the Delhi Government for delaying the hanging of Afzal Guru due to votebank politics. Despite dithering by the government on the question of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's hanging, Congress has made it clear that it favoured such a step at an early date. Guru was awarded the death sentence by a Delhi court on December 18, 2002 after being convicted of conspiracy to attack Parliament on December 13, 2001, waging war against the country and murder. Delhi High Court upheld the death sentence on October 29, 2003 and his appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court two years later on August four, 2005. Following this, Afzal filed a mercy petition with the President, who forwarded it to Union Home Ministry for its comments. The Union Home Ministry had sent the file to Delhi Government's Home Department for its comments, as per the laid out procedure. The 2001 Indian Parliament attack, led to the death of a dozen people; five terrorists, six policemen and a civilian. It also caused increased tensions between India and Pakistan resulting in the 2001-2002 India-Pakistan standoff. On that day, a group of gun-and grenade-wielding terrorists who stormed the seemingly impregnable Parliament House premises, were stopped dead in their tracks by security men as the nation watched in disbelief.

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