Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said his ministry had recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee on January 21 that Guru be executed. The President, he said, rejected the convict's mercy petition on February 3, and the date and time for hanging Guru was decided yesterday in consultation with officials at Tihar Jail. (Read: Afzal Guru's family seeks permission to perform last rites)
Guru belonged to Sopore in the Kashmir valley, where curfew has been imposed as a precaution. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah appealed for calm and restraint. 36 people including 23 policemen were injured in protests, said police
spokesman Manoj Sheeri, with most of the violence in Guru's home
district. (Omar Abdullah appeals for peace; curfew in Kashmir Valley)
Guru was sentenced to death in 2004 by the Supreme Court for conspiring in the attack on Parliament in which 14 people were killed, five of them terrorists who drove into the high-security complex and opened fire.
His execution was fixed for October 2006 but was stayed or suspended after his wife filed a mercy petition with the President. A section of activists allege that he was not given a proper trial, an opinion which is popular in the Kashmir Valley. (Chronology of case)
Home Secretary RK Singh refuted allegations that Guru's family had not been informed of the plan to execute him; he said a letter had been sent to the family and senior police officials in Kashmir had confirmed its receipt. (Reactions to Afzal Guru's execution)
The main opposition party, the BJP, had repeatedly attacked the government for refusing to hang Guru despite his conviction by the Supreme Court. The execution will bolster the government's claim that it is committed to fighting and punishing terrorism.