The family of Afzal Guru, who was hanged and buried at the Tihar Jail this morning, has 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 the Tihar Jail Director General Vimla Mehra on behalf of his wife Tabassum, says the family learnt about the execution from national TV. "They were denied the basic human right of meeting Afzal," the lawyers said.
The letter says, "We are writing to you to please permit the family members to give Afzal Guru proper dignified last rites in accordance with the religious traditions...If you could inform us when the family members can perform the 'Namaaz-e-Janaza', we would appreciate it."
Namaaz-e-Janaza is the Islamic funeral prayer which is a part of the funeral ritual. The prayer is performed in congregation to seek pardon for the deceased and all dead Muslims.
Guru's family has also claimed in the letter, "We do not wish to make it a political issue in an atmosphere which is already volatile but the family members, as citizens of India, have a right, which must be respected."
The Union Home Secretary this morning refuted allegations that Guru's family had not been informed about the decision to execute him. He said word had been sent to them both by speed post and a registered letter.
Afzal Guru was convicted for his role in the attack on Parliament in 2001. On December 13, 2001, five terrorists had driven through a gate of Parliament House and opened fire, killing nine people. The five terrorists were shot dead. Afzal Guru was arrested the next day.
The Supreme Court sentenced Guru to death in 2004. He was to be hanged in October 2006, but his wife filed the mercy petition and the death sentence was stayed. Last week, President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the plea and Guru was hanged at 8 am today.