Mumbai: Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Tuesday told NDTV that the controversial hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru could have been handled better. Guru was executed secretly in February last year; his family received a letter informing it of the government's plans two days after he was hanged and buried at Tihar Jail in Delhi.
"As far as Afzal Guru's case is concerned, I had already instructed and given the file four days before. And that was the job of the Secretaries (to inform his family). But something went wrong somewhere and they didn't inform a day before but informed in the night that the following day was his execution. In such cases I am of the view that the family must be informed properly as per jail rules," Mr Shinde said.
Guru, who belonged to Kashmir, had been convicted of helping the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament in which 13 people were killed. He had said he was not guilty. Guru's wife had filed a petition in 2006 asking for his death sentence to be commuted, which was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee days before he was hanged.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had reportedly questioned Mr Shinde about why Guru's family was not informed in advance about the execution. The Prime Minister reportedly spoke to Mr Shinde and asked why the required process was not followed. He also asked why the Home Ministry relied on a letter to contact his relatives.
Guru's secret execution and burial had triggered large scale protests in his home state, and drew sharp criticism from international human rights groups.