Govt's decision on Afzal Guru badly timed: Dilip Padgaonkar

New Delhi: The decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs to ask President Pratibha Patil to reject Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's mercy petition is badly timed, says Kashmir interlocutor Dilip Padgaonkar.

"Kashmir has been peaceful this summer and this could cause problems there," Mr Padgaonkar has said.

The Ministry had sent Guru's file to President's Secretariat for a decision last week.

"The mercy petition case of death convict Mohd. Afzal Guru has since been submitted to the President's Secretariat on July 27, 2011 for a decision," Minister of State for Home, Mullappally Ramachandran, informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

He was responding to a question on why the government is not taking steps with regard to expediting the pending mercy petition of death row convict Guru.

Asked whether there is any provision under the Constitution for deciding upon any "clemency petition" against capital punishment as per sequence of its submission, the Minister said, "There is no Constitutional provision. It was an administrative decision to ensure fair and urgent treatment of all cases".

Meanwhile, the Congress has come out in support of the MHA's decision. "I have made my position clear on this issue, about a year ago, and I support the MHA decision," party General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said.

Guru was convicted in the December 2001 Parliament attack case and was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in 2004. The sentence was scheduled to be carried out on October 20, 2006. However, Guru's execution was stayed following a mercy petition filed by his wife. He remains on death row.

(With PTI inputs)

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