Another Flashpoint in J&K Alliance? Now, PDP Lawmakers Demand Return of Afzal Guru's Remains

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Another Flashpoint in J&K Alliance? Now, PDP Lawmakers Demand Return of Afzal Guru's Remains

Afzal Guru was hanged on February 9, 2013. (Agence France-Presse File Photograph)

Srinagar, Jammu: 

A group of lawmakers from Jammu and Kashmir's People's Democratic Party, or PDP, has demanded that the mortal remains of executed Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru be handed over to his family.

The demand, made a day after the PDP-BJP government formation, is expected to create further controversy for the coalition, which is already fighting to contain the storm over Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's comment thanking Pakistan.
"We believe the resolution brought by Engineer Rashid to seek clemency for late Afzal Guru was justified," said the statement released by the PDP lawmakers. "PDP has always maintained that late Afzal Guru's hanging was travesty of justice... and demand for return of his mortal remains."

During the elections to Rajya Sabha last month, Parliament's upper house, Mr Rashid, an independent lawmaker, had arm-twisted the Congress Parliamentarians into admitting in assembly that the execution of Guru was a mistake. In return, he had voted for Ghulam Nabi Azad - enabling the Congress parliamentarian to keep his seat. (Read: Five Congressmen Admitted 'Mistake' in Afzal Guru's Hanging)

Today, Mr Rashid, who was present during the release of the statement, said, "I just wanted to prove PDP wrong the way they treated the Afzal Guru issue... If BJP has any respect for moral values then BJP should break the alliance because they were calling Afzal Guru the terrorist and I have proved that Afzal was a hero."

The erstwhile UPA government had ignored demands about the return of Guru's remains, which have been reportedly interred inside Delhi's Tihar Jail after his execution in 2013.

But now, as an ally of the BJP in the state, the PDP is likely to expect a positive response from the Narendra Modi government. In an interview to NDTV, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti also slammed the Congress for the execution of Guru.

National Conference chief Omar Abdullah took potshots at the PDP, tweeting, "Has Mufti decided the Modi-Mufti accord was a mistake? Are the father-daughter duo trying to force BJP to break off the alliance?"

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