A controversy erupted today over the purported communication from the Centre to the family of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru about the decision to hang him on Saturday with the family alleging they had come to know about his hanging from TV channels and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah joining the criticism.
Though Union Home Secretary R K Singh had yesterday said tersely that the family of Guru, a resident of Sopore in North Kashmir, was sent a communication through speedpost, the family claimed having not received any such communication raising questions as to whether there was a serious effort to inform the family.
"Guru's family was informed about the decision of the Government that his mercy petition has been rejected. This was done through speedpost," Singh had said. The 43-year-old death row convict was hanged at 8 AM and buried in Tihar jail yesterday in a secret operation.
Omar also questioned the rationale of informing Guru's family through post saying the reliability of the medium itself was questionable.
"If we are going to inform someone by post that his family member is going to be hanged, there is something seriously wrong with the system," he said.
The Chief Minister expressed concern about his government having been informed about the execution just 12 hours in advance and said he was hurt that the family of Guru had not been informed in due time.
Omar said it was a 'tragedy' that Guru was not allowed to meet his family before he was hanged and not allowed a 'final farewell' Omar said his government could have arranged a state government plane to take Guru's family to Delhi for meeting the death row convict before his hanging.
On Guru's family not allowed to meet him, Omar said, "I cannot reconcile myself to the fact that his (Afzal) family was not allowed to see him before he was killed or executed. That to my mind, on a human level, is the biggest tragedy of this execution."
Director(Prisons) Vimla Mehra told PTI that the Union Home Ministry informed the Tihar jail authorities about the rejection of Guru's clemency plea on February 4 and asked them to make preparations for hanging.
Following the communication, Tihar authorities coordinated with Home Ministry officials following which a decision was taken to get a black warrant issued for the hanging, Mehra said.
Tihar jail received copy of the black warrant late in the evening of February 6 and