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Afzal Guru's hanging revives the debate and the politics over death penalty


Ashok Bagriya,CNN-IBN
Feb 10, 2013 at 08:42am IST

New Delhi: Mohammad Afzal Guru's execution has revived the debate over the delay in several other similar cases. While, the Congress has hit out at the Opposition for remaining silent over Khalistan terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana's death penalty, the BJP has raised questions on Rajiv Gandhi's assassins. Guru, the key conspirator in the 2001 Parliament attack case was hanged to death at 8 am on Saturday, six days after his mercy plea was rejected on February 3 by President Pranab Mukherjee.

The hanging appears to have reopened the debate surrounding Presidential delay and politics over mercy petitions of death row convicts. Prime case in point is that of Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted for killing Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995. Rajoana did not contest the verdict after the High Court confirmed his death sentence in 2010. But days before his execution in March 2012, he found support from the Akali government in Punjab and the SGPC which filed a mercy plea on his behalf.

ALSO SEE Afzal hanged 11 yrs after Parliament attack; Congress, BJP in war of words

Another sikh extremist Devender Pal Bhullar, who's on death row for killing nine persons in a 1993 car blast case, has also moved the Supreme Court seeking to commute his death penalty citing inordinate delay by the President in deciding on his clemency plea.

Another case is that of Murugan, Perarivalan and Santhan - convicted in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. The Tamil Nadu Assembly adopted a resolution moved by the AIADMK in 2011, calling for their sentences to be commuted keeping in view the sentiment of Tamils.

ALSO SEE Hanged and buried: Events which led to the execution of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru

While the Congress can claim to have brought to book the convicts in two terror attacks that shook the nation, the politics over death penalty it seems, is far from over.

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