Srinagar: An angry Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday said that the UPA government will have to prove to Kashmiris and to the wider world that the execution of Afzal Guru was not a "selective one". Speaking to CNN-IBN a day after the Parliament attack convict was hanged inside Tihar jail almost 11 years after the dastardly attack, Omar said, "I had a premonition that Afzal Guru's execution would follow Ajmal Kasab's execution.
"I had a sense that Afzal Guru would be executed sooner rather than later. Generations of Kashmiris will identify with Afzal Guru. You will have to prove to the world that the death penalty is not used selectively. The onus rests on the judiciary and the political leadership to show that this wasn't a selective execution."
Lashing out at the Opposition, Omar questioned the silence maintained by the BJP on the death sentence given to killers of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh. "Why don't we see the BJP clamouring for execution of Beant Singh's killers or Rajiv Gandhi's killers? If that (Afzal Guru's execution) was to be the last execution on people who attacked Indian democracy, I would call it a political decision," he added.
Omar further said that Afzal's hanging "didn't come as a complete surprise to us", adding, "We would have preferred if he wasn't hanged."
The J&K CM also expressed concerns about his government having been informed about the execution just 12 hours in advance and said he was hurt that the family of Afzal Guru had not been informed in due time. "I wish we were the ones authorised to give the news to the family. I will talk to the government about the issue of bringing Afzal Guru's remains here to the Valley," he said. Questioning the need to inform Afzal's family through Speed Post, the young CM said, "There is something wrong in the system if we are sending information through Speed Post in this era. We could have easily got the family to meet him in Delhi and kept it a secret."
Omar further warned that Afzal's execution will breed alienation amongst Kashmiris. "A lot of what happens in the Valley simmers under the surface. There are a few things I need to discuss with the government over the larger implications," he said.
Speaking on the security situation in the state, Omar said that the curfew will remain in place for the next two days. "The situation is tense but calm. The curfew will remain in place for the next two days or so. Things could have been a lot worse." He added that decision to shut down cable TV after Afzal Guru's hanging was taken by the forces on the ground.
The CM further accused social media and the Internet of "fanning the flames with irresponsible statements" after Afzal Guru's hanging.