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Feb 09, 2013 at 12:18pm IST

President rejected Afzal Guru's mercy plea six days before his hanging: Shinde

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the mercy petition of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on February 3, leading to his hanging on Saturday, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said. "The President rejected Afzal Guru's mercy petition on February 3 and after that, I signed it on February 4," he told reporters. Shinde added that the final decision to hang Afzal Guru was taken on February 8.

"Afzal Guru was hanged at 8 am inside Tihar jail," said Shinde and signed off.

Asked about Afzal's burial, Home Secretary RK Singh said, "We will follow the jail manual and act according to the law." Singh said with the hanging of Afzal Guru, the proceedings of the 2001 Parliament attack case has come to its logical conclusion.

"Law and justice took its own course," he said.

A tight curfew is in place in several areas in Jammu and Kashmir, including capital Srinagar. In Sopore, the hometown of Afzal Guru, a thick security blanket is in place. Delhi and Mumbai have been put on high alert. The Maharashtra government has beefed up security at vital installations.

Afzal was awarded death sentence by a Delhi court on December 18, 2002 after being convicted of conspiracy to attack Parliament on December 13, 2001. The death sentence was upheld by Delhi High Court on October 29, 2003 and finally his appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court two years later on August 4, 2005.

Nine security personnel, including five policemen, were killed when suspected Pakistan-backed terrorists had attacked Parliament.

Afzal Guru's execution had been initially scheduled on October 20, 2006. The execution was stayed after his wife filed a mercy petition with the President.

Even as Guru remained on death row, some political parties and human rights activists claimed that he had not received a fair trial and pleaded that his sentence be commuted. The BJP, on the other hand, demanded that he be hanged at the earliest.

The demand intensified after the 26/ 11 terror attack. The BJP accused the government of dragging the matter because it feared losing Muslim votes.

The MHA sent his mercy plea recommendation in August, 2011. On December 10, 2012, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that he would examine Afzal Guru's file after Parliament's winter session concluded on December 22.

With additional information from PTI