Sunday, June 23, 2024

Nation remembers December 13 victims amid cries of ‘hang Afzal’


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New Delhi: As the nation Tuesday paid homage to victims of the Dec 13 terror attack on the Parliament House 10 years ago, their families as well as politicians said justice was being delayed by not hanging Afzal Guru, the only surviving conspirator awarded a death penalty for the crime.

“When my mother died, I was very young and I hadn’t even known my mother that well. Afzal, the person who killed my mother, hasn’t been hanged yet, even though the Supreme Court has given the orders. I want him to be hanged as soon as possible,” said the daughter of Kamlesh Kumari, a woman constable with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), who perished in the attack.

Bipin Adana, 23, the son of late Delhi Police head constable Vijendra Singh who was killed in the attack, said: “Till the time Afzal Guru is hanged, there will be no honour for the martyrs of the parliament attack. Why has he not been brought to book?”

On Dec 13, 2001, five heavily armed gunmen stormed the Indian parliament complex and opened indiscriminate fire, killing nine people instantly.

The victims included five Delhi Police personnel, CRPF trooper Kamlesh Kumari, two parliament watch and ward staff and a gardener.

A photo journalist who was injured died later. All five terrorists were shot dead.

A year later, four accused, including Afzal Guru, were found guilty by Indian courts. Guru, who is said to be a Jaish-e-Mohammed militant, was the only accused to be awarded the death penalty. His mercy petition is pending with the president.

“For all the families who lost their dear ones, the main issue is Guru. Why is the traitor not being punished? This is really sad,” said Adana, who runs a petrol pump allotted to him as compensation by the government.

On Tuesday morning, the memory of that attack came alive at Parliament House.

Vice President Hamid Ansari led members of both houses in paying tribute to the martyrs on the 10th anniversary of the attack.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and other members attended a ceremony held in the parliament complex.

The leaders observed a minute’s silence in remembrance of the victims.

Rallying behind the families of martyrs, Swaraj told reporters: “This day reminds us that in order to prevent such attacks in future, not only should the country be more determined to stop these attacks, the guilty must be punished.”

Law Minister Salman Khurshid admitted the pace of implementation of law is slow in the country.

“We are not always happy with the pace with which the rule of law is implemented in our country and that is the reason why we have a mission for justice delivery,” he told reporters.

“We are sure that the matters are decided in court between three to five years. There should be nothing that goes beyond five years,” he added

A blood donation camp was organised in parliament complex by the Red Cross Society. (IANS)


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