President Pranab Mukherjee took the decision to reject the mercy petition of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on the 64th Republic Day, indicating symbolism behind the move.
Unlike the hanging of Pakistan national Ajmal Kasab, the 26/11 Mumbai carnage convict whose involvement in the killing of innocent Indian citizens was witnessed by the public, Guru’s conviction was in a behind-the-scene conspiracy to bring down the central edifice of parliamentary democracy in India and wipe out the entire political leadership. Hence, the decision rejecting his petition took longer. He had not shed blood but he was convicted for conspiring against the Democratic Republic of India, which was loaded with symbolism.
It was on December 13, 2011, when five terrorists rode into the Parliament building and opened indiscriminate fire killing nine people and injuring 15 more.
Then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee, fortunately was yet to arrive to attend that day’s sitting of the Winter session. But most the MPs and the political leaders were inside.
The heavy doors of Parliament building, that is never shut while a session is on, had to be closed for their safety.
In the aftermath of the attack, the doors bore bullet marks. However, given the sensitivity of the case, Guru’s death sentence was pending since October 3, 2006. That was the date when his wife Tabasum Guru had filed a mercy petition before President A P J Adbul Kalam.
After President Pranab Mukherjee gave his stamp of approval, Home Minister Shinde signed the recommendation on January 4 and the date of Guru’s executive was decided on February 8. Early on Friday, the final order was carried out in utmost secrecy.