The swift hanging of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab on Wednesday has shifted the focus to other prominent convicts on death row.
Political circles are now rallying for the quick execution of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru whose final punishment has remained pending for the past six years following a string of case reviews and lack of tangible action from the government.
Guru is presently lodged in Delhi's Tihar jail. In 2004, the Supreme Court gave Guru the death penalty for carrying out the Parliament terror attack on Dec 13, 2001, with other terrorists belonging to the Lashker-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. His sentencing was to be carried out in Oct 2006, but was stayed after his wife filed a mercy petition.
Guru pleaded for clemency in 2011. His petition with the President Pranab Mukherjee is still pending. After Kasab's death, several politicians are questioning the government's stand on Guru's sentencing.
BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said that the whole country wanted Kasab's execution. "But why not Afzal Guru who attacked Parliament is being hanged," asked Javadekar. The government has been saying that Afzal Guru is in the queue and a decision on his fate would be taken soon.
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said to IANS, "The Supreme Court has rejected his (Afzal Guru's) plea, and his review petition has also been rejected. But why has the government not taken any action? I hope the government will now expedite the whole process of mercy petition."
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi also expressed similar views and tweeted, "What about Afzal Guru, who attacked parliament, our temple of democracy, in 2001? That offence predates Kasab's heinous act by many years."
With the growing demand of Guru's quick execution, the government has reportedly stepped up his sentencing procedure, IBN Live cited government sources as saying.
Among other convicts, Balwant Singh Rajaona, the assassin of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, also has his sentencing delayed. In Rajaona's case, several political parties, including Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and the BJP-partnered Punjab government, are voicing their support against his execution.