Afzal farce in Delhi

Gadkari not sorry about ‘son-in-law’ remark on Afzal Guru
Press Trust of India, Updated: July 09, 2010 13:04 IST

Dehra Dun/New Delhi: Taunting the Congress over the delay in hanging Afzal Guru, BJP President Nitin Gadkari asked the party whether the Parliament attack death row convict was its “son-in-law”.

In comments that could stoke a controversy, Gadkari thundered at a BJP rally in Dehra Dun last night asking Congress leaders “Is Afzal Guru the son-in-law of Congress? Have you (Congress) given your daughter to him (Afzal). Why is he being given special treatment?”

Congress reacted with disdain to Gadkari’s remarks saying he has lost his mind and scoffed at the BJP chief.

When asked by reporters today whether he would apologise for his controversial remarks, Gadkari said he stuck to his stand.

“I have said nothing wrong. I stick to my stand and so there is no need (to apologise),” Gadkari told reporters in Dehra Dun.

In this regard, Gadkari said Congress government of Delhi was sitting on the file related to execution of hanging of Afzal Guru for four years and when asked Chief Minister Sheila Dixit said it was done on the instructions from the then Union Home Minister.

Now the decision is pending with the President, he said.

“I have not made a wrong statement. They (Congress) should rather give the reply as to why they are not executing the orders of the Supreme Court,” he said.

Gadkari made a reference to the Afzal Guru issue while slamming the Congress and the UPA for the delay in the hanging of the death row convict, bringing the focus back on the Afzal case file.

Congress said Gadkari has lost his mind and sarcastically said he needed serious help.

“The remark smacks of obscenity, obnoxiousness and obtuseness,” Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari said in New Delhi

Tiwari further said, “it is very obvious that the esteemed president of the BJP has lost it completely. The BJP should take pity on him and deposit him into a psychiatric facility. The man needs serious help.”

Targeting Congress, Gadkari had said, “It (Congress) is a party full of fearful people. They can never fight with terrorists and can never get rid of terrorism. It is a party which will bow down in front of terrorists and can never protect India.”

The Supreme Court upheld Afzal’s death penalty in 2005. Since then, the Opposition has attacked the Congress for delaying his hanging, saying if Afzal is not hanged India will be seen as a soft state. Afzal is on death row for over eight years after he was convicted of masterminding the December 13, 2001 attack on Parliament.

Four years after its opinion was sought, the Sheila Dikshit government in Delhi finally gave its opinion to Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna recently saying that it supports the Supreme Court’s decision to give death sentence to Afzal Guru, but added a rider saying that the implications of the execution must be taken into consideration.

Within hours of this, Khanna returned the file asking the Delhi government’s stand on Afzal’s mercy petition. The Delhi government sent back Afzal’s file saying that it stood by the Supreme Court verdict.

Story first published:
July 09, 2010 12:59 IST

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