NEW DELHI: Even as the Indian home ministry was considering the request of Afzal Guru’s family to visit his grave in Tihar Jail, one of his cousins has said they will come to Delhi only to take his body.
Afzal Guru, 43, was hanged in Tihar and buried inside the jail complex last week for his role in the December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament.
His family – wife Tabassum, 14-year-old son Ghalib and father – live near Sopore in Kashmir.
“They are mixing the two things, we don’t understand what they mean. We can pray even from here. We want the body to be handed back, nothing less than that,’’ Press Trust of India quoted Mohammad Yasin, Afzal’s cousin, as saying from Sopore.
Since the government has decided to give the belongings – books, a radio and writing material – of the hanged militant to his family, Yasin said, “We welcome handing over the belongings but it should not be mixed with the issue of handing over the body. They are different…. If they are so concerned, they should hand over the body.’’
He added, “We will go to Delhi on our own, if it comes to that. We do not want any largesse from the government. The only thing we want from them is to return Afzal’s body.’’
Afzal Guru was buried next to Kashmiri separatist Maqbool Bhat who was hanged in Tihar in 1984 for the killing of an Indian diplomat in Birmingham, Britain.
Pakistan-backed militancy broke out in Kashmir in 1989. In Srinagar’s `martyrs’ graveyard’, the separatists have kept a slot vacant for Bhat’s mortal remains. Now another grave has been left vacant for Afzal Guru, with an Urdu inscription on it.