Punish Parliament Attack Convict Afzal Guru: BJP

New Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday criticised the government for the delay in punishing Afzal Guru, sentenced to death for his role in the 2001 parliament terror attack, asking why the government was quiet on the issue.

"The country wants to know about those responsible for the parliament attack. The government should punish them," Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said at a memorial service for the nine people, including eight security personnel, who were killed in the Dec 13, 2001 attack.

"When the Supreme Court pronounced punishment to those guilty of parliament attack, and has also confirmed the punishment, why is the government silent," Swaraj asked.

"We are paying tributes to those killed in the attack while the guilty are yet to be punished. It just looks like a formality," she said, adding that the real tribute would be to hang Afzal Guru.

The Congress, however, hit back, saying that the BJP was against democratic institutions.

"The opposition wants the government to undermine the democratic institutions we want to protect. Everyone in this country wants those who act against the nation to be brought to book," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said.

"The opposition should realise the tribute is to those who saved our country so we should not criticize the ceremony at least," she added.

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

The victims included five Delhi Police personnel, a woman Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper, two parliament watch and ward staff and a gardener. A journalist who was injured died later. All five terrorists were shot dead.

A year later, four accused, including Afzal Guru, who were arrested for the attack, were found guilty after a trial.

Guru, who is said to be a Jaish-e-Mohammed militant, was the only accused to be awarded the death penalty. The sentence has been stayed as his mercy petition is pending.



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