Lok Sabha disrupted over Afzal Guru hanging
New Delhi: Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena Thursday disrupted proceedings in the Lok Sabha as they noisily demanded the hanging of Afzal Guru, sentenced to death for the terror attack on parliament on this day 11 years ago.
The house observed a minute's silence to pay tribute to the nine people killed in the Dec 13, 2001 attack. The bedlam began soon after as members of BJP and Shiv Sena gathered near the speaker's podium shouting slogans demanding that Afzal Guru be hanged.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar's repeated requests to members to run the question hour fell on deaf ears.
"I will not adjourn the house today. We have just paid tributes to people who gave their lives protecting parliament. Did they give life for this," she asked sternly.
But this had little impact, and members of both parties continued with the sloganeering, forcing the speaker to first adjourn the house till 11.30 a.m. and later till noon.
Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shahsi Tharoor expressed sadness over repeated disruptions.
"Sad that we mourn those who gave their lives to defend this institution of parliament and then betray it daily by disrupting its functioning," he said on Twitter.
Parliament was attacked by five armed Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists. Nine people were killed and over 15 injured in the attack.
Four people - Afzal Guru, Delhi University professor S.A.R. Geelani, Navjot Sandhu alias Afsan Guru and her husband Shaukat Hussain Guru - were arrested in connection with the case.
Geelani and Afsan were let off for lack of conclusive evidence. Shaukat Hussain Guru's death sentence was commuted to 10 years' imprisonment and he is now out of jail.
Afzal Guru was sentenced to death Dec 18, 2002 by a trial court, which was upheld by the Delhi High Court Oct 29, 2003. His appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court Aug 4, 2005.
His mercy plea is pending, and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has said he will study the file after parliament's winter session ends Dec 22.
The BJP has from time to time been demanding Afzal Guru's execution. The demands have become shriller after Mumbai terror attack accused Ajmal Kasab was hanged Nov 23.