Afzal’s kin demand his belongings, Tihar Jail undecided

New Delhi, Feb 10: A day after the execution of Afzal Guru, his family members demanded that his spectacles, clothes and a radio be returned to them, but a Tihar Jail official Sunday said the government was yet to take a decision on the issue.

“Afzal Guru’s wife Tabassum and his family members have already demanded his body so that the last rites could be performed in accordance with Islam,” Afzal Guru’s cousin Yaseen Guru told IANS on phone from Sopore in Jammu and Kashmir.

“For the family, Afzal Guru’s spectacles, a radio – which he used to hear in jail – and clothes have a lot of significance,” he said.

Yaseen Guru said the family is also planning to visit New Delhi to take up the matter with jail authorities.

“His spectacles are most precious for Tabassum and their 12-year-old son Ghalib. If the government cannot give his body to us, then at least they should return his belongings,” said Yaseen Guru.

A Tihar Jail official, on condition of anonymity, told IANS: “According to the jail manual, an executed prisoners’ property has to be returned to the family.”

However, talking to IANS, Director General (Prisons) Vimla Mehra said: “Afzal Guru’s belongings are in our possession. The government will take a decision whether his body or his belongings are to be given to the family.”

Afzal Guru, convicted in the 2001 parliament attack, was hanged in Tihar Jail Saturday and buried quietly soon after.

“It is the family’s right to get back his belongings from the jail. We will meet government officials and (make a) demand for it,” said Afzal Guru’s lawyer N.D. Pancholi.

Soon after Afzal Guru’s execution, Pancholi wrote to the Tihar Jail chief on behalf of the convict’s family, seeking permission to perform his last rites in accordance with their religious traditions.

To prevent any untoward situation following the execution, Delhi continued to be on alert Sunday while Delhi University lecturer S.A.R. Geelani, who was allegedly detained, said he had been advised to stay home.

“Delhi continues to be on alert and Quick Reaction Teams have been asked to be prepared for any untoward incident or protests,” said a senior Delhi Police officer.

Geelani, who teaches at Zakir Hussain College, Delhi University, was allegedly picked up by Delhi Police’s Special Cell Saturday. Some other leaders from Kashmir were also detained.

Geelani was arrested Dec 2001 for his alleged involvement in the parliament attack of Dec 13, 2001. He was acquitted by the Supreme Court in 2003.

“They (police) did not want me to speak to the media, so they detained me. They took me to the Special Cell offices in New Friends Colony,” Geelani told IANS.

Delhi Police claimed they did not detain Geelani. However, police sources admitted that some people were being “monitored” as a preventive measure.

Geelani said that he had been let off at 10 p.m. Saturday and has been “advised” not to go out of his house.

Police also detained Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and journalist Iftikhar Gilani in Delhi.

A minor clash broke out between the right-wing Hindu groups and protesting Kashmiri youths at Jantar Mantar in the heart of Delhi Saturday.

IANS