PDP MP writes to Modi, demands mortal remains of Afzal Guru, Maqbool Bhat

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Mir Mohammad Fayaz, People's Democratic Party (PDP) member of Parliament speaking in Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Photograph Rajya Sabha TV
JK Bank

Srinagar: Member of Parliament of Rajya Sabha for Jammu and Kashmir, Fayaz Ahmad Mir on Monday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding mortal remains of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat who are buried in Tihar jail.

Below is the text of the letter of Peoples Democratic Party leader:

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In the remote village of Seerjageer, Sopore lies a tombstone of Mohammed Afzal Guru, without his mortal remains, standing there awaiting the magnanimity of this country, that may one day find it right to return Afzal Guru’s body to his family which lies buried in a corner in Tihar jail.

We are well beyond the academic discussion on capital punishment and whether Guru should have been sent to the gallows even though he was at number 28 of the list of death row prisoners, but his execution and the refusal to return his body by then incumbent government till date remains a sore misery and a dark blemish on the largest democracy in the world. It was by all means an unconstitutional measure and has been called out for its huddled and secretive manner by almost all ideological groups in the country.

Our late Patron, Mufti Mohammed Saeed, vide his letter dated February 26, 2013 had written to the then PM Mr. Manmohan Singh ji, vehemently arguing the need to return the mortal remains of Afzal Guru to his family. In his considered opinion, Mufti Saab had highlighted the importance of this step in that it would not only reduce the pain of Guru’s family but also open the way for some rebuilding of bridges at the psychological level between Kashmir and rest of the country. Our party and myself whole heartedly resonate with that sentiment.

Today, on February 11, which also coincidentally marks the 35th anniversary of Kashmiri Maqbool Bhat, who alongside Guru lies in his resting place at Tihar, I request you to please also consider returning his mortal remains. How can dead bodies of two Kashmiri men, who lost their dignity in gallows be a threat to a democracy like India. Is the collective conscience of India sans the collective conscience of Kashmiris. I can with utmost responsibility say that should the Government of India decide to act upon this request, the animosity of Kashmiris and their sense of alienation can be brought down by several notches. In a country where the killers of an elected Prime Minister were granted clemency and their death sentence was commuted, I do not think it is appalling or disrespectful to seek return of mortal remains of two Kashmiri men to their families.

Kashmir, today stands on the edge of and we cannot overlook that reality. In this troubled time, granting our request would be like a balm on old wounds that are unhealed even after so many years. This will also be in line with the religious practices of the deceased persons. Needless to say that if granted, this wish will be remembered for the rest of our times as a sign of large heartedness of a Prime Minister who came to power with an unprecedented majority and a space is created for reconciliation and peaceful resolution of problems.