“The onus will rest on the judiciary and the political leadership to prove to the people that this was not a selective execution and not for political purposes,” Omar Abdullah told CNN-IBN in an interview.
Stating that the move would have long-term implications for the border state, Abdullah said the young generation would identify with Afzal Guru, the 2001 Parliament attack convict.
“Let’s not underestimate my concern over the security or law and order implications. My concern is the long-term implications on the psyche of a generation of Kashmiris who may not identify with Maqbool Bhat (who was hanged in 1984). There are two generations that have grown up after that who certainly identify with Guru,” he said.
Abdullah rued the fact that Guru’s family was not given a chance to meet him before the execution. “As a human being I find it very difficult to reconcile myself to the fact that we executed a person who was not given the opportunity to see his family for the last time. If in this day and age we are relying on speed post to inform a family that their loved one is going to be executed, there is something seriously wrong. I wish we were the ones who were authorised to inform the family,” he said.
He said the BJP did not clamour for executions for those convicted for killing late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi or former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, who were blown up by extremists.
Stating that the home ministry discussed the issue broadly with him, Abdullah said he would “measure it in terms of the possible implications of executing Afzal Guru and what it could mean for Jammu and Kashmir, for its polity and for the situation on the ground”.
Meanwhile, the family members of executed terrorist Afzal Guru want his belongings — glasses, clothes and a radio — to be returned to them, but a Tihar Jail official said the government was yet to take a decision on the issue.
Director General (Prisons) Vimla Mehra said: “Afzal Guru’s belongings are in our possession. The government will take the decision whether his body or his things are to be given to the family.”