Fresh Rifts With BJP After PDP Demands Return Of Afzal Guru's Mortal Remains

03/03/2015 7:48 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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JAMMU, INDIA - MARCH 1: Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed during an oath ceremony of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as the chief minister Of Jammu and Kashmir, on March 1, 2015 in Jammu, India. Sayeed said that he felt proud that the people in the heart of Srinagar city came out in large number to vote and thanked the 'people from across the border' for the 'conducive atmosphere' for the smooth conduct of the elections. (Photo by Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

JAMMU — Fresh differences surfaced between the Peoples Democratic Party and Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday evening after the ruling PDP in Jammu and Kashmir demanded the return of the mortal remains of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. This comes a day after assuming power in alliance with BJP.

The BJP has already distanced itself from new chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's statement thanking Hurriyat and other militant outfits for "allowing peaceful elections" in J&K.

Eight PDP MLAs on Monday issued a statement demanding Guru's remains, saying the party "promises to follow vigorously" for the return of the mortal remains. Guru was hanged on February 9, 2013 inside Tihar Jail.

"PDP stands by the demand for return of his (Guru's) mortal remains, and the party promises to follow vigorously for the return of the mortal remains," the PDP statement said.

Meanwhile BJP has condemned the demand, asking its ally to shun "this type of politics". The party asserted that it practises zero tolerance on terrorism.

"Terror has no religion. We condemn this type of politics. Terrorism is an enemy of humanity and the whole country should unite to root this out. BJP believes in zero tolerance to terrorism," BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said. He noted that a group of Congress MLAs had made a similar demand.

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The legislators who signed the PDP statement are Mohammad Khalil Bandh, Zahoor Ahmed Mir, Raja Manzoor Ahmad, Mohd Abas Wani, Yawar Dilawar Mir, Advocate Mohd Yosuf, Aijaz Ahmad Mir and Noor Mohd Sheikh.

"PDP has always maintained that late Afzal Guru's hanging was travesty of justice and constitutional requirements and process was not followed in hanging him out of turn," the statement said.

"The way he was picked up from serial no.28 and singled out has been condemned by PDP and it stands by the demand for return of his mortal remains...," it said.

"We believe that the resolution brought by Independent MLA Rashid Ahmed to seek clemency for late Afzal Guru was justified and should have been adopted by the House at that time," he said.

In 2011, the resolution seeking clemency for Guru could not be taken up in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly due to pandemonium in the House.

The resolution became void as according to rules, any listed business that does not come up for discussion would lapse.

Other parties, too, have jumped into the controversy.

National Conference working president Omar Abdullah today said PDP's demand to return the remains of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru's was a "cynical attempt" to buy vote of independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid for Legislative Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir. He even suggested that PDP wanted to break away from BJP.

Janata Dal (United) leader Ali Anwar on Monday said that it is the Prime Minister who should give an answer to the People's Democratic Party's (PDP) demand for handing over the mortal remains of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru to his family, and alleged that the ruling dispensation at the Centre is hungry for power.

"This is a question actually you should ask the Prime Minister and the BJP. I will only say that the reins of the government in the country are in the hands of those who are hungry for power and that can compromise with someone else for power," he said.

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