Grave Doubts About Afzal Guru's Involvement In 2001 Parliament Attack: P Chidambaram

25/02/2016 12:02 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
India's Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram waits for arrival of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before their meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Monday, April 1, 2013. Chidambaram arrived in Japan Monday for a three-day visit. (AP Photo/Issei Kato, Pool)

NEW DELHI -- Even as six university students are facing a sedition charge for allegedly raising slogans in favor of Afzal Guru, Congress Party leader P. Chidambaram has told The Economic Times that there were "grave doubts about the extent of his involvement" in the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament.

"I think it is possible to hold an honest opinion that the Afzal Guru case was perhaps not correctly decided," Chidambaram, who served as the Home Minister and then the Finance Minister in the United Progressive Alliance government, told ET.

"But being in government you cannot say the court has decided the case wrongly because it was the government that prosecuted him. But an independent person can hold an opinion that the case was not decided correctly," he said.

Afzal Guru was secretly hanged and buried in Tihar Jail in Delhi by the Congress Party-led government on Feb 9, 2013.

His conviction and execution has been a subject of controversy because there are those who believe his role in the attack did not merit the death penalty, while others argue that he was given a fair trial by the Indian judiciary.

The Congress Party-led government was criticized for pulling Afzal Guru out of the death-row queue and executing him out of turn, without even informing his family. The Congress Party was accused of trying to appear tough on terrorism in the run up to the national election.

Recently, six students from Jawharlal Nehru University, who allegedly organized an event to mark the third anniversary of Afzal Guru's execution, and raised "anti-national slogans," have been charged with sedition by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government.

"There were grave doubts about his involvement in the conspiracy behind the attack on Parliament, and even if he was involved, there were grave doubts about the extent of his involvement. He could have been imprisoned for life without parole for rest of his natural life," Chidambaram told ET.

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