Says if the J & K Assembly had passed a resolution similar to the Tamil Nadu House on Afzal Guru, the reaction would not have been as muted.

FPJ NEWS SERVICE Srinagar

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday sti

rred a hornets nest.Barely hours after the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a resolution urging the President to review the death sentence of Rajiv Gandhis killers, he tweeted: alt39alt39 If the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly had passed a resolution similar to the Tamil Nadu one for Afzal Guru, would the reaction have been as muted? I think not." Afzal Guru was convicted for plotting an audacious attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001 and sentenced to death by Sessions Court in 2002.

In the Kashmir Valley, the death sentence awarded to Afzal Guru is a sensitive issue.The state government fears widespread unrest if he is hanged.The remarks drew a sharp reaction from the BJP. Said BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said in Delhi, " Omars remarks are unfortunate.

Had the Hurriyat leaders made such a comment, it would have been understandable. A responsible chief minister should not have made such comments." His party colleague Balbir Punj dubbed Omars remarks as " shocking, irresponsible and unfortunate". Congress chose to distance itself. " What the Chief Minister says on twitter is his business. Its really not for us to take cognizance of. These are sensitive issues, which each state government sees and perceives on its own. We can only wait and watch. In a democracy, it is perfectly okay for people to voice their opinions collectively or individually. I donalt39t think we should speculate," Renuka Chowdhary, Congress spokesperson said.

" The Congress Party does not feel the need to comment on old issues, on issues like death sentence and execution of death sentence which, as we have repeatedly said, involve a constitutional process, a legal statutory process and then an administrative process," said Abhishek Singhvi, also Congress spokesperson.

" That process is still on. There is no question of us commenting and there is also no question of us commenting upon the comments of another person on that issue," he said.The state government apprehends trouble if Guru is hanged. The home ministry has sent the file on Gurus mercy petition to President Pratibha Patil.

Legal expert and senior lawyer K T S Tulsi said religion has no role to play in crime and punishment. " It has taken a political turn. That is unfortunate but the political controversy is completely irrelevant. If at all the assassins get off the hook and their death sentence is commuted, it will be on the basis of the human rights jurisprudence of the Constitution of India," he said.

The September 9 hanging of Rjaiv Gandhi assassination case convicts, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, lodged in Vellore Jail, was stayed for eight weeks by the Madras High Court on Tuesday.However, the BJP is not likely to let go of the controversy so easily.

Another party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad insisted that any person who seeks to break Indias sovereignty and integrity or kills a former Prime Minister and given a death sentence should be executed.

" BJP is clearly of the view that all those, who have been given capital punishment after due process of law and whose clemency plea has been rejected by the President, the capital punishment should be executed," he said.Prasad insisted there is a need to understand that capital punishment is given in the rarest of rare cases.

" All those who are involved in terrorist activities or in attacking the sovereignty and integrity of India or killing a former Prime Minister of India certainly fall in this category," he said.He maintained that integrity and unity of the country is far bigger than a party or political divide and there is a need to understand this.

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