A tomb stone for Afzal Guru (L), is seen at the Martyrs Graveyard in Srinagar on February 12, 2013, and reads, “His mortal remains are lying in trust with the government of India, the Kashmiri nation awaits its return.” Guru, a native of Indian-administered Kashmir, was executed on February 9, 2013 over his role in a deadly attack on parliament in New Delhi in 2001. A former fruit seller, he was hanged at Tihar Jail on the outskirts of the capital after his final appeal for mercy was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee. — AFP Photo

NEW DELHI: The family of Mohammed Afzal Guru who was executed over the weekend has rejected an offer by Indian authorities to pray at his graveside inside a prison, insisting the body be buried in his home state.

Home Secretary R.K. Singh made the offer Tuesday and said that the belongings of Mohammed Afzal Guru, an Indian Muslim who was executed and buried at Tihar Jail on Saturday for his role in the deadly 2001 Indian parliament attack, would be handed over to his family members.

“We have no problem if the immediate family of Afzal Guru wants to come and offer prayers at his grave in Tihar jail. Belongings of Afzal will be returned to the family,” Singh told reporters in Delhi.

However a relative of Guru said that the family had no intention of visiting his grave, insisting that the body be brought back to his home in Indian-administered Kashmir.

“As Muslims we can pray for Afzal from here,” the separatist's cousin Yasin Guru told AFP from the family's hometown of Sopore in the Kashmir Valley.

“We will go to Tihar only if the government of India is kind enough to hand us his body for burial here.”

The announcement comes amid criticism of the government for failing to inform the family about the execution before he went to the gallows.

A letter sent from the government announcing that his mercy plea had been rejected only arrived at the family's home on Monday morning.

Indian-administered Kashmir's Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, normally an ally of the government, has been among those criticising the handling of the execution, saying he found it “very difficult” to reconcile himself to the fact that Guru was not given the opportunity to see his family for the last time.

Guru was convicted of helping a group of militants plot an 2001 attack on the Indian parliament which left 10 people dead.

He always maintained his innocence and many of his supporters accused police of framing evidence against him in the case.

A curfew has been in place since Saturday throughout much of Indian-administered Kashmir.

There have also been protests in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

A burial plot, complete with a headstone, has been prepared for Guru in the so-called 'Martyrs' Graveyard' in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The inscription reads: “His mortal remains are lying in trust with the government of India, the Kashmiri nation awaits its return,” according to an AFP photographer who has seen the tombstone.

Opinion

Editorial

Avenfield relief
Updated 30 Sep, 2022

Avenfield relief

Accountability cannot continue to be treated like a revolving door in which politicians can be shoved in or pulled out on a whim.
Dar’s plans
Updated 30 Sep, 2022

Dar’s plans

For starters, the country doesn’t have spare dollars to burn.
Another targeted attack
30 Sep, 2022

Another targeted attack

WEDNESDAY’S deadly attack on three Chinese-origin individuals in Karachi’s Saddar area demonstrates the threat...
More leaks
Updated 29 Sep, 2022

More leaks

Recent leaks look more like an inside job than the work of a foreign power.
A depressing winter
29 Sep, 2022

A depressing winter

WINTER is on its way, with a massive gas crunch looming as elevated global LNG prices have eroded the cash-strapped...
Great expectations
29 Sep, 2022

Great expectations

CONSIDERING that the Afghan Taliban have been in the saddle for over a year now, the UN has expressed frustration...