The family of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru today said their only demand was that the Centre return his body to enable them to give him a proper burial.

“We have no other demand...the only thing we want is that Afzal’s body be returned to us,” Mohammad Yasin, a cousin of Afzal, told PTI over phone from Sopore.

He said the family has written a letter to Tihar jail authorities as well as Deputy Commissioner Baramulla seeking that Guru’s body be given to them.

“Soon after we came to know about the hanging, we wrote letters to the Deputy Commissioner Baramulla and Tihar Jail authorities for return of the body,” Yasin said, adding, they were awaiting a response from the concerned authorities on the matter.

Asked about Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s statement that the Government can consider allowing the family to offer ‘fatiha’ (prayer) on Afzal’s grave, Yasin said it was of no use.

“Where will we offer ‘fatiha’? We want to bury him here (in Sopore),” he said.

On reports that Afzal’s family might be airlifted to Delhi for the purpose of visiting Afzal’s grave, he said the family would go on their own if the situation comes to that.

“We will go to Delhi on our own, if it comes to that. We do not want any largesse from the Government. The only thing we want from them is to return Afzal’s body,” he said.

He termed as “cruel joke” the letter received yesterday from Tihar Jail authorities informing the family about Afzal’s hanging.

“The arrival of the letter yesterday was like rubbing salt into open wounds of the family...the wounds which may never heal,” Yasin said.

He alleged that the leaders of the country were playing politics over the death of Afzal.

“Afzal was hanged — rightly or wrongly, we don’t want to go into that — but politicians should stop playing politics with it,” he said.

(This article was published on February 12, 2013)
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