Kashmiri militant sentenced to death over 2001 attack on Indian Parliament

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Kaur confirmed today that Mohammed Afzal, a militant attached to the Pakistan-based outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, would be executed on 20 October for his role in the attempted attack on the Indian Parliament building in 2002.

On 13 December 2001, at 11:45 a.m. local time(UTC+5:30), just as the MPs were preparing to leave the House, militants armed with AK-47s and hand-grenades breached the security at Gate No.12 of the Parliament Building and opened indiscriminate fire, killing six policemen and one Parliament employee. The Army, along with police and NSG "Black Cats" sealed the area and killed all five gunmen in a "lock-down mop-up" operation.

The attack increased tensions between India and Pakistan, which was accused by India of providing support to the Kashmiri militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, involved in the attack.

A special court had earlier sentenced Delhi University lecturer S. Geelani, Afzal and Shaukat Hussain Guru to death under Section 3(2) of POTA (indulging in terrorist acts leading to deaths) and Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (murder). The court also fined Shaukat Hussain's wife, Afsan Guru Rs. 10,000 and sentenced her to five years rigorous imprisonment for concealing details of the plot. A Delhi High court ruling, however, later acquitted Afsana Guru and Geelani.

On 4 August 2005, a Supreme Court bench including Justice P V Reddy and Justice P V Neolkar confirmed the death penalty for Mohammed Afzal and sentenced Shaukat Hussain Guru to 10 years rigorous imprisonment for concealing details of the conspiracy, thereby sparing him the gallows. Although the Supreme Court upheld Geelani's acquittal, it observed that his actions were not above suspicion and seemed to have supported the attack.

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