The Indian parliament building was attacked by five gunmen armed with explosives in December 2001. Nine people and all of the gunmen were killed during the attack, which took place as several lawmakers were inside the parliament. Police arrested Guru a few days later based on phone intercepts and charged him with harboring and helping the gunmen. Guru had denied the charges in court, even though he confessed his role in detailed television interviews in 2002 in the presence of the police.
In a similarly secret operation Nov. 21, India hanged another high-profile terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, convicted in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Guru’s execution has been a hot-button issue for several years here and critics have blamed the government for lacking the will to hang him quickly. His execution was delayed because his wife had filed a mercy petition in 2006.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy petition a few days ago, and Guru was shifted to solitary confinement in prison to prepare for execution, said an official. The executions of Guru and Kasab both came after Mukherjee, a veteran political strategist from the ruling Congress party, took over as president last year.
“The new president of India sent me some cases for reconsideration, I examined in detail,” Shinde told reporters. “On the 4th I signed it and sent it for the further execution to the department. The procedure was followed, and the date was confirmed by the judicial officer on the 8th.”
R.K. Singh, the home secretary, said that it was “the rule of law and justice taking its course.”
An official in the government said that Guru’s body will not be sent to his home in Kashmir. The Press Trust of India news service reported that Guru’s body had been buried at the Tihar jail.
Guru’s elder brother, Ejaz Ahmad Guru, 45, said the government provided no notice or advance warning that it was going to execute his brother.
“We were not informed about the hanging by the government, we had to learn from the media,” he said, speaking from Sopore town in Kashmir by telephone. A government official said Guru’s family had been informed of the pending execution by a government-operated courier service.
Guru, his brother said, was 42 and is survived by a wife and a 12-year old son. The family had last met with Guru in prison last August. “We want his dead body back, it is our right. But they are not sending him back to his birthplace to be buried. Is this humanity?,” he asked. “The streets have been completely shut down. Who do we complain to in the government?”
Fearing angry protests, the government imposed a strict curfew in many parts of the Himalayan province of Kashmir where several armed groups have been fighting for independence for the past two decades.