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'26/11 attacks could have been averted if Afzal was hanged'

Source: PTI
January 17, 2009 23:53 IST
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Demanding the hanging of Afzal Guru, who was sentenced to death in the 2001 Parliament attack case, All India Anti-Terrorist Front Chairman MS Bitta on Saturday said the Mumbai attacks could have been averted had India sent the 'right message' by rejecting his clemency petition.

"India should have sent a right message to our enemies by hanging Afzal Guru. Our enemies want to cripple the economy of our country," he said.

"As we have not yet initiated any stern steps against terrorism and not hanged Afzal Guru, the terrorists have taken us for granted and went on targeting our cities," he charged.

"India should first hang the terrorist (Afzal) who is in our custody and then think of taking custody of others," Bitta said, referring to India seeking custody of 21 terrorists from Pakistan in connection with the Mumbai strikes.

Upset over the government's 'softened' stand on Afzal Guru, Bitta claimed, the kin of those killed during the Parliament attacks returned the martyr medals to President.

"The government is insulting the sacrifices of security forces by not reaching to a conclusion on the hanging of Afzal Guru," he added.

"India should start discussions with United Nations Organisation, America and United Kingdom about the terrorism and start attacking the terrorists' camps sponsored by Pakistan," Bitta demanded.

"A white paper should be released on what steps the government is initiating to eradicate terrorism in the country, why Afzal was not hanged and what lapses led to terror attacks in the country," he said.

Bitta emphasised on the formation of an anti-terror military court to try the cases of terrorists and convict them within six months.

"There should not be any provision to file a mercy plea before the President once the case comes before military court," he said.

"A special committee involving the members of investigative agencies should also be formed to deal with terrorism. This will enable to act quickly during the crisis and avoid the interference of politicians," he said.

"The police should crack down on Bangladeshis. They should be sent to their country and ban should be imposed on them," he said.

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