"We cannot bring back Afzal who met such a cruel fate. The authorities were insensitive and did not allow him to meet his family one last time. But perhaps we can ensure that no other family undergoes the same trauma," says Aijaz Guru, elder brother of Parliament attack convict Afzal, who was hanged on February nine.
Afzal's wife, son and others in the family got to know of his execution after the news became public. A letter from Delhi's Tihar jail authorities inform them that he was being hanged reached them some 51 hours after the hanging, generating a wave of anger in the Kashmir valley.
The family has taken note of the comments of Chief Justice of India Justice Altamas Kabir who said last week that families of death row convicts should be informed in advance about their execution. "...the principle has always been that the family members were told when things will happen," he had said.
At the height of controversy over the way Afzal was executed, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had reportedly summoned Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and expressed his displeasure over the delay in informing Afzal Guru's family about his hanging.
Afzal's family now want the apex court to take suo motu cognisance of the matter and lay down the rule that the families of those who are to be hanged are informed in advance and allowed to meet the person before execution.