Thursday, December 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

3 to die for December 13 attack
5-yr jail term for Navjot
Tribune News Service and PTI

The police escort Navjot Sandhu
The police escort Navjot Sandhu at an anti-terrorism court in New Delhi on Wednesday. — Reuters photo

New Delhi, December 18
Three of the four accused in the Parliament attack case were awarded death sentence today by a special POTA court for allegedly entering into a conspiracy to attack Parliament on December 13 last year and to take VVIPs hostage.

The three who were awarded the death sentence are Mohammad Afzal, Shaukat Hussain Guru and S.A.R. Geelani. Navjot Sandhu, alias Afsana Guru has been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for concealing the plot. Pronouncing the verdict in a packed courtroom, today, Special POTA Judge S.N. Dhingra said Mohammad Afzal, Shaukat Hussain Guru and Delhi University lecturer S.A.R. Geelani were convicted for waging a war against the state and attacking the Parliament House with an intention to kill Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Home Minister L.K. Advani and hold other VIPs hostage. The special court which convicted all four accused yesterday, said barring Afsan, the other three were found guilty of waging war against the nation and conspiring with the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists Masood Azhar, Ghazi Baba, Tariq and five other slain terrorists.

The three have been convicted under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), Arms Act and Explosive Substances Act. Afsana, wife of Shaukat, was convicted under Section 123, IPC, for wilfully not disclosing the conspiracy.

Dismissing their leniency plea, the court said: “The persons who help terrorists enter into India and carry out ‘fidayeen’ attacks are equally liable for the killing of innocent persons as hardcore terrorists themselves.

“They are enemies of mankind, they deserve no leniency. The punishment given in such cases must be deterrent,” it said.

“The victims of crime were security persons and gardener and watch and ward staff at the Parliament House who were performing their duties there. The murder of all these persons was cold blooded”, the Judge said.

Rejecting the leniency plea for the lone woman convict, the court said: “The entire conspiracy was hatched up in her house in her presence. She could have saved the nation from this terrorist attack.

“There was no doubt that she was having a difficult choice of going against her husband but I consider that when the question of lives of top leadership of this country was involved and the question of several innocent lives was involved, the choice was not difficult,” the Judge said.

Immediately after the verdict was made public, Shiv Sena activists gathered outside the Patiala Court premises and burst crackers and raised anti-Pakistan slogans. Mr Dhingra also imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh each on the three accused. The money would be given to the families of those killed in the attack. Afsana was fined Rs 10,000. Failure to pay the fine would entail another six months of rigorous imprisonment, the Judge added.

Counsel for Delhi University professor Geelani said the trial court verdict would be challenged in the Delhi High Court, as in any case, the death sentence would have to be confirmed by the High Court. She contested that Geelani’s case was different from the other accused as he only was used by them to execute the conspiracy.

She said the prosecution had failed to apprehend the main perpetrators in the case. Except the evidence of conspiracy against the accused, no other evidence was available which directly linked them to the Parliament attack. The court also noted in its order that the terrorists had attacked Parliament House armed with lethal weapons and bombs when it was in session. They were armed with AK-47 and AK-56 rifles, grenade launchers, hand grenades, rifles, grenades, tiffin bomb, car bomb and a body bomb.

The Delhi police’s special cell filed the charge sheet on May 14, stating that the Pakistan’s ISI conspired to threaten the unity, integrity, security and sovereignty of India and executed the plot through banned terrorist outfits Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Toiba. The police said the investigation and the confessional statements of the two main culprits — Mohammed Afzal and Shaukat — had revealed the involvement of Maulana Masood Azhar, JeM’s supreme commander in India, Ghazi Baba alias Abu Jehadi, alias Saqlain, and senior JeM operative Tariq Ahmed, all Pakistani nationals.

The charge sheet identified Ghazi Baba as the chief conspirator and coordinator of the plan. Ghazi Baba, Tariq and Masood Azhar, who are now in Pakistan, have been declared proclaimed offenders. 


Accused term trial as farce

New Delhi, December 18
The three terrorists sentenced to death in the Parliament attack case today claimed that they were “innocent” and termed the trial as a “farce”.

“It is all farce....By convicting innocent persons, you cannot supress emotions....You cannot stop the freedom movement in Kashmir....I am giving my life for it,” convict S.A.R. Geelani, a suspended Delhi college, lecturer, said after Special Judge S.N. Dhingra sentenced him along with Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists Mohammad Afzal and Shaukat Hussain Guru. PTIBack



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