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Guru family waits for belongings from Tihar

New Delhi, Feb. 21: Afzal Guru’s family has complained it has been denied his personal belongings, lying in Tihar jail since he was hanged over a year ago.

The family, based in Kashmir, claimed that requests for the items have gone unheard. Guru’s belongings include spectacles, clothes, books, hand-written letters and a radio.

Lawyers pointed out that the jail manual states that the belongings of an executed prisoner must be returned.

Guru’s cousin Yasin said they had written to Tihar officials four months ago asking for his mortal remains — Guru was interred in the jail compound — so they could have a burial in his hometown Sopore. A request for the belongings was also made.

“The jail authorities are yet to contact us. They should have dispatched all his belongings to his wife Tabassum but they have been silent for the past year. It is the worst rights violation,” Yasin said from Kashmir over phone. “We plan to send a reminder,” he added.

Vimla Mehra, Delhi director-general (prisons), refused comment. But a senior jail official said they were awaiting the government’s instructions.

“The government has to decide whether the mortal remains and his belongings will be given back to his family,” the official said. According to him, the home ministry has asked jail officials to wait for the family to formally claim the belongings.

Guru, convicted in the December 2001 Parliament attack case, was hanged on February 9, 2013.

“Among other things, his spectacles are most precious and have sentimental value for Tabassum and their 13-year-old son Ghalib. If the government cannot give his body to us, then at least they should return his belongings,” said Yasin.