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Soldiers' families return bravery medals

By A Correspondent
Last updated on: December 13, 2006 15:50 IST
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The family members of the soldiers who were killed in the attack on Parliament in 2001 have returned the medals of gallantry to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The move comes on December 13, the fifth anniversary of the attack.

The families had earlier threatened to return the medals if the President considers the mercy petition of Mohammed Afzal Guru, convicted for being the brain behind the attack.

Accompanied by All India Anti-Terrorist Front chief M S Bitta on the fifth anniversary of the attack, they also expressed shock over Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil's remarks that they were being provoked by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

"We did not order the execution of Afzal. It's the court that has ordered it. But this vile politics over his death sentence, which is being delayed, has led us to return these medals," Ganga Devi, widow of sub-inspector Nanak Chand, said.

They met the media holding a placard that contained photographs of all the slain security personnel.

The families said they the medals should be placed in the National Museum until Afzal, who has been convicted in the case, is executed.

"We will take back these medals after Afzal is hanged," Jayawati, widow of head-constable Vijender Singh, said after returning the medal to a Rashtrapati Bhavan director.

The families rejected Patil's remarks in Parliament about them, which they said have left them sad and shocked.

The Supreme Court had sentenced Afzal to death and set October 20 for the hanging.

But Afzal applied for mercy. Parts of Jammu and Kashmir and a few other places across the nation have seen protests against the Supreme Court's verdict.

Terrorists on December 13, 2001, stormed the Parliament complex in a bid to blow up the India's seat of power.

The attack was foiled by security men, seven of whom died in the battle with the terrorists.


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A Correspondent