Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri Muslim who sentenced to death more than eight years ago for his role in the attack on Indian Parliament in 2001, was hanged Saturday morning at the Tihar jail on the outskirts of Delhi.
"Afzal Guru was hanged at 8 a.m. inside Tihar jail," Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said in Delhi.
Guru, a former fruit-vendor, was found guilty of conspiring with and harboring the five suicide bombers who carried out the attack on the parliament in New Delhi on Dec. 13, 2001, killing eight police officers and a gardener before being shot dead by security forces.
Militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed was blamed for the attack, which India said was backed by Pakistan, bringing the two nuclear-armed neighbors to the brink of war.
Guru’s mobile phone number was retrieved from the attackers’ IDs and SIM cards. He was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in 2004.
Reports said that Guru’s clemency plea had been rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee. The President informed the Home Ministry of the rejection of the mercy petition Jan. 23.
Guru's wife, Afsan Guru, who was found guilty of not disclosing information to police, was also sentenced to five years in prison but had her conviction overturned on appeal.
Guru was only the second person to be executed in India since 2004, despite having more than 300 prisoners on death row. Ajmal Kasab, a militant convicted for his role in the terror attack in Mumbai Nov. 26, 2008, was executed Nov. 21, 2012, after the president rejected his mercy petition.
The key opposition at center, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has repeatedly questioned the delay in hanging Guru following Kasab’s execution, welcomed the move.
“This action is delayed. But undoubtedly it is a welcome action. It was a much awaited decision, much wanted decision so that the world could see that India is committed against terror, the fight against terror,” BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
Curfew was imposed in parts of Jammu and Kashmir, including capital Srinagar, Saturday. In Sopore, Guru’s hometown, a thick security blanket was in place, according to a report in CNN-IBN. Delhi and Mumbai were put on high alert, the report said.