Mumbai, Dec 16: Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh president Prakash Ambedkar Saturday said 2001 parliament attack convict Afzal Guru should not be hanged but sentenced to life imprisonment.
"The government should put the hanging of Guru in abeyance to avoid strengthening separatists in Jammu and Kashmir," Ambedkar, the grandson of Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar, told IANS over the phone.
"We should understand that we are not ruled by fundamental Hindu nationalists. India is a secular country and it is run by secularists," he said.
Union minister Beni Prasad Verma too had Thursday opposed death penalty to Guru. He later retracted from the statement, saying he was misquoted.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had earlier said a decision on Guru's mercy plea would be taken after the parliament's winter session.
Guru was sentenced to death Dec 18, 2002, by a trial court. The order was upheld by Delhi High Court in 2003. Supreme Court rejected Guru's appeal in 2005.