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Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) activists display nooses as they shout slogans against the Congress led UPA government during a protest in New Delhi on May 19, 2010. BJP protesters demanded the execution of Afzal Guru,the prime accused in the Parliament attack case of December 13, 2001. (RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images)

India's president approved the country's first executions since 2004, rejecting the mercy pleas of two murder convicts, reports NDTV.  The move could start the process of clearing India's long list of death row convicts, which includes a terrorist who attacked India's parliament in 2001 and the assassin who killed Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

The news channel cited sources in the Home Ministry as saying that President Pratibha Patil rejected the mercy petitions of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar of Punjab and Mahendra Nath Das of Assam, clearing the way for them to be executed. 

Bhullar was sentenced to death by a trial court on August 25, 2001, for plotting terror attacks on Punjab SSP Sumedh Singh Saini in 1991 and the then Youth Congress president M S Bitta in 1993, which led to several deaths in Delhi, NDTV said.

Das was awarded the death penalty for murdering Hara Kanta Das.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/bric-yard/indian-president-okays-first-execution-2004