Have been in two minds whether to broach upon this sensitive issue, an issue which had kind of split my fellow Indians having difference of opinions, which is absolutely normal.
I was barely stepping into a double digit age in the year 1993 & yet have faint, but some horrific memories. I remember my mum working across a building, near Bombay Stock Exchange who had been sheer lucky to escape death which came and went in some fraction of moments. Some hawkers, security guards, restaurant owners & acquaintances whom she and her colleagues saw almost daily, were suddenly turned into ashes. At that age, when she narrated the events back home, I couldn’t understand the gravity of damage that had been caused to our city, specially when it was already struggling to get back to normal after the gruesome riots just 2-3 months before.
Did I lose any near or dear one? NO… Did I know anyone personally who lost their near or dear ones…. NO again…. Then why did I feel the pain for others? Why am I having some sense of closure post 06:30am IST today? And why am I penning down these issues at all when I can be busy with work, kids, trading money or just sitting with a cup of coffee on my balcony…
I felt aghast at a section of our society, namely, some Claim to Fame Human Rights Activists, Politicians (whose job is to oppose the government mechanically for everything), Actors turned politicians (trying to eye some votes in the upcoming elections), Lawyers (trying to get references by the word of “their own” mouth), etc. who have been on the news channels, twitter platform & other social media trying to justify their views on why the Mercy petition should have been considered. Mercy! Yes, Mercy, if that was the word used for a mastermind killing just a few hundreds. Surprisingly, none of the activists have denied the heinous crime committed & accepted, but I am still trying to figure out the meaning of “Mercy”…
Some strong arguments made by this hearty section were :
(1) Other countries have abolished death penalties, then why not India
My Counter : Other countries have accepted Gay/Lesbian Unions, has India? Unlike other countries, India is facing terror threat day in and day out, what is the message we want to give to the Terrorists? Come Kill us, yet Get Justice
(2) Every Human has a Right to Live & Die with Dignity
My Counter : Yes “Every Human”! So please stand up & fight for the Humans who turned to ashes in a fraction of a second and died without dignity – They were not only Saffron, but Green, Blue, Black, White, et al…. Basically they were Humans
(3) The Mercy petition was rejected because the accused was from a minority community
My Counter : I would request these people to read names of all other 10 convicts whose death sentence was converted to life. It is high time that we educated Indians stop giving colour to everything for our convenience
(4) The present government only believes in executing accused of Minorities
My Counter : Yes, some others accused in various cases are still on trial or yet to meet their fate of justice, but does this allow the accused to use this pretext to escape justice? Then why do we have any parameters laid down by law, all should have one common punishment
(5) Another strong argument laid down is the accused never got a fair trial & subsequently justice was not served to him
My Counter : 22 Long years — Which country allows any criminal such a fair trial with repeatedly challenging higher courts against death penalty. Ironically, in this country, whenever someone files a Petition, his agony is forgotten & it is all about the Rights of the Accused/Claimant
God forbid if we have another terror attack tomorrow, sadly, you will see the same section jumping on TV sets, pressuring the Government to bring the “Perpetrators to Justice”…
I may face some strong lash back from people who may differ from my points above, but I request them to allow me to use my Right to Expression with Dignity!
[This has reference to the capital punishment given to Yakub Memom for his conspiracy in Mumbai 1993 Bomb Blasts]