Saturday, July 25, 2015

Opposing death penalty doesn't mean support for Yakub Memon: State influences delivery of justice after verdicts, create perception of bias

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Firstly, let me make it very clear that opposing death penalty doesn't mean that it is a voice in support of Yakub Memon.

It is simply against death penalty to him. Keep him in jail for the rest of his life, just like others.

But here you are are baying for his blood, while going extra-mile to save other hard-core terrorists' lives.

The yardsticks are not the same, not at all. Rules are soft for one set of people, tough for another set, though crimes are same.

There are a host of reasons why death penalty is being opposed vehemently in this case.

People from all cross-sections are opposing it, not just those who are Muslims.

And, as a democracy we should be mature enough to listen to dissent and voices opposing a decision.

Death penalty has been abolished in around 100 countries, and there are individuals who oppose it on principles.

It is also a fact that people from certain sections get death, others don't. A major factor is poor financial condition as person can't afford lawyers. As many as 94% who got death penalty in India were either Dalits or Minorities.


1. But there is another big issue. State plays a major role in it. They can definitely influence the processes that can delay investigation and the judicial process. Further, they can stop or delay executions.

2. All those including killers of our former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the man who assassinated former chief minister of Punjab Beant Singh, the person involved in bomb blast killing 9 persons in Delhi, were NOT HANGED, because the state governments didn't want them hanged.

It's so easy. They can delay it for years and years. Governments finally decide it, even after court verdicts.

3. The 'nationalist' BJP has an alliance with the Akali Dal in Punjab, so it can be 'tough on terror' but that's pure nonsense as we all know, how it is complicit in saving others in Punjab.

It never made an issue about Rajiv Gandhi killers as it didn't want to anger Dravidian parties, whose support it needed for alliance at national level.

But in Maharashtra, it wants to hang Yakub Memon, fast, as soon as possible. So law is applied selectively.

4. Courts give verdicts but governments have their own privileges and ways to delay or speed up the executions. Is that fair?

The State--the might of the establishment, through prosecution, investigating agencies, can speed up or slow down any case.

In the case of Babri Masjid demolition, CBI has failed to convict anyone till now. The situation is same in Mumbai riots 1992-93.

Travesty of Justice

5. Cases of massacres and riots seldom reach the stage where the perpetrators could be convicted. Unimaginable things happen in case of mass killers like Babu Bajrangi and Maya Kodnani. They don't get death penalty, fine.

But, they are even saved from jail terms, as they get released on parole due to 'State'. The officials in the government and jail, allow parole and don't appeal against relaxations in their cases, even if it is a double lifer.

6. So people like Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi even come out of jails within a short time (on parole) after they are convicted (28 yr sentence to Kodnani, yet she gets released). State doesn't oppose, it is helping them. Other prisoners can't think of such relaxations. Is that fair? Where is justice, now?

7. In the case of Rajiv Gandhi's killers, state governments in Tamil Nadu stood up for them. Even J Jayalalitha tried to release them. In the case of Balwant Singh Rajoana, the jail authorities refused to hang him, as the entire state was behind him.

Similarly, in the case of Bhullar norms were violated and now he has been shifted to a comfortable jail in Punjab. The death sentence was not executed for years, through delaying tactics, and hence Supreme Court, commuted it.

8. Governments can play with the law, it's a fact. Those who are not in government, can't do it, naturally.

This gives a sense of victim-hood. So much concern is shown for poor health of Kodnani, loss of vision of Babu Bajrangi, but not slight mercy to let Afzal Guru meet his wife and kid, last time before death!

It is a fact that there is a perception building up among Muslims that it is unfair to hand Yakub Memon, who had cooperated with Indian authorities, and came to India.

So Maharashtra government, the 'rashtrawadi' [self-styled nationalist] won't delay, rather, hang him readily.

Congress can't speak up for Memon, as it long back fell into the BJP's 'nationalist' trap. So in UPA tenure, it had to hang Kasab and Afzal Guru, fast, so that BJP couldn't have political gains. Memon has no one to back him.

9. No wonder, when MIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi speaks, there is immediate response from 'bhakts' is that he is supporting 'terrorist'. No, this is against death penalty to him.

Many people don't want death penalty and feel that there is injustice in this case and they feel just Owaisi is speaking what they feel. Is that a good scenario, when people have such a strong perception of state bias?

[Do we need to remind you that Muslims don't even allow terrorist's burial on the soil of Hindustan. How can you forget this?]

10. Then, the media, particularly, loud TV channels create majoritarian opinion--refusing to give space to the 'other', plays a major role in deciding who gets death sentence and who doesn't. Alternative opinion must also be heard.

Investigating agencies failed to catch the main perpetrators in the Mumbai blasts case. Yakub Memon's entire family came back, and Menon, through a certain dealing with investigating agencies, with a trust on Indian state, its judicial process, and his coming to India (with his entire family), helped India in its case against Pakistan on the international forum.

When governments, through the might of the state, influence justice after the verdicts, it is also contempt of court. Law is blind, but the courts aren't deaf. It is time they hear the voices, take note of how governments misuse their powers in influencing justice.

1. 94% who get death penalty are Dalits, minorities Link
2. Kodnani, Bajrangi get released from jails on 'medical grounds'. Link
3. B Raman's article. First rediff introductory Link & then the article Link
4. Jailer had refused to hang Rajoana Link