‘In the land of Buddha and Gandhi, death penalty has no place’: 83 feminist activists

This public statement was put out on 13 February by a group of 83 feminist activists; names of signatories at the end.

We, women from various organizations in India, condemn the hanging of Afzal Guru in Tihar Jail early on the morning of 9.2.2013.

The tearing hurry and secrecy with which Afzal Guru was hanged, accompanied by the flouting of all established norms by not giving his family their legal right to meet him before taking him to the gallows, clearly indicates that there were political considerations behind taking this step. More shameful is the explanation of the Home department that the wife and family of Afzal Guru were intimated of the hanging by a mail sent by Speed Post and Registered Post. Decency and humanity demanded that the Union Government give prior intimation to the family and an opportunity to meet him. Such surreptitious action of the government also deprived the family of Afzal Guru to right to seek legal remedy.

We would also like to take this opportunity to condemn the Delhi Police who permitted a group of Bajrang Dal goons to use violence against the protestors who were protesting against the hanging of Guru on the 9th of February, 2013 and detaining them in police stations of Delhi. We would also like to condemn the present withdrawal of democracy from the Kashmir region and the repression of the Indian and J&K Government on the people with the clamping of curfew 24×7, the closure of all print, online, electronic media and SMSs. We assert the right of citizens to dissent and express their opposition to the hanging of Afzal Guru and the end of capital punishment in a peaceful manner.

We reiterate our demand for the abolition of the death penalty. We are of the view that India must not retain in its statute book something so abhorrent to human rights as the death penalty. More especially, when more than one hundred and fifty countries have banned or put a moratorium on it. We feel that in the land of Buddha and Gandhi, death penalty has no place. Starting with Kasab, now with Afzal Guru, the country is going to witness a spate of executions. We give a call to the nation to break this spiral of executions.

We are,

1. Devaki Jain, Feminist Economist, Delhi

2. Vasanth Kannabiran, Writer and associated with ASMITA, Hyderabad

3. Veena Shatrugna, Nutritionist, Hyderabad

4. Farah Naqvi, Free Lance Journalist and NAC member, Delhi

5. Kannamma Raman, Activist

6. Anita Ghai, Former President, IAWS, Delhi

7. Lalita Ramdas, Educationist and anti nuclear activist

8. Lata P.M, Activist, Mumbai

9. Abha (Bhaiya), Jagori, Delhi

10. Dr Aisha K. Gill, Social Scientist, London

11. Sumi Krishna, Academic, Bangalore

12. Harsh Mandar, Centre for Equity Studies, Delhi

13. Jeevika Shiv, Centre for Equity Studies, Delhi

14. Uma V Chandru, Activist, Bangalore,

15. Kalyani Menon-Sen, Social Scientist, Delhi

16. Gopika Solanki

17. Rituparna.Borah, Activist, Nirantar, Delhi

18. Anusha Hariharan

19. Sneha Krishnan

20. K.Sajaya Committee against Capital Punishment, Hyderabad

21. Prof.Rama S Melkote, Committee against Capital Punishment, Hyderabad.

22. Ambika, Committee against Capital Punishment, Hyderabad

23. Dr.Samata Roshni, Committee against Capital Punishment, Hyderabad

24. K.Anuradha, Committee against Capital Punishment, Hyderabad

25. Aurnmai, Committee against Capital Punishment, Hyderabad

26. Indira, Committee against Capital Punishment, Hyderabad

27. Vasudha Nagaraj, Committee against Capital Punishment, Hyderabad

28. Sandhya, Committee against Capital Punishment, Hyderabad

29. Sajaya, Mallepally, Committee against Capital Punishment, Hyderabad

30. Lakshmayya, Committee against Capital Punishment, Hyderabad

31. Ramesh Babu Vommy, Committee against Capital Punishment, Hyderabad

32. Suchismita Chattopadhyay

33. Kochurani Abraham

34. Pushpa Achanta

35. Sheba George, Social Activist , Gujarat

36. Gabriele Dietrich, Academic and Social Activist, Madurai

37. Nandini Rao, Lawyer, DElhi

38. Dyuti Ailawadi,

39. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Feminist activist, Blogger

40. Jayasree Jayasree

41. Dr Jayasree Kalathil

42. Anuradha Kapoor, Swayam, Kolkata

43. Sharmila Rege, Academic, Pune

44. Purnima Gupta, Nirantar, Delhi

45. Shipra nigam, Academic and Activist, Delhi

46. Tanushree gangopadhyay, Journalist

47. Sujata Gothoskar, Mumbai

48. Alaka Basu

49. Ayesha Kidwai

50. Ayesha Khatun

51. Shrutipriya

52. Srila Roy

53. Jayasree Subramanian,

54. Rimple Mehta

55. Kabi Sherman, Mumbai

56. SAHELI, Delhi

57. Ranjana Padhi, Saheli

58. Madhu Mehra, Lawyer, Delhi

59. Chayanika Shah, Activist, Mumbai

60. Vimochana, Bangalore

61. K.Lalita, Academic, Hyderabad

62. Arundhati Dhuru, Activist, Lucknow

63. Teena Gill, Academic, DElhi

64. Saumya Uma, Lawyer, Mumbai

65. Veena Gowda, Lauer, Mumbai

66. Trupti Shah, Activist, Vadodra

67. Amrita Shodhan

68. M P Thomas

69. Kaveri Indira, Academic and Activist, Bangalore

70. Rohini Hensman, Writer and Activist, Mumbai

71. Kavita Panjabi, Academic, Kolkata

72. Dr Geetanjali Gangoli

73. Gopika Solanki

74. Forum Against Oppression of Women, Bombay FAOW

75. Kavita Srivastava, PUCL

76. Aruna Roy, NAC member and MKSS, Rajasthan

77. Renuka Pamecha, Activist, Jaipur

78. Mamta Jaitly, Activist and free lance journalist, Jaipur

79. Aarti Chowksi, Bangalore,

80. D. Nagasaila, PUCL

81. Sudha Bharadwaj, Lawyer, Bilaspur

82. Suneeta Dhar, JAgori

21 thoughts on “‘In the land of Buddha and Gandhi, death penalty has no place’: 83 feminist activists”

      1. If you have majority in parliament you get to decide the laws that govern us.
        80 people here and 100 people there cannot dictate the law of the land.


        1. 80 people here and 100 there do have a right to disagree with the majority. Your intolerance towards dissent says a lot about your commitment to the ideal of democracy.


          1. I never questioned your right to dissent….but only emphasized on the point that in a democracy determined by parliament it’s the numbers that count. You will see this play out in 2014……..

            As regards my commitment to the ideal of democracy – I wonder what you have to say about your intolerance towards individuals like Modi. People like you have vilified him to no end. The fact is you do not even recognize that he is a constitutionally and democratically elected CM of a state in the Union of India whether you like him or not.


          2. but 20-30 bajrangis can decide what they like? and get the police to stand back while they hit and beat people?


          3. mr shivam vij you support the same majoritarianism view in case of Kashmir, I have got whole support of Kashmiri hindu and Sikhs who are clear in their opinion that they want Kashmir with india, but your so called “KAFILA” support the same majoritarianism in kashmir


      2. Muslim Sunni majority cannot decide the fate of Kashmir. Pundits should have equal say. When you apply one rule for 1 cause apply it for other causes too.


  1. But the public sentiment post the delhi gangrape incident and host of other violent incidents against women is not for such an abolition. Vinodhini a victim of acid attack died day before yesterday at Chennai. She was just 23 and acid was thrown on her face by a person whose love she had rejected. Should we treat this culprit whose action brought immense suffering to her and her family and now an inconsolable sorrow with a life term punishment or should we put him to death.. In fact the public may feel that such acts deserve nothing short of death penalty.


  2. No need to back up with the names of Buddha and Gandhi.. hardly people remember them or their teachings… whatever these women have been asking, they have the right to do so.. moreover the society as whole bears the blood stains of capital punishment.. whatever politics may or may not lie behind the hanging of kasab and afzal guru, the onus of their hanging lies on every Indian..


  3. It is not right of any person to kills other in this universe.It Is is so sorrow to give death punishment in the country of Gandhi jee, largest democratic country of the world and country where Buddha enlightening.


  4. Hanging or Killing anybody is not the solution, be it Afzal Guru, or Osama or Saddam Hussain or even Gaddafi. The capital punishment only takes into account the symptom, not the disease or the causes of disease. The power factor is often used to kill the voices of opposition, and punish innocents.
    Killing in name of Bringing Democracy, National Interest, Terrorism(defined from one perspective) must be condemned.
    The ulterior motives are totally different from the explanation given to justify the hanging.


  5. I think a society where murder by an individual or individuals is a crime, cannot allow a collective and legitimised double standard of committing the same crime.


  6. You need to make sensible arguments. If this is the land of Gandhi and Buddha, then this is also the land of Rama and Krishna, and Chandragupta Maurya and Akbar and Aurangzeb.

    Hundreds of people are killed by Naxalites every year. Somehow it doesn’t seem to bother you guys very much. Gandhi is invoked when it is convenient, otherwise, the poor guy is called a chaalu charlatan.

    Somehow, this love for peace, non-violence, secularism, democracy is selectively employed, no?


  7. Political murders and other criminal activities by the State – and police – against its own people got to be stopped immediately.
    These activities of State brutality against its people desensitize dehumanize and criminalize
    the people. That is the reason why many Indian people become emotional and volatile at a slightest of issues and accidents and are easily exploited by goons and political classes..
    Just look at how much public property is destroyed by rioters – even after a small road accidents and how many people are murdered by mobs lead by political goons.



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