I met Sarabjit Singh’s brave lawyer Awais Sheikh in Delhi some months ago, where his book was released. He was very confident Sarabjit wouldn’t be hanged. As was Justice (Retd.) Katju, who launched the book. Justice Katju said there was no point campaigning for Sarabjit’s release until the Pakistan elections were over. I got a similar impression of optimism from people who had been following the Sarabjit case.
Well, they were right. Sarabjit wasn’t hanged. But hanging is only one way of killing. Continue reading Sarabjit, Sanaullah, you and me
A large number of people have been asking me on Twitter over the last few days why I had signed a petition asking for Ajmal Kasab to be granted mercy and spared capital punishment. Kasab was hanged 21 November, why have all these people woken up to that petition now? That’s thanks to a belated but concerted online campaign initiated by the Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga-led Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena (BKSS), a rag-tag vigilante organisation which goes around threatening and committing violence against people it has political disagreements with. Continue reading Ajmal Kasab, Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, biryani and me
Sri Pranab Mukherjee
President of India
New Delhi – 110 004.
12 December 2012
Subject: Open letter regarding the resumption of executions in India
I am writing on behalf of Amnesty International regarding the recent resumption of executions in India after eight years, to urge the Indian authorities to immediately establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. Continue reading An open letter to the President of India: G. Ananthapadmanabhan
This release was put out yesterday by the PEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES
The secretive and stealthy hanging of Ajmal Kasab in Pune’s Yerwada Prison yesterday, 21st November, 2012, brings to an end the legal process involved in trying Kasab for the brutal assault by trained terrorists from across the border on Mumbai, the commercial capital of India which left 166 persons dead.
The Mumbai carnage of November 2008, more popularly abbreviated to a single term `26/11,’ constitutes one of the most heinous and deliberate attempts in recent years to cause mass mayhem and terror in India. Kasab was the only member of the terrorist team sent from Pakistan apprehended alive; he was caught on film diabolically using his modern automatic weapon in a cold blooded fashion, killing numerous people. The hanging, and the trial and legal proceedings which preceded it, admittedly complied with existing laws which permit death penalty, and cannot be faulted as such. While it may be argued, as many do that the hanging will help in an `emotional closure’ to the families of victims of 26/11, there are others who point out that other key issues still remain to be addressed. Families of victims in specific, as also other concerned citizens, have pointed out that Kasab was only a foot soldier and not the mastermind, who still remain at large. Continue reading Abolition of Death Penalty – A Time for National Reflection: PUCL
Rejoice, fellow Indians. Ajmal Kasab has been hanged. But please excuse me, I am not joining you. Your cheering and hooting and hurrahs feel like a medieval lynch mob celebrating the death of the sinner and not the sin. Barbaric is the word that comes to mind.
This isn’t merely about the morality or aesthetic of capital punishment. I want to ask you: what did we just achieve? Ten terrorists had come to kill and be killed, to cause maximum damage of the sort that they surely knew they’d be killed. Nine of them were killed in direct encounter. Did we hail their deaths? Do we say their deaths were justice? So if we killed Ajmal Kasab four years later- “with due process” – what exactly have we achieved? Continue reading Why I was saddened by Kasab’s execution
Someday, we will count how many minutes it took for television in India to start baying for Afzal Guru’s blood (once again) after Ajmal Kasab was buried in Yerwada Central Jail in Pune.
A man called Mohammad Afzal Guru, son of Habibullah Guru, currently resident in Ward Number 6 of Jail Number 1 in Tihar Central Prison in Delhi will hang to satisfy the bloodlust of the Indian Republic, unless the President of India decides otherwise. This text is an attempt to make us think about this decision and its ramifications carefully.
Continue reading Satyameva Jayate? On the impending execution of Afzal Guru
While the media has reported most families of those who died in 26/11 as hailing the execution of Ajmal Kasab, Bollywood actor Ashish Chowdhry refuses to be one of them. His sister Monica and her husband were amongst those who were killed at the Oberoi trident hotel. Given below are screenshots of Chowdhary’s tweets. Read from the last tweet upwards. Continue reading A 26/11 victim who refuses to celebrate Kasab’s execution
Guest post by YUG MOHIT CHAUDHRY
Under Article 72 of the Constitution of India, the President’s power to grant mercy comes into play only after the judicial system has confirmed the death sentence. Therefore, the confirmation of the death sentence by the highest court is a condition precedent to the grant of mercy. Judicial confirmation of the death sentence does not put the convict beyond the pale or disqualifies him from mercy; in fact it renders him eligible for mercy. Arguments that Kasab deserved no mercy once the Supreme Court confirmed his death sentence are misconceived.
It is only the rarest of rare crimes that shock the collective conscience of society and are truly unpardonable that are given the death sentence. In our constitutional scheme, it is therefore only persons committing such crimes that are eligible for mercy and pardon. If they are to be excluded from the ambit of mercy by the mere fact of having committed truly unpardonable crimes, the President’s power of mercy has no meaning. Paradoxically, the very fact that Kasab had indeed committed an unpardonable crime is what renders him eligible for mercy. Continue reading The Power of Mercy: Yug Mohit Chaudhry on the execution of Ajmal Kasab
The Naroda Patiya massacre in Ahemdabad on 28 February 2002 killed 97 Muslims. It is the massacre infamous for the gory stories of a pregnant woman disemboweled and raped, a 20 day child killed, and so on. If this massacre is not fit to be considered “rarest of the rare,” what is?
It is ironical that the court found the kingpin of the massacre to be a woman, Dr Maya Kodnani, a practicing gynaecologist, a former Minister of State for Women and Child Welfare in the Narendra Modi government! The court came down particularly hard on her, commenting that as a legislator, a representative of the people she had done the opposite of what she was expected to: she helped kill people rather than save them. “She led the mob and incited them to violence. She abetted and supported the violent mob,” the court observed.
However, special court judge Jyotsna Yagnik chose not to sentence the accused to death when he announced the sentencing on 1 September. Her court found 32 people guilty, of whom one is absconding. 7 will spend 31 years in jail, 22 will spend 24 years, Maya Kodnani 28 years and former Gujarat state Bajrang Dal president Babu Bajrangi is to live the rest of his life in jail. Continue reading Naroda Patiya judgement rekindles the death penalty debate in India