Yakub Menon was murdered yesterday morning. Apparently it was his birthday. When his brother Suleman and his cousin Usman met him on Wednesday afternoon his words to them, as reported in today’s Indian Express, were – “Agar woh mujhey mere bhai ke gunahon ke liye sazaa de rahe hain, toh mujhe kabool hai. Par agar unko lagta hai ki mein gunehgaar hoon aur sazaa de rahe hain, toh yeh galat hai. Main bekasoor hoon.” (If they are punishing me for the sins of my brother, then I accept this verdict. But if they are punishing me because they think I am guilty, then it is wrong. I am innocent.)
The anger that I felt when a young woman was brutally raped and killed by a group of men on the night of December 16 last year is not something that will ever go away. It marked not just me, but millions of people in Delhi, and elsewhere. That anger has no closure. Nor do I seek the convenience of such a closure. I do not seek the convenience of closure for the rape and murder of dalit women in Haryana, or of women in Kunan-Poshpora and elsewhere in Jammu & Kashmir or in Manipur who were raped and killed by the soldiers of the Indian army and who are still unpunished. I would like such men to be punished, but I will never demand the penalty of death for them. Not because I have any affection for rapists, but because I have a greater regard and respect for human life, which I do not think that we should allow the state to take away, in cold pre-meditation, whatever the circumstances.
Guest Post by Nirmalangshu Mukherji
Since the secret hanging and burial of Afzal Guru in Tihar jail, many writers have justly condemned the manner in which the government conducted the execution . However, once the state decides to hang a person, the issue of whether the killing took place in a ‘transparent’ and ‘dignified’ manner is a largely aesthetic one. The process that initiated the killing continues to be of primary epistemic concern.
No doubt the manner and timing of the hanging clearly indicates that the government had ulterior political motives in mind. Yet, these motives are better understood in terms of the political considerations that guided the case of Afzal Guru from his arrest to the rejection of his mercy petition. His hanging within a few days of the presidential rejection was just the inevitable culmination of this political process.
Guest post by CHANDAN GOMES
Ever since the news of Afzal Guru’s execution broke out on the 9th, I have witnessed my personal space descend into a state of chaos. I woke up that morning to a number of emails/facebook messages by friends requesting me to join them at Jantar Mantar to protest against Guru’s execution. Many called that particular protest farcical, some even going to the extent of labelling these young men and women as traitors. Battle lines were drawn and a country stood divided. The more I thought about the execution, the more it saddened me. I could see myself and people like me (the ordinary citizens of this great nation) as pawns in a game of ugly power play, waiting to be sacrificed at the altar of ‘opportune moment’. Continue reading What Afzal Deserves: Chandan Gomes
A small group of citizens, mainly young people from different universities in Delhi, and people associated with civil rights groups and initiatives, had gathered at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi this afternoon at 1:00 pm to express their protest against the execution by hanging of Afzal Guru at 8:00 am this morning in Tihar Prison.
The protest was dignified and entirely peaceful. It was interrupted suddenly when a large mob gathered and began heckling the protestors. I was present there, and I clearly heard this mob of young men hurl, unprintable abuses at the men and women who were peacefully protesting against the execution of Afzal Guru. Some of them wore saffron scarves that clearly identified them as being the storm troopers of the far right. They repeatedly chanted violent and incendiary slogans which included the following – “shoot them all”, “kill the traitors”. These alternated with patriotic chants. I have never seen a more nakedly bloodthirsty exhibition of the far right wing version of Indian nationalism on the streets of Delhi. The mob made threatening gestures and advanced towards the line of protestors. Continue reading Peaceful Protest Against Afzal Guru’s Execution at Jantar Mantar Broken Up by Right Wing Goons and Delhi Police
Guest post by ANONYMOUS
Rape is allowed because most people don’t know what it is.
To say that victims understand it is assuming too much. The immediate affect will be a deep, invisible wound. After years of counselling it will still hurt and terrorise. All the strength in the world, at the individual and existential levels, will fall short. Very often the crime will remain unreported. Rather than empowering women, the legal system will manage so few convictions that it will itself be the greatest perpetrator.
The perpetrators, as in the actual rapists, know as much or as little as the victims. They will go unarrested, unnoticed, unashamed, and this will fuel their psychopathy. They may or may not realise that rape is not about sex but power.
This public statement was issued by AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL in June
India: Amnesty International calls for death sentence on Devender Pal Singh not to be carried out
AI Index ASA 20/033/2011
Amnesty International calls on the Government of India not to carry out the death sentence imposed on Devender Pal Singh in 2001 after his conviction in an unfair trial. Under international law, the execution of a person convicted and sentenced to death in an unfair trial is a violation of the right to life. Continue reading Why Devender Pal Singh Bhullar should not be hanged