President Pratibha Patil rejects the mercy petition of Rajiv Gandhi killers.
A howl goes up! Commotion! A plethora of humanist views, conservative arguments!
Karunanidhi, whose cabinet had rejected the mercy petition of these people 12 years back, pleads for their release.
Jayalithaa said initially that she did not have the power to recommend mercy for these killers. A week later she does a "U" turn and passes a resolution in the assembly seeking the President to reconsider her decision!
Madras High Court readily agrees to stay the execution!
“This is State terrorism. They committed a crime…why should we also do the same by giving them death penalty.” That was Manishankar Aiyer’s piece of wisdom. (Soniaji! Manmohanji!! Please give him some Ministry before his frustration at being sidelined makes any irreparable loss to the nation.)
“139 countries have abolished death penalty. Why not India?” (An enquiry commission is needed on this. Someone says 180 countries, someone else says 150 while others are content with less than100. Hope they don’t quote higher number of countries than what exist in the world as having abolished death penalty!)
“Execution punishes the person only for 5 seconds whereas life imprisonment punishes him for years,” opines Ram Jethmalani.
“Sonia and Priyanka themselves have no issue with showing them mercy; who are you guys to object?” (Looks like families of victims have special pardoning power apart from President and State Governors!)
Magnanimity! Generosity! Wow!
No, says the widow of a 26/11 victim; she points out in NDTV that she is suffering life imprisonment, not Kasab.
No, say the widows of police personnel killed along with Rajiv Gandhi; they argue vehemently against any mercy for Rajiv killers.
Again a no by the widows of security personnel killed in the Parliament attack for any mercy to be shown to Afzal Guru.
“But this is rightwing cynicism! Hanging the killers is not going to give them back their husbands.”
In that case life imprisonment or for that matter any imprisonment also is not going to give their husbands back. Why punish the killers, at all?
I am an ordinary citizen; UPA’s aam aadmi! I get confused with these ‘for’ and ‘against’ arguments. A friend of mine helped.
‘Humane’ Death penalty is needed!
Also the laws in this regard have become arcane, he pointed out. Whether President can
take 10 years to decide? Whether President is bound by Council of Ministers’ opinion? Whether State Assembly can pass a resolution for review of decision on mercy petition?
A Jan Penal Code is the second need, my friend concluded.
Now I understand. After the Jan Lokpal agitation, I have come to the conclusion that drafting a law will solve the problem- be it corruption or death penalty.
For the uninitiated, Sec 302 of Indian Penal Code provides for death penalty while Articles 72(1) and 72(2) of the Constitution empower the President and State Governor respectively to grant mercy.
Here we have the draft of the new law.
Sec 302 of the Jan Penal Code to read as follows:
‘(1) While the Indian State recognizes the inalienable right of everyone to commit murder and such other heinous crimes, it is constrained to punish the guilty (achiever?) with death.
Provided that murder for the above Sub Section (1) does not include accidental, inadvertent or premeditated, coercive killing of a person.
(2) Nothing contained in Sub Section (1) above will apply to a murder committed by a person-
- who is a Tamil or a Malayalee or a Kanadiga or a Telugu or a Kashmiri or a Bihari or a Gujarathi or a Maharashtrian or a Bengali or who lives in any of the other Indian States as the relevant sentiments, pride and culture of the State has to be respected or
- Who is not a citizen of India.
(3) To save the time of making a mercy petition to the President or Governor, it is provided that every judgment of a High Court or Supreme Court handing death sentence will automatically serve as a mercy petition to the President or Governor.
(4) In order to avoid any delays in President’s or Governor’s office in taking a decision on a mercy petition, it is further provided that if the President or Governor does not take a decision within 30 days of the High Court or Supreme Court judgment, it will be assumed that he has agreed to grant mercy.
(5) On the lines of Special Economic Zones (SEZ), the government will announce from time to time Special Terrorism Zones (STZ) where Indian or foreign terrorists are free to kill others and no court shall take cognizance of the offence.’
Nice draft! Murder is not murder; no Indian or foreigner can ever be punished under the above law!
But drafting a bill is not enough. You need to force the government to pass the same in the Parliament.
My friend advised me to form a Criminal Society. Manishankar Aiyer readily agreed to play ‘Arvind Kejrival’ for our Society. Arundhati Roy will be our Kiran Bedi.
So we applied to P Chidambaram’s Delhi Police seeking permission to undertake ‘fast unto death’ in Ramlila grounds. (We ignored the plea of “Political Fasting” last week to leave her alone.)
The Delhi Police have given us the following “reasonable” conditions for undertaking ‘fast unto death’ at Ramlila Grounds:
- We should not fast for more than 3 hours between any two meals.
- We should not fast for more than a day.
- We should ensure that we do not get a crowd of more than 10 people.
- While Delhi Police does not have any objection to people parking their vehicles in their houses and attending the fast, it has generously permitted the participants to park a maximum of 2 cars in NOIDA, 2 scooters in Gurgaon and one cycle in Chandigar. After parking their vehicles at the above mentioned places, the participants can walk to Ramilila Grounds.
The fast unto death is scheduled for September 31st.
NDTV, CNN-IBN, Times Now and other channels have a permanent off-site crew at Ramlila. Hence the event will be fully covered.
Please do not lose the opportunity to participate in this historical movement.
Government can send Kapil Sibal to do the negotiations with us.