Posts Tagged ‘Sarabjit Singh’

Would Gandhi have condoned Kasab’s hanging?

21 November 2012

On the eve of the winter session of Parliament and with the Gujarat elections around the corner, the scam and scandal-ridden Congress-led UPA has stumped the scam and scandal-ridden BJP-led NDA with its early-morning announcement of the hanging of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist involved in the 26/11 siege of Bombay.

Within a matter of hours, a weak government is being seen as assertive by the lynch mobs which routinely bay for blood, and a “soft-state” is slapping its thighs in delight, although the implications of the hanging—on India-Pakistan relations, on the fallout in the country, on the fate of Sarabjit Singh, etc—are still to be weighed.

Above all, in the very week India refused to be a signatory to a United Nations resolution banning the death penalty, the hanging of Ajmal Kasab, almost as if to satiate the public and political need for revenge and retribution, throws a big question mark over India’s presumed humanism of the land of the Mahatma.

The former diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar writes on

The vast majority of world opinion abhors meting out death penalty for any crime. This majority includes countries such as Russia, Israel UK and Germany that have been victims of terrorism. But Indian stands with stony hearts like the United States, China, Pakistan and Iran.

India’s plea is that it is its sovereign right to determine its own legal system, that death sentence is carried out India only on the “rarest of occasions” and that too with great deliberation. But India parries the big moral issue, which is that execution by the state (or the community) is nothing but a barbaric practice dating back tp primeval times when the thumb rule used to be “eye-for-an-eye”.

For India, it is a particularly agonizing question because Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism,  three finest flowers of its ancient civilization, all equally forbid such killings. Indians needs to reflect. I wonder if Gandhi would have condoned Kasab’s execution.

Read the full piece: India snuffs out Kasab‘s life

CHURUMURI POLL: Hang Afzal, Pardon Sarabjit?

19 March 2008

For a party that has turned its demand for the hanging of Mohammed Afzal Guru into a blood sport, nothing reveals the duplicitousness of the BJP better than its demand that the UPA government ensure the release of Sarabjit Singh, who is on the death row in Pakistan. “It is unfortunate that Sarabjit Singh, who has not even been identified for any act of violence is being hanged…,” party leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra began yesterday. And this, despite Pakistan’s Supreme Court having upheld the death sentence on Singh in August 2005, for his role in three bomb blasts in 1990, which claimed four lives and injured dozens. And this, despite Pakistan’s SC having slammed a lower court for convicting him on only one count of terrorism, “when he should have been convicted and sentenced for each murder in each case.”

Admittedly, this is a complex case, that has now come to be viewed through the prism of Indo-Pak diplomacy. Admittedly, the jury is still out on whether Sarabjit can be classified as a spy, saboteur or terrorist—over the last three years he has been described as all three. Admittedly, Sarabjit has possibly been framed and is possibly paying the price for the death of a Pakistani in an Indian jail on a much lesser charge. Admittedly, Sarabjit is as much a human being as anybody else, who has family and friends. Admittedly, the man should be given the benefit of doubt, especially after languishing in jail for 15 years. And hopefully, the man will be set free, sooner rather than later.

Still, can the BJP have one stand when it comes to hanging on Afzal Guru, and one on Sarabjit Singh? Are the two cases different, simply because the Afzal Guru was party to an attack on the “Temple of Indian Democracy”? Is terrorism on our shores worse than terrorism on theirs? Is a Supreme Court ruling in our country different from a Supreme Court ruling in theirs? Are the lives of parliamentarians more valuable than the lives of ordinary people? Do cases like Sarabjit Singh only underline the need for a complete and total ban on death sentences? Or, is a human life always more easily expendable for parties and governments depending on its religious persuasion?

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: A pardon for Afzal Guru?