Update: Yakub Memon was hanged till death in Nagpur’s jail at 7 AM in the morning on 30th July, 2015. This article was written a night before he faced gallows.
All day long I had been reading articles on Yakub Memon, people contemplating the death sentence given to him, people exploring his case, making half-arguments, supporting and condemning his execution which I am still not sure would take place in Nagpur’s jail tomorrow morning at 7 AM. Though, it looks inevitable since all legal options have been exhausted.
Isn’t it a tough and a heavy burden to carry to sleep that tomorrow morning when you will wake up, one of the humans may or may not live to see the shining sun rays of the noon sky? The fact puts me in much pain, and agony that I cannot do anything to stop the authorities from executing him, to save a human life. My mind doesn’t let me think about the past, the crimes he may have committed, it only cares for the life that can still be saved, be it a devilish life, a life that may have committed a crime worthy of hell as per myth.
I am unbiasedly, blindly, and candidly against serving death sentence to any convict in any court all over the world. I believe there is already enough terrorism in this world, that we need more state-sponsored terrorism to meet the objectives of a patriotic nation. I would have given mercy to Kasab, Afzal Guru, Yakub Memon, Balwant Singh Rajoana, or the killers of Rajiv Gandhi, if it would have been in my control, or jurisdiction, but unfortunately it isn’t the case, and I cannot save Yakub Memon’s life tomorrow morning or a morning later. It feels my heart with much sorrow.
Now, as I come over my emotional and empathetic side, and clearly try to rationalize my opinion in this case, I realize I can only feel pain for Yakub Memon because I know about it before hand. I didn’t feel the same pain in case of Afzal Guru, or Kasab, both executions were done secretly, in short time without letting public ponder over the decision of the government. But then, India is a liberal society, public has all the reason to know about the government sponsored executions.
In the process of much rumination, I realize thousands of people die all across the country everyday, rather a much larger number of people must have been dying everyday all over the world, with a few regional wars going in the middle east with ISIS. Do I pity each death? No, I don’t. Because I don’t have the time to think about each one of them. But then why Yakub’s?
The free world, the world’s powerhouse, the oldest democracy, the philosopher nation that wants all the world to accept LGBT community, USA, executed 35 convicts in 2014. Can you believe that? China executes most number of people in a year as per records, but it doesn’t reveal the number of persons it executes and considers it to be a “state secret”. Still not impressed? Iran and Saudi Arabia have public executions. North Korea is also a major player in the field with executions taking place publicly.
India, on the other hand, has only executed 57 convicts since its independence, and only 3 individuals have been executed in last two decades, which includes Kasab, Afzal, and a brutal and inhumane rape convict.
For more than 8 years between 2004 and 2012, India didn’t execute any of convicted criminals and I thought India was moving towards a new path, I thought mercy would be granted to all at India’s door. But then Pranab Mukherjee became the President and since then India has already hanged two terrorists. Pranab Mukherjee has already rejected 22 out of 24 mercy petitions he has reviewed till now. Is he the most merciless President India has ever seen? I guess so. And with the continued trend, I fear Indians would have to see more executions in the coming days.
As I see it, the government has a duty to its citizens. If a terrorist activity takes place in the country, as much as terrorists are responsible, it is also a failure on part of government. The terrorists must be served the severest sentence, but a death for a death is never humane. We must keep them isolated forever, we must not allow them to do the same thing ever again, but we, as a liberal state, must never take a life when we don’t have to. And when we have the terrorist or the convict already in our custody, we never need to kill that person.
All of us here are talking about the one or two lives we can save, but I still believe India won’t have the mass thought appeal to see what only a few people are saying today, until we, as Indians, start to give an Indian life more value that it has today. Anywhere and everywhere, if we can save a live, we must strive to do that. Government must value an Indian life. All the real-life situations or cases of possible deaths must be controlled, and overall deaths should be reduced. There should be strict policies, and better system so that no farmer ever has to suicide. There should be better roads, more deployment of traffic police, and better ambulance services on National Highways, so that there is less loss of life in case of road accidents and there are less cases of road rage. Our hospitals should strive to save every possible patient that knocks on their door. We need to stop terrorists from attacking our country at any cost, so that we can save thousands of lives that are lost in a terrorist attack. We need to stop riots on the basis of petty communal issues between communities. Riots cause us more harm than any terrorist attack. We have lost more people because of riots since our independence than the number of people we have lost in all terrorist attacks combined. We need to up our standards of living so that we have more value as an ordinary human, as an ordinary Indian. Only then, our voice, my voice, and many other voices echoing to save a death convict would actually matter. Otherwise, what would another loss of life would change, if we are already losing thousands every day?
Some people, especially eminent politicians, and pseudo liberals, are using this point of time to give communal colors to the hanging of Yakub Memon. One thing must remain clear, nobody is above the Supreme Court of India. If the governor of Maharashtra, the President of India, the Chief Justice of India are again and again keeping the same sentence of death-on-gallows for Yakub Memon, I believe there would be enough proof to prove him one of the masterminds of 1993 blasts. There is no point arguing over this decision on the basis of some half-truths in media about Yakub Memon and his involvement in the blasts. I, you, and we are not the judges in Indian judiciary, so let those who are, do their job, and not question their judgement. It is completely gross and nonintellectual of any individual, especially a politician or a journalist, to try to prove Yakub’s innocence on the basis of some half-truths. But the reality is, the debate which should have been on the capital punishment, has taken communal colors. People are saying it is because of Yakub’s religion, that he is being executed by Indian government. Look, first thing, India is not a dictatorship. There are many individuals belonging to different parts of society, who take one decision, and even then there are many legal routes to stop an execution. Only if the crime is rare among the rarest, the criminal would be shown the inevitable path to gallows, as decided by all the individuals who have the power to take such decisions. Though, it is different matter that I am against a death sentence to any individual, as I have stated before in the beginning of my piece. Second thing, saying that Yakub is innocent, even after being proven guilty in the highest Indian court on more than one occasion, is itself a contempt of the court.
The sad part in the ongoing debate over the death row of Yakub Memon is that most people don’t want him hanged because they think he is innocent. Same people wouldn’t have raised their voice, if another individual of a different religion, was to be hanged till death tomorrow morning.
That should put someone to shame!
Now, to boast my case, I would reiterate that it is an entirely different matter to have an opinion that nobody, however brutal the crime may be committed by an individual, must ever be given a death sentence. Such opinion, as I am carrying it, has nothing to do with any religion.