Rapes will come down if people shun meat, alcohol: Swami Agnivesh #WTFnews


PTI | Apr 27, 2013,

NEW DELHI: Rape cases will come down if people shun non-vegetarian food and alcohol, activist Swami Agnivesh said on Saturday.

“We cannot stop a crime like rape by policing only…. I think rapes will come down significanlty if people stop eating non-vegetarian. There has been lot of research on this…. Rapes will come down significantly if alcohol consumption is not there,” he told reporters here.

He said a lot of crimes and accidents take place due to consumption of alcohol.

Arguing on the benefits of a vegetarianism, he said Japanese scientists conducted a study on the oldest man on earth recently and they found that he was a vegeterian.

“Every research conducted in this world points to one fact that red meat is the reason behind all diseases,” he said.

Agnivesh said that all the six accused in the gruesome rape of a young girl in a moving bus on December 16 last year were drunk as well as the accused in the recent incident of sexual assault on a five-year-old girl.

“In both the incidents, the accused consumed alcohol. This explains clearly that alcohol drove them to commit the crime. Alcohol shuts down the moral thinking of a person,” he said.

“Government is not ending alcohol-production in the country as it fetches revenue. All the states have now started competing to outnumber each other in alcohol production. This has become the norm,” he said.

Expressing concern over the fact that everyday one billion animals are slaughtered, he said that “its consequesnce will be severe.”

Regretting the loss of values in human beings, Agnivesh said, “There are no moral and spiritual values left in people. Schools today do not teach children about the evil-consequences of drinking. We cannot blame an individual for a crime. The society, as a whole, is responsible.”

Asked about whether death penalty will stop rape, Swami said, “Death penalty will not do anything. I do not support it. Death sentence should not given to anybody including those who attack Parliament. Even Kasab should not have been given death sentence,” he said.

Justice A P Shah – “One hardly finds a rich or affluent person going to the gallows” #deathpenalty


Justice Shah talks to AmnestyDeath Penalty in India: “One hardly finds a rich or affluent person going to the gallows”

In November 2012, Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was hanged in the country’s first execution in more than eight years. Three months later, Afzal Guru was executed after his clemency petition was rejected by the President; Guru had been convicted in 2005 of being involved in the 2001 attack on Parliament.

More recently, the government has expanded the scope of the death penalty by amending laws to provide for this punishment in certain cases of rape. The Supreme Court last week also rejected an appeal against the decision by the President to reject Devender Pal Singh’s mercy petition. In a trial that has raised serious fair trial concerns, Devender Pal Singh was found guilty of planning an explosion that killed nine people in 1993. His sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2002 and he has been on death row since.

The recent decision of the Supreme Court is likely to affect at least 17 more prisoners who are asking for commutation of their death sentences on the grounds of delay in the disposal of their mercy petitions by the President. Justice A. P. Shah, a former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, is one of the most outspoken opponents of capital punishment in the country. He shared his views on the death penalty in this interview with Amnesty International.

What is the state of the death penalty in India?

India has carried out only very few executions since the 1990s. However, the brutal gang rape of a 23-year old woman in Delhi last year intensified public calls for the imposition of the death penalty.

Why should India abolish the death penalty?

Whether an accused is sentenced to death or not is an arbitrary matter and depends on a number of factors, ranging from the competence of the legal representation to the interest of the central government in a particular case and the personal predilections of the judges. It is beyond any shred of doubt that in India, it is the judges’ subjective discretion that eventually decides the fate of an accused. Also, confessions and witness testimonies play a more vital role in India than in many other countries, given that forensic and other scientific evidence are not so frequently adopted here. Most death sentences are awarded on circumstantial evidence alone. Even the use of professionally trained witnesses by the police is common.

Why do you say the death penalty is discriminatory?

In India, it is largely cases involving the poor and the down-trodden – who are the victims of class-bias – which result in an imposition of a death penalty. Here one hardly finds a rich or affluent person going to the gallows. Therefore, it is apparent that the death penalty, as it is used now, is discriminatory. It strikes mostly against the disadvantaged sections of society, showing its arbitrary and capricious nature – thus rendering it unconstitutional. You have expressed concerns about the execution of Afzal Guru, who was convicted of being involved in 2001 attack on Parliament in Delhi Several disturbing trends emerge from his execution, which must be highlighted. For example, the rejection of his clemency petition by the President on 3 February 2013 was kept a secret and was not communicated to his family. Afzal Guru was executed within a week without his family being informed and his body was buried secretly. There are also serious doubts about the quality of evidence and whether he was adequately represented legally during his trial.

What’s the future of the death penalty in India?

The global trend is increasingly and overwhelmingly in favour of abolition. We would be deluding ourselves if we were to believe that the execution of a few persons sentenced to death will provide a solution to the unacceptably high rates of crime. In reality, capital punishment does not have any deterrent effect.

Justice A. P. Shah is one of 14 retired judges who last year called on the Indian President to commute 13 death sentences that, they maintain, were imposed in a manner inconsistent with the law. –

 

CRPP Statement of on Death Sentence to Bhullar


Committe for Release of Political Prisoners

That the conviction of Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar was solely based on a confession statement attributed to him which he had denied in the court makes the decision even more regressive thus exposing even the fallacious claims of the SC that capital punishment should only be given in the ‘rarest of rare’ cases. Significantly, when Mr. Bhullar was being extradited from Germany it was assured by the Government of India that he won’t be condemned to death.
It was in 2001 that Bhullar was sentenced to death by the trial court. He has been in prison since 1995 after his extradition. Thus, Bhullar has already spent more than eighteen years in prison, which is longer than a life term. Thus, by refusing to consider the inordinate delay as a reason for the commutation of death sentence, the Supreme Court is violating the Fundamental Right guaranteed by Article 20(2), that no person shall be punished twice for the same offence.
The ten-year long delay in disposing the mercy petition by the President of India was the ground on which Bhullar had sought commutation of his death penalty as it was a blatant violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India while at the same inflicting further pain and cruelty on him through the prolonged incarceration after the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence.
As in effect, Bhullar has already served a life term and is now on death row. What is even more alarming is that there are seventeen convicts on death row and the rejection of Bhullar’s plea is going to have an adverse effect on all these seventeen cases. The Indian ruling classes and their politics of jingoism and hate is definitely on the slippery slope heading for an orgy of judicial executions, which was triggered by the secret executions of Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru.
Similar to the case of Afzal Guru, the conviction of Bhullar is also on shallow grounds. Bhullar was convicted under the draconian TADA. On appeal, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the TADA Court under a split verdict of 2 to 1. The presiding judge Justice MB Shah had acquitted Bhullar of all charges under TADA. His confession, which was found to be concocted, was also rejected as it was at odds with the testimony of the prosecution witnesses. Thus, the split verdict should have been a good reason for the President to accept the mercy petition and for the Supreme Court to commute death to life. However, it was rejected in 2011 on a completely arbitrary basis eight years after it was filed. The prolonged incarceration had its toll on the health of Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar as he was undergoing treatment for mental illness. Needless to say that to hang someone who is mentally ill speaks more about the overall depredation of the ruling classes of India to the vast sections of the toiling masses.
It is with intrigue one would look into the contradicting positions taken by the Supreme Court vis-à-vis its stand on death sentence. Just a week after the Supreme Court had stayed temporarily the death sentence of 8 people another bench of the same court has rejected the plea of Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar to commute his death sentence to life. A few months before the SC had in retrospect observed that Capital Punishment can only be given in the rarest of rare cases after making it doubly sure that the evidence provided in reaching the conclusion that the said case is the rarest of the rare should be impeccable while ensuring that the law has been upheld in reaching the above said conclusion. This introspection had also brought forth the glaring facts that in ninety nine percent of the cases of award of death sentence there was a terrible miscarriage of justice. While staying the death sentence of 8 people temporarily on the first week of April 2013 the SC had observed the need to follow procedures while executing the death sentence thus partially admitting the glaring anomalies in the ‘secret’ hanging to death of Mohd. Afzal Guru.
It is well established that death penalty – being neither a deterrent nor reformatory in nature- serves no cause other than that of retributive justice. Most civilized countries (more than 140) have banned death penalty. Even though the Supreme Court of India has enunciated the jurisprudence of the “rarest of the rare”, the hard reality is that the Indian Courts have awarded death penalty at the rate of 133 per year over the last ten years. So the rarest of the rare cases are decided by the Indian courts once in every three days!
In the seventy page judgement rejecting the plea to commute the death penalty given to Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, the Supreme Court bench quotes generously from the 35th Report of the Law Commission as it states “…Having regard, however, to the conditions in India, to the variety of the social upbringing of its inhabitants, to the disparity in the level of morality and education in the country, to the vastness of its area, to diversity of its population and to the paramount need for maintaining law and order in the country at the present juncture, India cannot risk the experiment of abolition of capital punishment.” [p-3] This above mentioned quote selected by the bench from the Law Commission Report explains the Court’s burden of civilizing the inhabitants in the vastness of the subcontinent through the instrument of death penalty! And this colonial mindset also explains considerably why the rhetoric of rarest of the rare has metamorphosed to be the common thing in the practice of jurisprudence in India.
As long as the lived reality of inequality endures in the Indian subcontinent through the systematic dog-eat-dog policies of various governments, such a reality may be weighed against the consequences its legal system evokes in the name of its people’s. If the Indian state continues to embrace [capital punishment] in the name of retributive or utilitarian values, then inequality remains not just a “tolerable” value for the government and the policy makers who vouches unabashedly by a system based on greed and unrequited accumulation especially in the era of Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation. Inequality remains a value that is acted upon and thus preserved inextricably through the state’s persistent willingness to use the punishment of death.
We condemn strongly the act of the Indian state to enforce violence on people through the instrument of death penalty! Without a strong upsurge of the people against such draconian and barbaric instruments of violence of the State we will be condemned to be at the receiving end of a penal state that is increasingly becoming fascist. We demand that the DEATH SENTENCENCE ON DAVINDER PAL SINGH BHULLAR BE IMMEDIATELY REVOKED!
In Solidarity,
SAR Geelani
President

Amit Bhattacharyya
Secretary General

P. Koya
Vice President

MN Ravunni
Vice President

Rona Wilson
Secretary, Public Relations

 

#Deathpenalty- resurfacing in #India – 16mercy petitions rejected in 9 months #WTFnews


Pranab Mukherjee Rejected 16 Mercy Petitions in 9 Months

NEW DELHI | APR 12, 2013, outlook
There was a long delay in deciding mercy pleas by the Presidents, which was also highlighted by the Supreme Court today, but the situation changed when Pranab Mukherjee took charge on July 25 last year, disposing of petitions of 16 condemned prisoners within nine months.The petitions for clemency filed by sandalwood smuggler Veerappan‘s elder brother Gnanaprakash and his aides Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran were rejected by Mukherjee on February 13. The four had then obtained a stay on their execution from the apex court on February 18.

Besides the four, the others whose mercy pleas have been rejected by the President since taking charge are — Suresh, Ramji, Gurmeet Singh, Praveen Kumar, Sonia and her husband Sanjeev, Sundar Singh, Jafar Ali, Dharampal and Saibanna Ningappa Natikar.

Except Dharampal and Natikar, the others had moved the apex court on April 6 and obtained a stay on their execution for four weeks.

Mukherjee also commuted the death sentence of two death row inmates, including Atbir, to life imprisonment.

Atbir was convicted for murder of his step-mother, step-sister and step-brother over property.

Dharampal was convicted for murdering five members of the family of a girl he had raped. He had committed the murders while out on parole in the rape case.

Sonia and Sanjeev were awarded death penalty for killing eight members of her family, including her parents and three children of her brother in 2001.

Gurmeet Singh was convicted of killing 13 of his family members in 1986. Jafar Ali had murdered his wife and five daughters. Suresh and Ramji killed five of their relatives.

Natikar was awarded death penalty for killing his wife and daughter, Praveen was convicted for killing four members of a family in February 1994 and Sundar Singh was convicted for murder of five members of his brother’s family in June 1989.

A recent study by Amnesty International reveals that death penalty resurfaced in India, during 2012, after a long lull in execution at the gallows, while several other nations are opting for penal system free of capital punishment.

Full Story:

In its recent report based on extensive study, Amnesty International has revealed that the death penalty has resurfaced in India in 2012.

Amnesty International claimed in London that the resumption of the death penalty was facilitated by public pressures and political motives in India.

[Jan Erik Wetzel, Death Penalty Advisor at Amnesty International]:
“The resumption of the executions in India is most likely based on a variety of reasons. One of which is public pressure and another one would be political considerations by the government in place.”

[Ravi Prakash, Senior Advocate]:
“Death sentence acts as a deterrent and therefore, death sentence has been retained in the Indian Penal Code and by our legal system. But the court has said that it should be given only in a very rare of the rarest circumstances and not keeping in view that way of the retribution, you are conferring the death sentence on anybody.”

In November, India carried out its first execution since 2004 when the country hanged Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of the militant squad that killed 166 people in the 2008 attacks on the financial capital Mumbai.

Kasab’s execution sparked off celebrations across India.

People burst firecrackers and exchanged sweets among themselves to hail this execution as a justice for the victims of Mumbai attacks.

India had also recently approved a tougher new law to punish sex crimes, including death for repeat rape offenders, after the fatal gang rape of a student in December.

That event sparked unprecedented protests over the treatment of women in the country.

[Abhas Kumar, Student of New Delhi]:
Death punishment in India is necessary to warn and evoke fear in the minds of people. Criminal activities are increasing. Criminals here are not afraid to commit crimes because they feel that they will be released from jail in two or three days and above all, the trial against them takes a long time.”

The Amnesty International study said that besides India, executions resumed in other countries of the Asia-Pacific region including Japan and Pakistan, after it seemed that they had done away with the punishment.

 

#India – Suprme Court rejects Devinderpal Singh Bhullar’s appeal #deathpenalty


Supreme Court verdict could impact other death row prisoners

death-penalty
Reported by A Vaidyanathan, Ketki Angre, Edited by Surabhi Malik | Updated: April 12, 2013

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court has ruled that a death sentence cannot be commuted to life imprisonment because of a delay in execution.

The court has rejected an appeal by Devinderpal Singh Bhullar against his hanging, and could impact the cases of 16 other prisoners on death row who have pleaded against their punishment.

Bhullar had appealed against his execution on the grounds that his petition for mercy was kept pending by the President of the country for eight years. He was given the death sentence for killing nine people with a car bomb in Delhi in 1993.

Bhullar’s wife was in court when the verdict against him was announced. “The court didn’t consider our points,” she said.  Bhullar’s family and friends say that his time in prison has affected his mental health.

Activists and lawyers for Bhullar and other prisoners have said that inordinate delays in deciding requests for clemency amount to cruelty and violate the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

In Tamil Nadu, today’s verdict will be  carefully assessed to determine the potential fallout on the case of  three men who have spent 22 years in a jail in Tamil Nadu for their role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Their appeal for clemency was rejected after 11 years in August 2011.  All parties in the state have passed a resolution stating that they should not hang.

Human rights groups have been critical of India for executing two prisoners in the last few months. Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was hanged in November 2012 in Pune for his role in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. In February, Afzal Guru was hanged in Delhi; he had been convicted of assisting in the attack on Parliament in 2001. His family was informed of his execution two days after he was buried at Tihar Jail.

 

The disturbing truth about an execution #Afzalguru #deathpenalty


USHA RAMANATHAN, The Hindu March 13,2012

 

 

By hanging Afzal Guru secretly so that he could not approach the courts, and ignoring the pending case that could have affected his sentence, the Home Minister acted illegally

On March 6, 2013, in response to an RTI request, the President’s Secretariat made available documents pertaining to Ajmal Kasab’s mercy petition. People from across the country and the globe had written to the President asking that he use his clemency power so that the power of the state to take life would be reined in. Recurring with unexpected frequency was an appeal that, if the mercy petitions were to be rejected, the “President and the Ministry of Home Affairs … respect the practice of promptly informing the individual, his lawyers, his family, of the decision, reasons for the decision, and proposed date of execution as well as the public of any scheduled execution.” Ajmal Kasab was hanged in secrecy on November 21, 2012. Less than three months later there was another secret execution, of Afzal Guru.

In India, of course, this is not about a ‘practice’. It is the law. On February 9, 2013, when Afzal Guru was hanged, was the law followed?

PROCEDURE FLOUTED

The disturbing truth is that Afzal Guru’s execution was illegal. The government flouted the procedure established by law in executing Afzal Guru the way it did; and the Constitution is categorical, in Article 21, that no one shall be deprived of life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. The Jail Manual is clear: “On receipt from the Administrator of the final confirmation about the date of execution of a convict, the convict and his relatives shall be informed about the date of execution by the Superintendent.” ‘On receipt of’ the ‘final confirmation’, the convict is to be informed. It is, however, reported that Afzal Guru was not informed till 5 a.m. on the day that he was hanged; a mere two hours before he was taken to the gallows. It is impossible, not merely improbable, that the Superintendent did not know about the date of execution till that last minute. By not informing Afzal Guru, the Superintendent breached the law.

The relatives too “shall be informed” about the date of the execution on receipt of final confirmation. To inform is not to send a letter or other missive; the duty cast by the law on the Superintendent is to ‘inform.’ The point of the provision is to give notice of the impending execution of the convict. Afzal Guru’s family learnt of the execution when the rest of the world heard about it, and through the press. The letter sent by speed post reached them two days after he had been executed. Informing the family is not, as some have suggested, about humanitarian considerations; this is about a violation of the law in the process of depriving a person of life.

It is reported that Afzal Guru was buried in jail “in accordance with a directive from the Delhi administration, with the jail authorities saying that there was no request from the family to claim it” (Economic Times, 15.2.2013) This was a deliberate and self-serving distortion of facts.

The Jail Manual prescribes that the convict may “if he so desires, be permitted to prepare a will in accordance with his wishes. If the convict does not desire to prepare his will, his statement to that effect shall be recorded by the Superintendent”. Was Afzal Guru given time to decide about his will? If he was informed of his impending execution at 5 a.m., as is reported, could that have provided him with the opportunity to decide about his will? He had not met his family in a long time. He had no time to get legal help — something that evaded him at every turn. And he was being informed of his execution, literally, on his way to the gallows. Does this constitute conformity with the law? Plainly not.

DELIBERATE BREACH

It appears from pronouncements following the execution that these breaches were not caused due to oversight; that they were deliberate. If there are no adverse consequences for these deliberate violations of the procedure prescribed while taking life, it will clear the way for absolute power over life and death. Afzal is beyond reach, so the wrong done to him cannot be undone. His family, however, has borne the pain that this injustice, and violations of the law, have brought to them. Few would disagree that the family has been wronged. There have to be consequences. A public apology which will be an acknowledgement of the wrong done — that will also dilute the impunity that is growing every passing day. Reparation, to the family that has been wronged. And, action against those who were in violation of the law; that would be an act of respect for the rule of law.

Secret executions seem to have acquired the status of state practice. When Kasab was hanged, surreptitiously, in the early hours of November 21, 2012, the Home Minister explained that one of the reasons for practising secrecy was to avoid the possibility of anyone approaching the court, which could delay the execution. He repeated it, as one would a formula, after Afzal Guru’s execution. This is unconstitutional. No one can be deprived of his or her right to judicial recourse. For the Home Minister of the country to ensure secret execution so that such judicial recourse may be denied is against all norms of civilised jurisprudence.

A Bench of the Supreme Court has reserved orders on the effect of delay on the execution of the sentence of death. The judgment of the court, which is yet to be delivered, would have had a direct bearing on whether Afzal Guru’s death sentence could be carried out, or not; he had been under the shadow of the death sentence for over 10 years when he was hanged. On 20 February, 2013, when a three judge bench of the Supreme Court stayed the execution of the four alleged aides of the forest brigand Veerappan, it was on the express recognition that the decision of the court that had reserved orders was of direct relevance to the convicts before the court.

This was the judicial consideration to which Afzal Guru was entitled. The punishment is irreversible, and, for that reason, should have been deferred till the outcome in the pending challenge. By executing him secretly so that he may not approach the courts, and by ignoring the pending case that could impact on his death sentence, the Home Minister acted illegally. The court needs to demand an explanation from the Minister about the nature of the power he seems to think he has.

LACK OF REPRESENTATION

On 11 February, 2013, two days after he had been executed, a case was quietly disposed of in the Supreme Court. Early in 2011, Afzal Guru had filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking for his transfer to Srinagar Central Jail so that his family, which included his mother, wife and young son, could visit him — something that distance and cost was making prohibitive. This case was filed through the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, but the lawyer was repeatedly absent from the hearings, which prompted the court to ask the SCLSC to look into it and submit a report to the court.

As reported by V. Venkatesan in The Hindu (19.2.2013), the lawyer told the court on 23 November 2012 that someone else would be representing Afzal Guru; the court asked the SCLSC to find an explanation for the tardiness and submit a report to the court; the status of the case, on 4 January, 2013 did not indicate that any report had been filed. This was just one more time that Afzal Guru was left without proper representation. And, a single judge, in chambers, on 11 February, merely took judicial notice of the execution, found that the hanging had made the petition infructuous, and dismissed the petition!

The least that this calls for is an enquiry, followed by consequences for violations of the law, an apology and reparation to the family of Afzal Guru, an end to secret executions and a guarantee of non-repetition.

(The writer is research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, teaches law at the Indian Law Institute and is a regular guest professor in many universities around the world)

 

Why India Needs The Death Penalty


CARTOON COURTESY: FACEBOOK
OPINION
India is not a weak state. This is not about Politics but Justice. Justice must not only be strong but also seen to be strong.

So, The Law has been taking its Own Course, without any help from the political bankruptcy of the Kangress party. The Law took its Own Course and hanged Ajmal Kasab before a Parliament session and co-incidentally Afzal Guru before another Parliament session. The Law’s Own Course is stranger than the river Kosi which changes direction at will (actually, even the Kosi river changes directions because of corruption in the unnecessary embankments the Bihar government builds).

Criticism that the United Progressive Alliance government helped the Law take its Own Course has been taken too personally by the otherwise thick-skinned government. So personally that they even have a response! There’s been unfounded criticism  that Afzal Guru was unfairly targeted to deprive the BJP of a stick they’d been beating the Kangress with, to play to the gallery, to appear strong, pro-active and to prove that we indeed have a government in place. But you can’t please everybody. For instance, Omar Abdullah, otherwise a good boy, had the gumption to ask the Gandhi Party to ‘prove’ that Afzal’s was not a selective execution.

The Collective Conscience of Society, by which we mean the evil side of Rashtrapati Pranab Poltu Mukherjee, Misses Sonia Gandhi, Dr Manmohan Singh and Shri Sushilkumar Shinde, has thus been awakened. Replying the critics is easy. We can just hang a few more people. There are so many to hang, where do we start? Let’s dispense with some non-Muslims for a change? After all, Rarest of the Rare happens Every Third Day. Let’s find someone who’s not a political hot potato. No Khalistanis or Tamil nationalists please, we can only hurt Kashmiri sentiments because Misses Gandhi is 50% Kashmiri and Rahul baba 100% only. Rajiv Gandhi’s killers have already been forgiven by Priyanka didi.

And so they found four guys who killed 22 people in a landmine blast. Five of themwere policemen. Waging war against the state, killing policemen. When policemen kill people we say “Law and Order” or “Encounter”. That’s exactly also what we can say when we hang killers of policemen!  These four guys were with that bandit Veerappan, the Collective Conscience only wishes he was alive so we could feel rejoice with the thought of him choking to death. But since we killed him in an encounter long ago, we could kill these four. Killing people who kill people is the best form of reforming killers. If Sharia states do it why can’t we? We are the land of Due Process and self-multiplying Gandhis.

Killing those four in return will definitely establish that India is a country where the Rule of Law Prevails. That will leave only 472 more Rarest of the Rares to be despatched.  God knows how many political crises the United Progressive Alliance government will face until elections come. How many more chopper purchase scams, how many more exposes by whatshisname Kejriwal, how many more people taking exception to rape and demanding stupid committee reports to be implemented as if these people own the country! Not even Digvijaya ji’s personal Swami and astrologer can tell the embarrassment that’s in store when there will be assembly elections in five states later this year. Some irritants will ask for food security bill and some will say budget is not good and inflation is too much and cash is not transferring through Nandan Nilekani’s nose. Every time the ungrateful aam aadmi whines like a cry baby, show them the Collective Conscience. Hang some bastard and the camel will come under the hill!

There may be some teething troubles like lack of rope but rest assured the Planning Commission will do something and we’ll pull off the Great Indian Rope Trick just as well as we pulled off the Commonwealth Games.

So what if a little bit of lying is needed? Lying for a good cause is as good as speaking the truth, as Advani ji, Narendra Modi ji and George Orwell ji always say. Why can’t the Kangress take the best of Hinduism from the Hindutvawaadis? To give you the example of lying for the good of the Collective Conscience, Chiddu had said Afzal was not being hanged because executions are by Serial Order. Much older mercy petitions have not been disposed off, he had argued, so why are you harping on Afzal? If anyone now asks what happened to Chiddu’s Serial Order theory, we can just say he was a bit over-influenced by Nandan’s UID numbers. He now looks after the fiscal deficit, Shinde is da man.

Similarly, don’t let these four Veerappan guys meet their lawyers once Poltu da rejects their mercy petition. If they can’t meet lawyers how will they sign on affidavits asking for judicial review? See how smart we are! Don’t reveal the date on which we want to hang them, we’ll decide depending on when Arnab Goswami is particularly angry with us. If somebody goes to the Chief Justice asking him to stay the execution, he can always say what proof they are going to execute the next day?! Pray tell, when there is no baans how will anyone play thebansuri.

But listen, we can’t hide from the public that we’ve rejected their mercy petitions. Such special honour is only reserved from Pakistanis like Ajmal Kasab and Kashmiris like Afzal Guru. That’s because Kashmiris are an integralpart of India,and Pakistanis our estranged brothers (Sardar Patel ji and Nehru ji helped create Pakistan.) Letting the public know that we’re going to hang the four Veerappan guys, they may go to the court and delay their execution by arguing that we delayed it! Just like that Saibanna character.

To help the Law take its Own Course, we must always hang people in secrecy, not give the losers time to cry before their families or write long last letters or god forbid, meet their lawyers to file review petitions! Already that Saibanna escaped our rat trap and went crying to the court, arguing that he should not be hanged just because we took so long to decide to hang him. What hypocrites these human rights types? Don’t those they killed have human rights? First these people complain like cry babies that the Law takes too long to take its Own Course, and when the Law takes its Own Course they still complain and say want the Law to take even more time to take its Own Course! Do they believe in the Constitution of India? Are they Maoists or what?

We ourselves had to stop that Rajoana‘s execution because the Sikhs don’t want it. Arey, is Collective Conscience of Society not applicable to the Sikhs? Are the Sikhs not an integral part of India like the Kashmiris? Why is the BJP not demanding Rajoana’s execution? This is why we hate hypocrites and always ask people to vote for Kangress. This is why the Kangress is a Secular party.

These human rights types, who think only humans have human rights, don’t realise we are in the new India – India After Rahul Gandhi. They give silly arguments from Old India. They cite some Kehar Singh vs Union of India (1989) and B P Singhal vs Union of India (2010) to say the orders of the President under Article 72 of the Constitution are subject to judicial review. Arre, what is the point of giving Rashtrapati ji the power of mercy if it is still to be subjected to judicial review once the Law has taken its Own Course.

Didn’t the Law take its own Course when three thousand trees were cut to make up for the big tree fell in 1984? Didn’t the Law take its own Course when Gujarat played Holi with Muslims? In Bhagalpur, Kokrajhar, Khairlanji and so on, didn’t the Law take its Own Course? So why are these hypocrites defending Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru and those Veerappan’s buddies?

Just as promises are meant to be broken, mercy is meant to not be given. India is not a weak state. This is not about Politics but Justice. Justice must not only be strong but also seen to be strong. Those who confuse Justice with Politics and claim that Law has taken some course other than its very Own, forget that as Misses Gandhi once said, Yeh janta hai sab jaanti hai.

All these people need to understand that we are not like any other banana republic. We are our own indigenous Hindu banana republic with secular values, democracy, freedom of speech, rule of law, independent Kangress-friendly media, Kashmir, ten per cent growth rate. (Ok, Montek ji will double check the latest growth rate and let us know.) Other banana republics don’t have these things.

We the Mango People of Banana Republic, let us hang the guilty, Parliament session by Parliament session. Let us bang our heads on the wall and say Jai Hind! Jai Sonia! Jai Hind!


This was first published in Kafila

 

DMK chief M Karunanidhi seeks abolition of #deathpenalty


PTI Feb 18, 2013,
(M Karunanidhi said the hangings…)

CHENNAI: Renewing his demand for abolishing death penalty, DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Monday said the hangings being implemented now could have been prevented had the demand to do away with this sentence been given due consideration.

He recalled that former Supreme Court judge V R Krishna Iyer had strongly pitched for doing away with the death penalty in India and that 90 per cent of countries in the world had abolished it.

“In today’s situation, the Centre, legal experts and courts should ponder over this and seriously consider recommending removing hanging from the law books in the interest of human rights and humanity,” he said in a letter to partymen.

“Had this opinion (of abolition of death penalty), which is being stressed for a long time given due consideration, death penalties which are continuously being implemented now could have been prevented,” he said.

Karunanidhi said 26/11 Mumbai attacks convict Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attack convictAfzal Guru were hanged by the government in recent months even as four aides of slain sandalwood smuggler Veerappan whose mercy petitions were rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee, have moved the Supreme Court.

The apex court on Monday stayed till further orders the execution of death sentence of the four, who were awarded capital punishment in 2004 for a landmine blast in Karnataka that left 22 police personnel dead.

 

PMANE warns of siege to Kudankulam nuke plant


SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu

Centre turns down protesters’ plea for White Paper

The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) has warned that its anti-nuke protestors would lay siege to the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project site if the Centre commissions the first two reactors in “haste and secrecy”.

Statement

A statement from PMANE said the official machinery, which had imposed artificial power cuts in the area with the ulterior motive of commissioning KKNPP early, had also filed hundreds of cases against people who were resorting to non-violent agitation against the upcoming nuclear complex.

PMANE’s warning has come in the backdrop of a senior official attached to the Union Government informing that the KKNPP would attain criticality “within a few days”.

Secrecy

“The Centre, which hanged Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru in secrecy, is trying to commission the KKNPP in a similar fashion.

Thousands of protestors including women and children will lay siege to the nuclear complex in a non-violent fashion if the Centre commissions the first reactor in haste and secrecy,” the statement said.

Unrelenting

The people’s movement has been unrelenting despite a good number of experts from former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to Central Expert Committee chairman A.E. Muthunayagam certifying the KKNPP reactors as the safest in the world with futuristic safety features.

 

Plea turned down

Meanwhile, the Centre has also turned down the protestors’ plea for a White Paper by the Centre on the KKNPP and its reactors.

 


  • It comes in the backdrop of official informing KKNPP will attain criticality “within a few days”
  • People’s movement unrelenting despite a good number of experts’ assurances

 

Afzal Guru Hanged, Whose Conscience Satisfied? #deathpenalty


By N. Jayaram

09 February, 2013
Countercurrents.org

It was bad enough that Ajmal Kasab, the only Pakistani captured after the 2008 attacks in Bombay, was stealthily hanged without a public debate last November. It is far worse that the Kashmiri Afzal Guru was hanged on the morning of 9 February 2013 following his highly questionable conviction over the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament.
Many eminent lawyers, scholars and journalists have written extensively, pointing out gaping holes in the entire trial and appeal process as well as the rejection of petitions to the president of India on Afzal Guru’s behalf. They include senior lawyers Nandita Haksar and Indira Jaisingh, writers Arundhati Roy, Praful Bidwai and Nirmalangshu Mukherji and the late K.G. Kannabiran, a former president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

Journals such as the Economic and Political Weekly and this website have periodically shed light on the case and established that the way Afzal Guru has been treated is a complete travesty of justice. Not only articles in journals and newspapers but books too have been written on the subject, including December 13: Terror Over Democracy by Nirmalangshu Mukherji (2005) and 13 December, a Reader: The Strange Case of the Attack on the Indian Parliament by Arundhati Roy (2006) detailing the role played by Delhi police officer Rajbir Singh in putting together the case, the acquittals that followed in the Delhi High Court (including that of S.A.R. Geelani, lecturer in Arabic at a Delhi college), the challenges in the Supreme Court and its confirmation of the death sentence for Afzal Guru despite the questionable nature of the evidence produced in the case. A website dedicated to the case has collected some of the pertinent writings:http://www.justiceforafzalguru.org/

The Supreme Court said: “The collective conscience of the society will be satisfied only if the death penalty is awarded to Afzal Guru.” It was, to say the least, unfortunate that a court of law decided to pander to its assumed notion of “collective conscience” rather than abide by points of law.

The ignominious role played by the national media in the wake of the 13 December 2001 parliament attack has also been well documented by Nirmalangshu Mukherji and others. The media seems to have eaten out of police officials’ hands instead of asking tough questions. As Sukumar Muralidharan of the International Federation of Journalists has pointed out, members of the profession failed to do what they ought to have at least after the High Court verdict – investigate the claims of the police and revisit the case they had not yet examined.

Afzal Guru’s execution is the second time after Ajmal Kasab’s on 21 November 2012 that the government has carried it out stealthily, ignoring the need to share the appeal process with the public, the lawyers for those convicted and their families. The execution of Dhananjoy Chatterjee on 14 August, 2004 following his conviction over the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in 1990 followed a public discussion.

In many of the now steadily shrinking number of countries that retain the death penalty, long delays such as in the cases of Afzal Guru and Chatterjee would automatically have led to commutations. Nearly 150 countries are abolitionist in law or in practice, meaning that they have not carried out execution for many years or observe a moratorium.

Rather than moving in that direction, the Indian government has been riding roughshod over people’s aspirations. Following the massive nation-wide upsurge in the aftermath of a gang-rape (and eventually murder) in New Delhi on 16 December 2012, the government set up a committee headed by former Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma, with Justice Leila Seth and former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam assisting. But when the committee offered a detailed set of recommendations within a record time of a few weeks, recommendations which were widely praised by women’s organisations and lawyers’ collectives, the government stealthily put out an ordinance, circumventing the need to face parliament and draft a detailed bill.

Then when Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi came calling at the Sri Ram College of Commerce on 6 February 2006, Delhi Police sided with Hindutva elements and rough-handled those protesting against his visit. And hours after Afzal Guru’s execution, the same police again sided with the Saffron elements, arresting several peaceful protestors.

Meanwhile, the same day as the execution, in another part of India, namely Bangalore, hundreds of peaceful demonstrators against the evictions of 1,500 families from a shantytown were met by a few hundred policemen, who proceeded to make arrests. The police are siding with a company owned by the son of a former senior-most police official of Karnataka.

A respected reporter in Mangalore, Naveen Soorinje, who exposed a Hindutva attack on young people enjoying a birthday party last year, continues to be in prison even after the state cabinet withdrew the charges framed against him. There again, there are persisting allegations of police collusion with Hindutva elements.
Indian politicians have to realise that if they ride roughshod over democratic norms and ignore the rule of law today it can backfire on them when their opponents come to power and imitate their cynical actions.

Moreover if they think hanging Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru is easy, they need to figure out how to respond to those who ask why not Balwant Singh Rajoana (for the 1995 assassination of Punjab chief minister Beant Singh) and Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan (for the 1991 assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi). The Akali Dal, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has appealed against any move to hang Rajoana. The fury of Sikhs worldwide would certainly be too great for the Indian state to bear. The Tamil Nadu state assembly has gone on record in demanding that the three Tamils be spared.

With obvious electoral gains in mind, the Congress government has gone after soft Muslim targets. And the BJP is happy to make vociferous demands for the hanging of Muslims accused of terrorist acts while calibrating its stance in other instances.

How long will the people of India turn a blind eye to such cynicism? Instead of whipping up and pandering to mob demands, the Indian state ought to be pursuing peaceful development by fostering coexistence. But that would need a modicum of wisdom currently sadly lacking in the rulers in New Delhi.

N. Jayaram is a journalist now based in Bangalore after more than 23 years in East Asia (mainly Hong Kong and Beijing) and 11 years in New Delhi. He was with the Press Trust of India news agency for 15 years and Agence France-Presse for 11 years and is currently engaged in editing and translating for NGOs and academic institutions. He writes a blog: http://walkerjay.wordpress.com/