I always shun controversy but somehow often end up in one, over the period it seems now I relish controversy so I have raked up another mini one by posting "Right to kill" both on this blog and at Indianmuslims
. As expected there were quite some number of responses on both the blogs, while some like Mona
were pretty confused about their stand, others like atlantean
were outright rhetoric and abusive in their remarks. There were others like sharique
who think execution is right since its valid according to Islam, but say that Afzal shouldn't be executed since he didn't get a fair trial. Each one of them are right in one sense or other. Lets analyze some of the important points.
Coming to one person at a time, The fact is that most Indians are confused on whether the death sentence should be given in any case or not. I am talking here of the masses, they are not so opinionated and so get swayed away by the rhetoric spread by vested interests. Secondly, a lot of people are sayin since execution is a valid punishment according to the sharia, What big deal if Afzal is executed. After all Islam or the sharia demands eye for an eye, I am not a learned scholar on Islam or any religion. But what I believe in is humanity and my belief in humanity doesn't let me believe that execution is the best way to deter crime. If that means that I am a little less Muslim then others then let it be the case. Frankly, I have the right to define my own principles unless they infringe on some else's right to live peacefully.
Another thing that is being talked about time and again is that he should not be hanged because he did not get a fair trial, I don't know if its true or not. But the fact is that in most high profile cases, some poor fella or the other has to be sacrificed, Can you imagine what would had been the case If even Afzal was cleared of charges?? So someone had to be executed, right. Now this certainly looks like one of those conspiracy theories, the fact is that it is one. But I am cooking it intentionally so that I can highlight what actually goes behind all the cases where death penalties are usually awarded. Most of the ones convicted are poor people who don't have access to proper legal aid or are denied the same as it seems to in case of Afzal. That puts a strong case why India should do away with death penalty, because its highly discriminatory and there might not be a single instance where a rich or influential person would have been sent to the gallows.
The most scathing comments as expected come from the extreme elements of the society, Whenever I or anyone tries to criticize death penalty, the first question the fanatics ask is what would I have done if it was my family. Now I can't stoop down to their level of sarcasm, so won't list their other questions but for once would like to answer them. My answer is yes, I would feel and do my best to rip of the single piece of flesh from his bones, I would want to put that person on a crucifix till every drop of blood drips out of him. But, this is one of the most important "But" I would have ever used, what next? Can we have everyone ripping each others flesh for every crime. Someone some where quoted that "An eye for an eye would leave the world blind" to which someone added that, If the state does it for the victim, the animosity would end. I don't see that as a justifiable explanation, I don't see a group of arrogant old men capable of deciding on the right to live of soul especially with their eyes closed. Simply because even if at a later stage it is found that the convict wasn't actually guilty, the sentence can't be reversed and this is bound to happen often, remember the old men have their eyes closed!!!
One more point that hasn't been discussed, People say all terrorist should be hanged so that we can deter others from committing similar crimes. My question is does this work?, does a person become a terrorist for fun, That he would suddenly get scared and leave the path of terror for the fear of being executed. The fact is that the moment these people choose this path, they know its a path to death, so you can't deter them by the threat of something which they would gloriously accept. Just a look at world history and one would realize terror can never be beaten by terror, America could never win peace with the Iranians, Iraqis, Afghans or any other country that it tried to terrorize into submission. While on the other hand Britain managed to disarm the IRA(Irish republican army) by getting into negotiations, giving concessions to their genuine demands. This helped in killing the reasons for which they had taken the path of terror, Soon they lost their ground level support and negotiated peace. Similarly Spain has finally woken up to the reality and is talking to Basque and ETA separatists groups and they are themselves eager for the same.
Further, America allows execution while Europe doesn't. So is America safer than Europe? Israel kills thousands of Palestenians every year so as to deter them from attacks, but is Israel safe? Has decades of Armed forces special powers act in some of the north east Indian states been able to stem the militancy? Has the presence of majority of the Indian military in Kashmir been able to stem the militancy there? Everyone knows the answer for these questions, So the fact is state terror in response to terror is not the solution.
I pray for the mental health of the fanatics who threaten our very right to speech the moment we talk about human rights. Comments like supporters of terrorism, pakisatni, leftists, mullah-marx alliance followers etc are a common thing the moment you talk of a human beings right to live gracefully even if he is a convict. Sadly, I am pretty sure that one more soul would be executed more so to satisfy the mob hsyteria and political gains, But isn't following the mob a fascist mentality?
I repeat, "No human being has the right to decide whether the other is worth living in the world or not. No court or a collective body of people have the right to decide whether a person should live in this world or not, whatever the ground be."