Should Capital Punishment Be Abolished In India?


Even as Yakub Memon’s body has been allowed to be claimed by his family for conducting the last rites in Mumbai, the debate on whether capital punishment should be abolished continues in India. While the humane angle of this is undeniable, a blanket rule for all crime is unfair. Let’s face the reality, we do not live in a utopian land free of crime but rather a land that has witnessed terrible crimes causing damage and loss of lives to a huge cross section of people.

Let’s talk of 1993 blasts for example where close to 300 people lost their lives and many became crippled for life or the terrorist attack inside the Tajmahal Hotel in Mumbai a few years ago. None of these cases would you be able to justify not punishing the wrong doers in the name of humanity. The extent, methodology and actual damage to innocent lives were all unpardonable. To all those who are arguing against capital punishment in India, my request is of the 170 nations that have abolished capital punishment, how many have actually ever had to deal with terrorism and most importantly the reality in terms of geo-political equation is different for different countries. To paint them all in one brush stroke can never be appropriate.

When we talk about humanity I am confused….how in the name of humanity do we condone the cruel act that was perpetrated and based on which the demand for capital punishment was made. Be it the detailed and planned execution of the Mumbai blasts, the Godhra riots, July 7 bomb blast on train or any such grievous terror attacks or even the savage rape of Nirbhaya in Delhi. Nothing said or done can ever make the families of these victims ever come to terms with reality.

Well you can surely say that demanding and eye for an eye belongs to the stone age or the barbaric times and does not quite suit our age, education or thinking prowess. I will not even ask you to take refuge in mythology or the great Bhagvad Gita or the Holy Quran for that matter, all of which incidentally have enough examples that say wrong should be mitigated at all costs. But think of the collateral damage. What happens if a criminal of that huge proportion is allowed a free hand, let loose in the name of humanity. Ask yourself hard will you be doing justice to humanity?  

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