Monday, February 11, 2013

Another hanging

This Saturday saw another hanging, again in a terrorist related case. Afzal Guru, who was convicted as a conspirator in the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, was hanged this Saturday in Tihar jail, again under the utmost security and secrecy. While this case looks superficially similar to Ajmal Kasab's, there are important and crucial differences. Guru was not one of the perpetrators of the actual attack. His crime was to provide shelter for the actual attackers, and to be involved in their financial transactions. Locking him away for his natural life could well have been been adequate punishment under the circumstances. Some of the evidence against Guru was circumstantial, and some under his own confession. Conspirators whose contribution to the assasination of Mahatma Gandhi was similar, were not awarded the death penalty. Senior jurists and human rights activists have been perturbed by this execution.  Rather than discourage terrorism, this hanging may provide support to the agenda of hate that fuels terrorism. Yes, the state should be strong, but some times strength lies in mercy. We hope the strength of mercy will be allowed to prevail in future cases.

This blog post  is by Neelima Gupte and Sumathi Rao

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