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On MODIfying, Developing and Changing INDIA

There was a country, a country of spirited and adept men, finding itself in the path of recovery from the heavy blows of imperialistic pas...

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Capital punishment(CP) or death sentence,the highest level of punishment imposed in the civilized society to make the guilty pay and to demonstrate that the society will not tolerate injustice was nothing new.This practice is no invention of the modern world and it should have its origins connected to the the early formulation of civilization when the thought of order,justice crossed the human mind for the first time.Without a doubt it should have been crude,brutal and ruthless in olden days and though it should have been aristocratic, something that was belted out at the whim of monarch or the supreme man as means of intimidation and threat,the need for preservation of it was undeniable.But as the cultures evolved the deciding authority, the method of execution, the categories of offense that merited capital punishment evolved as well and the whole process was made to look sane at least in parts in the modern days.

When things were like this,one fine day the "Evolved world", which had scaled the moon,which had sent probes to Mars questioned whether it is right to put someone to death that too by the government and the judicial system that is supposed to protect.Their "evolved compassionate mind" thought for a while and declared that capital punishment is a blot in the fabric of human civilization and as the most modern intelligent generation of all time we should abolish it.Have we ever agreed on anything? Another group said that death sentence is mandatory to the world as a sword is to the king without which governance is not possible. Following that, a debate, a controversy ensued ( as usual) and in the process some countries abolished the idea of death sentence.Then UN called for a resolution to abolish it all over the world which few countries denied to accept thus helping in keeping the debate of capital punishment's need alive.Since then the controversy rages on and let us try to understand the sensibilities of the arguments.

One might wonder about the tone of the above lines and find it slightly critical on the advocators of Anti Capital Punishment.It should strike as odd when someone who belongs to a country that gave birth to the concept of non-violence hint so.But not only me I guess any Indian would favor CP having learnt that any terrorist can just stroll across a city street and shoot innocent people at will,after having known that the home of democracy,parliament can be attacked as if it is the backyard,a practice ground for terrorists, wouldn't it be a natural reaction? And without a surprise one can imagine that India is one of the countries that deny to accept the abolition of CP and it is rightly so.

More than anything death sentences are needed to prevent perpetrators from committing the crime again.It is just a bargain we have to make to save many lives by taking one.Secondly when the crime rate is soaring high in a time where death sentence applies, what would happen if it is abolished? What would stop the criminals? Having said it,the odd thing is that the people who oppose capital punishment exactly put forward the same as allegation.They say that the "prevention strategy" doesn't give the chance of rehabilitation and that everyone has a right to life which is crushed when death sentence is given by the legal body that is meant to protect.In addition,not only it is the offender who suffers staring the impending death but also his family during the entire period of investigation and  execution.Rights,suffering? Man,I wonder whether the poor soul who was killed was from the streets and that he had no family that suffers for his loss? Isn't it ridiculous?

It is also argued that it becomes revenge when you take a life for another life and it is asked, "what is the logic in killing the people who kill people to show them that killing is wrong?" Fair,but what I don't understand at all is whether convicts are that naive to not know killing is wrong? Aren't most crimes deliberate with full knowledge of the impact it will make? Hasn't killing become another profession or a game with exception to few that take place on the heat of the moment.People who promote the abolition of CP should know that they also represent/ speak for men who plant bombs and massacre innocent civilians and people who involve in things such as rape, human trafficking etc.The alternative that Anti CP advocators suggest for CP is life imprisonment or LWOP(Life without Parole) which can not help in all cases.

Will LWOP hold true to the terrorists,serial murderers.What would happen if a convict like Noida serial killer is given LWOP and he manages to escape the prison in course of time? Do you think he will keep quite after escaping? Will the prison life turn him into Mahatma? If the complete implications of abolition of CP has to be learned then the case of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh who is a Pakistani terrorist should be taken.He kidnapped 4 foreign nationals in 1994 and threatened to behead them demanding the releases 10 Kashmiri terrorists. Later he was detained and was sent to Tihar jail to be locked up for life which proved a mistake and wreaked a havoc that was too heavy.

First, an Indian Airlines flight was hijacked and a man named Rupan Katyal,a newly wed who was returning from honeymoon was killed.Later Omar Sheikh and few others were released as per hijackers demand. Omar Shiekh flew and started doing what he does best.In 2002 the same man, beheaded the American journalist Daniel Pearl who was kidnapped in Pakistan.It should be noted that when Daniel Pearl was killed the Pearl couple were expecting their first baby.Also Omar Shiekh played important role in 9/11 attacks in which thousands died.When the point of right for life is discussed then one has to consider the rights of others as well.What about the right of the victim's wife to live with her husband ? What about the right of Pearl's baby to have its father? What about the right of life of thousands who died in 9/11 attacks?

Apart from deterrence, some cases purely merit the punishment like serial killing,terrorism as discussed above, felonies like human trafficking, women trafficking, child abuse and even rape.I guess more than homicide the instances of such crime bears unimaginable brutality. Especially rape of minors and child abuse.One might wonder whether rape,human trafficking etc are as grave as terrorism? Yes,in some cases like this its more worse. Often these trafficking and abuse cases are not as simple but they are subsidiary to a more graver crime like murder,kidnap or other crimes.

Having said everything,it is not so wise to take a side without ever lending your ears to the other side's argument.So as an obligation let's see what is the other side's stand.Among the arguments against death sentence the point that emphasizes on the instances of wrongful execution of innocents holds valid and something that needs attention. Given how easily the judicial system can be bent, the instances of innocents getting executed are high.I guess for this the investigation process and the judiciary has to be refined.People involved in the trial like the judge,advocates and the cops should be able to differentiate between the innocent and a criminal.Scrapping death sentence altogether will not be the apt solution.

Even though one might be critical about the Anti Capital Punishment advocators we can empathize with them when we dig deep.Apart from wrongful execution there are things like execution of minors,painful methods of execution, imposing death sentence to not-so-grave crimes. Web sources say that China,Middle East and some African countries are so tight-fisted that they impose death sentence for not only murders and drug trafficking but also to common crimes like robbery, theft,adultery,flesh trade.Notably in the Middle East homosexuality is a crime punishable by death which is ironical where gay marriages are legalized in some parts of the world. And in some cases it is insane to the level that conversion to another religion, idolatry,tax fraud, corruption(Are you kidding?) are capital offenses.

Apart from the insensible issuance of CP for random crimes the execution methodologies also seem to play part a part.The element of cruelty and pain inflicted also concerns the Anti CP advocators.Other than hanging and to an extent Lethal injection where the convict is injected with a dose of drugs rest of the methods like electrocution,gas chamber, decapitation (beheading) and stoning are still followed which are cruel.In addition to that few Islamic states follow the practice of executing the criminals in public places like in roads and in some cases they have special arena where stoning and beheading is conducted like a football or cricket match which is not acceptable.Oppression of women is common in these countries that adultery,women involved in flesh trade and in some worst cases rape victims are also stoned to death which is very much objectionable.

So finally one can see that to retain or to completely abolish capital punishment is not so sensible.As a general rule it can be avoided and in special cases it has to be imposed.Even in murders, the crime that is conducted just on the impulse,on the heat of the moment should be considered and in such cases imprisonment or life sentence is enough.But terrorists,serial killers and offenders who pose a serious threat should be sentenced to death. Some countries have various degrees of murder out of which first or second degree murders are given death sentence and the same can be followed world wide.Rape especially if it involves minors,child abuse should fall under capital offense depending on the case.

Apart from that if the United Nation wants to do something,it should standardize the offenses that come under capital punishments rather than blindly eradicate death sentence. It would be sensible to make sure the punishments imposed are for reasonable crimes and uniform throughout the world.And few countries should come out of backward thinking, death sentence for theft,tax fraud and changing religion? Come on! The punishment they carry out for adultery,flesh trade etc shows the oppressive attitude towards women in the name of culture,religion.This is ridiculous and pathetic and these people should change for good.If voices have to be raised,if controversy should be made then it should be on such things.

My Note:
I watched a movie and a message that was just belted out just for the sake of it, at the end inspired me to write this.The movie is Aravaan and the irrelevant message that has no connection or whatsoever with the movie saying,"Death sentence should be removed", annoyed me and I took up this post.Even some days before there was a commotion in TN asking Rajiv Gandhi assassinatiors to be exempted from death sentence which I thought about writing but did not get time.I don't think just because you have some sentiments and emotions for an issue you can blindly demand such things.If they are the ones who killed some x no matter who that x is the person deserves penalty and if it is death sentence then it should be given.You don't connect irrelevant facts and conjure up reasons to defend them.

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