Tuesday, October 31, 2006

To hang or not to hang!

See, I'm not Arundhati Roy who will claim that India is not a democracy or that Afzal is a PoW in Outlook. But, after the Santosh Singh decision yesterday and the Afzal issue in Kashmir, there is a new debate on the death sentence. This is not a debate in School or College debating the ethics of capital punishment to win a prize. This is real life, and both men who are being hanged are fathers with small children (though how anyone let their daughter marry Santosh is beyond me). The other irony is that while sections of the more liberal media are clamouring for Afzal to be freed, the same people want Singh to hang. I however, even though I have little to do with the issue and will not presuppose any legal judgement see both cases under a similar lens. A lens obscured by a hangman's noose - and there are 400 other cases under the same scanner.
Should people die for their actions? Can people really change in prison - do you believe in Dead Man Walking? I believe some people can change, and some people can't, but sometimes judging a person by some structurally defined rules is doing them injustice. Then again, unrepentant murderers should maybe be executed, but wouldn't putting them away for life without parole also serve the purpose? I don't know. A part of me thinks that society would be better off without some people - I mean had Hitler been tried in a country without capital punishment how would the situation been handled? Then again, these two cases are serious cases - these are not drug smugglers on the Arabian peninsula - but as I mentioned is it right to deprive a child of a father? A woman of her husband?
Weirdly enough, right now, I believe that both these guys, sadly for their familes, deserve the punishment they've got. And not to presuppose anything, but what are the chances that Manu Sharma will also get a similar punishment as will Vikas Yadav. Thankfully, these people will face justice (even if their sentences are commuted later) - not everybody does - The Times of India carried this a few days ago and in the media hype of all these high-profile cases some gruesome cases get forgotten - I was told to highlight this case and I am. Scary!
Just another reminder - the new blog is functional - http://delhiadventures.blogspot.com

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