Capital Punishment: Hang Unto Death!

Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam called the judgement of 29th August 2012 a historic one. Ajmal Amir Kasab, a terrorist involved in the 26 November 2008 Mumbai attacks, was captured and held prisoner in the Arthur Road Jail all this time. The Supreme Court of India pronounced its first death sentence against Kasab in May, 2010. Yesterday, in the final verdict, the court upheld its earlier judgement elucidating that there was no other option. Kasab has been charged for his crimes of murder, conspiracy and waging against the nation. People all over India have diverse views on the subject of death penalty and a substantial population hopes that this turns out to be the last execution in the history of the nation. The major crux of this article is not Kasab, it is not even India; nevertheless, it is about capital punishment which is carried out by violently traumatizing the convict so as to take his/her life for the crime he/she committed.

Presently, 97 countries of the world have put an end to the practice of death penalty whereas about 58 nations still perform it. So, in general most of the countries do not favor this form of retribution but over 60% of the world’s population lives in countries where executions take place. These countries include the People’s Republic of China, India, the United States of America and Indonesia. However, in India, USA and Indonesia, capital punishment is used rarely. India adheres to this form of punishment only in the rarest or the rare cases. In the past twelve years, only two executions have been carried out in the nation. The last execution took place in 2004 in which a former elevator man was hanged for raping and murdering a 14 year old girl in Kolkata. Coming back to the sentence announced yesterday, the Supreme Court believed that Kasab’s crime fell under the ‘rarest of the rare’ category and his allegation that he wasn’t given a suitable opportunity to defend himself was dismissed. The Bhartiya Janta Party(BJP) feels that Kasab should be hanged without delay. In a statement, some members of the party said- ‘Those who wage war against the country and kill innocent people deserve no mercy.” The country’s law minister, Salman Khurshid said that death penalties should be abolished.

capital-punishment

Wait, I think I should come out of India and look at the broader picture. The Domestic and International Human Rights groups want capital punishment to be abolished. Many organizations of the world claim that execution discriminates against minorities and the poor. It encourages violence and violates the human rights. Acording to the Guardian, death penalty is a shameful legacy of colonialism. The greatest challenge for abolitionists is China where about 4000 executions are carried out each year. Iran also reinstated capital punishment and more than 60 people have been put to death since Nov, 2011. On 19 Jan, 2012, 34 prisoners were killed in the country. Talking about the US; about 13000 people have been executed legally since the colonial times. However, the public support for capital punishment has decreased over the years. The critics cite its high cost, failure to deter crime and assert that this practice places US out of step with the International Human Rights norms.

Surveys throughout the world have revealed that death penalty is offered in different countries for crimes relating to murders, rape, drug trafficking, human trafficking, apostasy, blasphemy etc. The methods carried out for executions are sadistic and include death by hanging, electrocution, lethal injection, beheading, gas chambers or shooting. Amnesty International, an organization working to protect the human rights worldwide, argues against capital punishment and calls it a cold blooded killing of a human being in the name of justice. Whereas, Clark County, a public works county, disagrees, saying that life indeed is sacred but some defendants have earned the ultimate punishment for their wrong-doing.

The most inappropriate reason for imparting a death penalty exists in several Islamic countries. Here, capital punishment is offered in cases of apostasy (formal abandonment of a religion by a person) and blasphemy (showing irreverence or contempt for a religious deity or a religion and its practices etc.)  Kuwait may introduce death penalty again in response to the tweets of a Kuwaiti citizen defaming Prophet Mohammed. In Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, blasphemy laws are misused to prosecute those from minority faiths. Another reason for abolishing capital punishment should be considered wherein organizations claim that justice systems around the world are flawed which sometimes result in the execution of an innocent person. There have been certain cases advocating this belief.

Personally, I am somewhat skeptical about this whole issue. I read that Pratibha Patil (ex-President of India) altered the death sentences of 35 convicts during her term. Also, clemency plea of 29 prisoners of death row is pending before the current President. Another considerable problem is that there is only one or two hangmen available in India, reported the BBC. The Supreme Court itself admitted that some penalties it upheld were mistaken. We talk about the ‘Right to Life’ but capital punishment goes against it. What do you think? Is it one form of violence which is used to deter violence? Or is it an inhumane practice which strictly needs abolishment. Think about it! Am waiting!

 

References: The Hindu, US Liberals, Business  Standard, The Guardian, BBC News, The Independent, Wikipedia, The Christian Science Monitor, etc.. 

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12 responses to “Capital Punishment: Hang Unto Death!

  1. The opinion on capital punishment might vary from person to person but i am strictly against this inhumane practice!!!Whatever may be the severity of crime death penalty should not be used!!!there should be some other alternative for this but taking someone’s lyf is not at all a humane practice!!!Jst think about the hangmans,why they are forced to take some1s lyf??

    • Agreed! Especially when I think from the point of view of those men who have to kill someone as a part of their job. Certain countries like Norway resort to a special type of life imprisonment as done in case of Brevik who killed 76 people in an attack. I wanted to cover his case as well but refrained myself from doing so considering the length of this article
      Anyway thanks for reading!

  2. A job is a job…what I think is as a society we have to be better than that in deciding someones fate in matter of life and death may be kasab for that matter…

    • Completely makes sense. I read about certain cases where biases and incorrect investigation led to the sentencing of innocent people with death penalty…
      Btw Thanks for reading 🙂 I love your blog !

  3. I think we should beware of being emotional about this subject. The idea of retribution through death is closely linked with religion and has been endlessly studied in more secular pursuits – in Ethics, Political Science, and Law. And while there’s no dearth of opinions, little has been achieved.
    I mean consider this: is it morally right to send spies to other countries to know secrets that one would not know otherwise – I’d say it’s tantamount to stealing. Or, is it right to employ thousands of people, armies, with the job of killing other people – whatever be the stakes? Most of us believe in some kind of just war – in which we celebrate things like patriotism, heroism, etc., and at the same time we despise murder and arsony. I find this illogical. Because if killing one is wrong, employing a thousand to kill thousands is wrong a thousand times over.
    I’m not trying to confuse you. I would love this world to be a kind place. But that’s futuristic; not impossible, but I’d say, not practicable unless we change the way we preach, teach, and pray. Seen objectively, it’s not the death of the individual, but our belief in violence as a just and viable means of sorting things out, which is worrisome.

    • Hi Sampurna, I agree with your point of view and it is not that you are confusing me because honestly, I am not 100% convinced about the abolition of the death penalty. I somehow support India’s stance of giving the death penalty in the ‘rarest of the rare’ cases. I wrote this post basically to find out what people think about it and yes its helping me see both the sides of the coin. Thanks for reading !

  4. Capital Punishment must be backed by proper investigations and unbiased decisions irrespective of religions, emotions and forces. Though its most rare but it is applicable of the most heinous ones, it is correct. The people found guilty for Murders, rape, drug abuses etc. do not deserve to sustain in society. Keeping them for years on Public Money ain’t anything good. Though the process, to hang or electrification or other might be thought wrong by different people, but it is necessary. And most importantly for people who are against your country, invade/attack us, they dont deserve anything less than this punishment. People like Kasab and Afzal guru do not deserve to plead guilty even if he is/is not an Indian. We cannot change there instincts. They were trained for this. Even if some Organisations think its against morality/humanity then do they consider humanity of victims?? One thing to favour them can be done that Accused can choose his own way to die either a bullet or hang or shock or poison, whatever he chooses. The laws have to be strict else they will be broken. I suggest Capital Punishment should also be for those who are involved in Corruption. Those people who make thousands of people and generations to suffer do deserve this. They should be put to live in dark rooms without food, light & people to feel the same what they made many others to undergo.

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