Sunday, April 29, 2012

Capital Punishment

It's nearly 2 years since Kasab, the terrorist involved in 26/11 Mumbai attacks, was sentenced to death. However, he hasn't been hanged to death yet and whenever we hear any news about him, most of us say that he should have been killed by now. Are we right when we say that? Considering the fact that he brutally killed many people, he does deserve to be severely punished. However, is capital punishment the right choice? Isn’t there any other way to punish such a heartless terrorist?

I am neither a human rights activist nor a supporter of any bloody terrorist. However, I oppose death sentence in any form, be it hanging, lethal injection or electric chair. None of us have the right to destroy something that we do not own. How can we then take the life of another human being? Killing someone can not be treated as victory. In my opinion, the real victory is when such a terrorist repents and does something good to the society with remorse. I agree that expecting a terrorist to become a good citizen is odd. However, when the terrorist organizations are able to brainwash youth to become suicide bombers, can’t the police (at least with the help of psychiatrists) brainwash these terrorists to become good over a period of years?

Many countries have abolished death sentence. How is the victim who, in most cases, is already dead, going to benefit from the criminal’s death? I don’t mean to say that he should be released into the society. An alternative for capital punishment is life imprisonment without parole. Forcing the criminals to labour hard for at least 10 hours a day and giving the ‘earned’ money to the victims’ families is a far better alternative than capital punishment. The tough manual labour the criminal is made to do in jail, should make him cry, ‘Why am I struggling like this? My life would have been good had I not committed this crime.’

Now, looking at the other side of the coin, there are people who argue that it is not possible to keep such terrorists in jail as his fellow-terrorists will resort to anything to take him out. Aren’t we wrong to say, ‘since we are inefficient to keep him locked up in jail, we will kill him.’? Are his fellow-terrorists going to stop their anti-social activities if he is hanged to death? Definitely not.

The debate of whether or not there should be capital punishment is never-ending. This debate has been for centuries and there may never be a unanimous conclusion on this issue. We all can just hope that there will be an ideal society in future in which we don’t find any anti-social elements and never have the need to even think about capital punishment.

There has been a really long gap between the previous post which I wrote and this one. The reason (excuse :)) is, I was in search of an interesting topic. Feel free to comment on this post. I would also like you to tell me a topic to write my next blog on.:)


  1. The beauty of the Indian Law is that it never sentences anybody to death all that easily. Go back to the history and you'll find miniscule number of cases where people were sentenced to death. It's only when the crime committed is treated as 'rarest of the rare' that a death sentence is pronounced.

    On the night of the 26th of Nov, 2008, around 12 beasts (who claim to be messengers of 'God' and work for a divine cause) were heartlessly spraying bullets and chasing innocent people to death. Our army force and police personnel were pressed into action and they killed 11 of them.

    Answer this question for me. As you said, 'we have no right to take somebody else's life,' do you support or oppose the action of our forces that night? Should they have killed those 11 terrorists or should they have waited for those terrorists to kill the rest of the people in the Taj and finally capture them and take them to a rehabilitation center??
    Because you oppose capital punishment, you should definitely oppose the killing of those 11 terrorists too right? I’m curious to know how you’d have handled this issue.

    Mr. Dhaston, who gave those bloody bastards the right to intrude into our nation and the 'right to take the lives of our innocent people’? What is the justice you suggest for these innocent souls who lost their lives? Is rehabilitation and a life-sentence enough?

    Kasab, has no iota of remorse for having taken 166 innocent lives. He absolutely has no regret for his actions. What kind of rehabilitation are you talking about?? They are hard-core terrorists with hardened minds which can’t be corrected. Back then, in 1990, there was a security guard Dhananjoy Chatterjee who raped and killed a school girl of the same apartment he guards. This merciless beast was also hanged after 14 years. Imagine the state of the girl when she was sexually assaulted and finally strangulated to death. Do you think a life imprisonment and reformation is enough justice??

    You asked ‘Are his fellow-terrorists going to stop their anti-social activities if he is hanged?’ Let me put it this way. ‘Are his fellow-terrorists going to stop their anti-social activities if he is rehabilitated?’ In any case, they won’t. These people have misinterpreted their own religion and resort to killing people for a ‘divine’ cause.

    I’m totally in disagreement with your thoughts and pardon for me saying this, I feel like
    sniggering at your opinions. Such thoughts just don’t work in this era. We can’t choose to wear bangles around our wrists and go soft on every other terrorist, rapist and murderer.

    Mr. Dhaston, we can’t afford to reform every wrong-doer! We should be so stringent in our punishment that every other terrorist or perpetrator should be too fearful to even think of a terror attack/murder/rape in our country. Being soft, makes you an easy target. Some people deserve not death sentences, but an even more painful and miserable death.

  2. @Tarun: I expected an opposing view from someone or the other. :)
    Let me answer your questions from my point of view.

    This post is about capital punishment and not about encounter. When you are in such a situation that you will lose your life and many other innocent people's lives unnecessarily, there is no point in trying to capture them alive. Hence, I accept the concept of encounter. (I am against fake encounters though.)

    "Mr. Dhaston, who gave those bloody idiots the right to intrude into our nation and the 'right to take the lives of our innocent people’?" - Who said that they have the right? That's why they are to be punished.

    "What is the justice you suggest for these innocent souls who lost their lives?" - How do you think capital punishment will give justice to those souls? Do you think that those souls can fight with the terrorists' souls in hell or what? :)
    At least, we can try to make the terrorists pay for the victims' families through their labour. (At this point of time, I accept that this concept is weird and difficult to implement, but am sure that it's not impossible if we have the will and the proper system to do it.)

    To summarize the next paragraphs of your comment, you are in 'An eye for an eye' or '2 eyes for an eye' mindset, but I am in the 'An eye for an eye, makes the whole world blind' mindset. I cannot prove that I am right with my thoughts nor can I accept that you are right. :)

    On a lighter note, our comments are longer than the post itself! I think this is the first time in my blogs that we are not on same page (and I am happy for it. :P):D

  3. Dhaston SH, I find your opinions self-contradictory. You oppose capital punishment , but don't mind encounters ? I firmly believe that there is practically no difference between them. It's just Kasab's destiny( or luck or whatever you call it) that he was caught alive. The others perished, while he survived. I don't see a concrete reason for him to be joined in a reformation session.

    The bottom line of your post (from what I read) is not capital punishment (though it's named so). The crux of your blog is about 'not having the right to deprive others of their lives.' Because this is the soul of your blog, you should definitely oppose encounters and wars too. Don't say these are different from capital punishment. I wouldn't accept your POV if you say they are different. They are one and the same in my eyes.

    When I asked you 'What kind of justice are you going to get for the victims', I spoke of a tangible justice !! I feel , they should be shot naked in public, because no kind of reformation is going to bring any desirable change in those heinous, savage and callous perpetrators.

    When those people have rights to take innocent lives, don't we have the right to take the lives of murderers ? We do .. We certainly do !!

    If every other wrong doer is kept in the jail , allowed to attend 'reformation classes' and have fun and frolic , nobody takes the consequences of crime seriously. There will be a sharp rise in crimes. These are currently on a daily basis, we'll see them in an hourly basis if laws of your choice are enforced.


  4. Mr. Tarun Kumar Parthasarathy,

    I am not sure whether some statements of mine made you feel that the blog is not about capital punishment.

    How do you justify that shooting a criminal naked in public is a tangible justice? To repeat my earlier comment, how does the soul of the victim or the victim's family benefit from it? The only reason why I am fine with encounter is because you have the benefit of saving your life and many innocent people's lives instead of being killed unnecessarily.

    "When those people have rights to take innocent lives, don't we have the right to take the lives of murderers ? We do .. We certainly do !!" -- Parthu baava, this is again a repetition of my earlier statement. They don't have the right to take innocent lives and hence we have to punish them.

    Next, who said that prisoners should have fun and frolic in jail? I am doing Ctrl+C,V here. "The tough manual labour the criminal is made to do in jail, should make him cry, ‘Why am I struggling like this? My life would have been good had I not committed this crime.’ "

    Tarun, I agree with you that the present system in our country is such that wrong doers can have fun in jail, but I wasn't talking of how the system is; I was talking of how the system should be. Let's see this from a broader perspective instead of seeing it with our corrupted system.

    BTW, you seem to be 'emotionally provoked' by my view on this topic. Take a chill pill buddy. :) I don't think you can snigger at my opinion, because 140+ countries have abolished death penalty and so, are you going to snigger at all the people in those countries? :) Maintain your cool, Tarunaaaa... Please don't get upset because of this debate on a topic on which we don't have any political power to bring in any change we wish to. :D

  5. Like you, I oppose any form of capital punishment. I consider it barbaric, and a remnant of an uncivilized past. A life sentence without parole is punishment enough.

    1. Thanks for your support 'Nothing profound'. :)

    2. I don't really buy into the argument about society evolving and no longer needing the death penalty. I think from the start, the death penalty was "barbaric," making it not so much a "remnant of an uncivilized past" but a reminder of an uncivilized desire for "justice" at all costs, a desire that I think has been with humanity throughout the ages.

  6. Dhaston dear !!! I stand by what I said. They should be mercilessly shot in public for two reasons: 1) It'd cool the simmering hearts of the kith and kin of victims who just can't understand why their loved ones have been murdered. 2) No other perpetrator would ever think of resorting to such crime lest they should face such a gruesome punishment.

    I'm not sure about how many countries have done away with capital punishment. I just googled and took a glimpse. How many of those countries have faced terror attacks as frequently as we did ?

    A number of states in the US have clearly abolished it. But just to remind you, they carried out a massive hunt for Saddam Hussain and Osama Bin Laden and killed both of them. No comments about Saddam but Osama, for what he did to 3000 innocent lives, truly deserved a punishment more than just a bullet.

    To end the debate, I feel some people just can't be reformed. They pose a threat to the society. They are so savage that death is the only 'cure.'


    1. Tarun,
      I agree that the some kin of the victims may feel happy with criminal's death. Just because you kill a criminal in public mercilessly, I don't agree that others will stop resorting to crime. The terrorists, most of them being suicide-bombers, don't care about losing their lives at all.

      Our country faces terror attacks often when compared to many other countries and it is because of our security system. The solution, in my opinion, is to make the security system efficient and better instead of having capital punishment after many people lose their lives.

  7. Your next blog should be on how to improve our security system. That's really a concern. But I refuse to budge from my stand on capital punishment. I hope and pray that Kasab, Afzal Guru and the other terrorists who've struck different parts of India and a lot of other perpetrators get their 'retribution.'


  8. Parthu, It's your wish. Keep hoping and keep praying that they should be killed. I'll neither pray that they should be killed nor pray that they should not be killed. Let God's will happen for those so-called God's messengers.

    I'll write a blog on our security system if I really get some ideas worth-sharing.

  9. I'll be honest, I'm not sure how I stand on the issue. There are so many things to debate! Though I can't imagine personally punishing someone by killing them, there are people who have done some absolutely horrifying things. It's such a tough call.

    1. Thanks for your comment Janene. I agree with you, it's definitely a tough decision to make. Whether or not there should be capital punishment was, is and may be always be a debatable topic.

  10. Hey great job taking on a tough topic! No matter what your stance on this issue, you will face criticism and people with argue with you. Way to go, exposing yourself to this critical reception. Now, on a critiquing note, your post was a little too vague and a little too idealistic for me to buy into, even though I too oppose capital punishment. I think a follow-up post, with hard evidence and raw data, would be a great way to expand your argument. As far as suggestions for future posts, I really would like to see you take on topics that interest you. Personally, I'm really fascinated by the justice system in India (I know little about it) and how it is different from the United States. That would probably be a really long post, though. Nice job. Keep writing!

    1. Thanks for your comment Amy. I accept that few points of mine were unrealistic, especially expecting hard core terrrorists to reform into good individuals. may be, i was toooo optimistic in this regard. :)
      i believe that critiquing comments are for my own good and thanks to you for speaking your mind.

      If you are very interested about the justice system and the mindset of Indians, you may get a brief idea by reading my first post 'My dream India'.

  11. Dhaston, I agree with you on the death penalty. I really don’t think it’s a deterrent and I don’t believe we have the right to play God however horrible the crime is that someone committed. I agree with you on the alternative of life imprisonment without parole, and forced labor with the money going to the victims’ families. Unfortunately the U.S. is very pro-death penalty but some states (such as the one I live in) are starting to change their views after too many innocent people have been executed. Thank you for your discussion on this controversial topic!