Abandon the culture of capital punishment: Popular Front of India

New Delhi: The rejection of mercy plea of Yakub Memon by the Supreme Court and the hasty manner of his execution has raised serious doubts about the administration of justice in our country, said K M Shareef, the Chairman of the Popular Front of India. This is another instance of the communal fascist agenda manipulating public emotions to create pressure not only on executive but also on the judiciary. In the case of Yakub Memon BJP led government was obscenely keen to see him immediately sent to the gallows. The same government never appealed for death penalty for its own leaders prosecuted for killing Muslims in the 2002 Gujarat Genocide. And the people sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in the state are happily out of the jails on one excuse or other. This clearly proves the double standards used by Indian legal system which surely generates anger among the people. It is to be noted that none of the perpetrators of the Bombay riots were seriously prosecuted even though the death toll was three times that of the serial blasts.

It is ironical that on the same day of rejecting the mercy petition of Memon, the Supreme Court has upheld the commutation of death penalty of the three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

We would once again reiterate our stand that in a democracy there is no place for capital punishment. Various studies have proved that capital punishments are mostly used against the backward sections, SC/ST and minorities. The populist clamour for capital punishment is engineered by rightist communal forces and it has the political motive of creating fear among the poor and weakening the trust of the religious minorities and backward communities in the judiciary. Death penalty is a form of retribution and violence by the state.

While extending consolation to the family of Yakub Memon, Popular Front of India once again calls for a national campaign for the abolition of death penalty. It is time we developed a mechanism to make the administration of justice free from communal and casteist prejudices.

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