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    Creative Commons License
    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    October 16, 2006

    Farooq Abdullah's plea for clemency

    Farooq Abdullah's interview to Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN effectively threatens the Indian nation with rivers of blood and murder of judges/lawyers if Mohammad Afzal's Mohammad Afzal's family's/supporters'/pseudo-human rights activists' appeal against the death sentence given to him isn't accepted. He questions the Indian legal process. He questions the competence of the judiciary. He links a possible hanging to civil war in India and a coup-like situation in Pakistan.

    I see two huge holes in the arguments put forward against the death sentence handed out to Mohammad Afzal.

    Firstly, the apologists argue that putting him to death would severely dent India's image in the minds of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. The counter-argument is that Kashmiris aren't the only ones who've been hanged. Dhananjoy Chatterjee was hanged in 2004. That didn't mean all of Bengal went up in flames. If the judicial system were flawed, all those chargesheeted in the 13 Dec 2001 attack on Parliament would have been sentenced to death. Nothing of that sort happened. In any case, it is the responsibility of the union and state governments to ensure that public peace and order isn't disrupted because one group wants to vent its feelings over a judicial pronouncement.

    Secondly, as was the case with Dhananjoy Chatterjee, arguments against the death penalty are being given after the sentence was handed out. What were those against the death penalty doing in the two years between Dhananjoy being hung and the judgement on Mohammad Afzal? If they were really serious about doing away with that mode of punishment, shouldn't they have led a vociferous campaign in the intervening two years? They did nothing of that sort. So what they're looking for is just a public relations coup.

    The 1989 release of prisoners in exchange for Rubaiya Saeed was the defining act which convinced Pakistan and the terrorist movement that it was possible to terrorize the Indian government for fun. If we give in again, I see no scope for getting rid of terrorism and terrorists for the next hundred years.

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