Quick on the heels of his tweet expressing ‘sadness’ at Yakub Memon’s hanging, Shashi Tharoor from Delhi has spoken up against the death penalty calling its application “arbitrary” and in effect unequal in India. “There is no socio-economic parity in deciding on this most severe form of punishment” he said while talking to the media outside Parliament and on TV channels too.
He said his views were not specifically about execution of Yakub but he opined that today, in his eyes, what the Indian state has done is no different than what terrorists did in Mumbai in 1993 – taken a life.
“We should not be soft on terrorism, we must fight it with all our power but as international examples have shown, capital punishment has never deterred crime or terror activities – terrorists go to foreign shores to carry out destructive acts expecting to die, many of them do die… so how will the thought of death penalty deter them?” He asked.
Congress MP, Digvijay Singh also agreed with these views and said this barbaric punishment should be stopped as soon as possible.
CPI leaders like Brinda Karat, Sitaram Yechury and others also voiced their opinion against it. D. Raja said the Government has to show that justice is indeed blind and equal by quickly bringing to book ex Ministers of Gujarat convicted of 2002 riots and punish them with equal harshness. So should 1992 Mumbai riots perpetrators be dealt with.
BJP MPs on the other hand criticized all such voices of dissent saying these Congress and other opposition ‘leaders’ were trying to grab spotlight by displaying their “intelligence and smart views” – an obvious barb at Shashi Tharoor whose oratory skills have been praised by the PM himself on the floor of the parliament.
Congress party too chose to distance itself from these views clarifying that they are of the persons concerned, not the official party position on capital punishment.