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Ayushman Jamwal
Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at 13 : 37

Death Penalty is no sign of an uncivilized society


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Morality and prudence are polar opposite virtues, which when hold hands deliver political master strokes to those who wield them. For the heinous crimes of terrorism and rape that visit the Indian people every day, that political capital lies in carrying out the death penalty, as many cheer to see the rare sight of justice in its purest form. The very root of crime is human character, something that hasn't diminished in brutality even with the advent of 'civilised society'. While it is very important for society to drive the judicial machinery to prove guilt, it is as important to give fitting punishments to the guilty. Due diligence should never be seen as the criminal justice system being soft of perpetrators. Yet, when the Supreme Court and the President sign off on a penalty, the sentence of the guilty should be carried out; the right of appeal of the guilty should end then and there. Their crimes forgo their rights to be treated as citizens

Whenever the judiciary mulls the death penalty in cases of terror and rape, activists suddenly come out of the woodwork to decry human rights, the under-developed mental faculties of the guilty or just plain savagery. Yet savagery is the brutal rape and murder of a 23 year old girl in New Delhi, savagery is the murder of innocents in the Mumbai attacks or the security officers who defended Parliament. It should be completely unacceptable that a person who commits such heinous crimes is kept alive by tax payer money completing a life sentence. In the case of regional parties who raise the 'sentiments' of communities, the Central government should grow a backbone and ignore their threats of pulling out support. Rajiv Gandhi was India's Prime Minister, the prime representative of the people. It's an insult to Indian democracy to entertain the demands of Tamil parties to commute the death sentence of his killers. It's an insult if the Centre entertains the calls of Sikh groups to commute the death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajaona, the killer of Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh. The death penalty is a fitting punishment for these enemies of the state for destroying lives, causing wanton destruction, for attacking Indian democracy.

The logic of the death penalty is clear and simple. People who commit such crimes should be removed from society when the judicial system deems it so to not only uphold the law, but to maintain a precedent that people who have no respect of human life don't deserve to be sheltered or sustained by human society. Many ask who has the right to play God. But we play God all the time when we live for others. We play God when we love and nurture others, when we strive to elevate others, when we fight to defend and uphold the integrity of our community. It's just called responsibility. Permanently removing dangerous criminals from society is not the sign of a God complex or savagery, it's the responsibility of the government when carrying out their duty to protect the integrity and faith of civilized society.


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Ayushman Jamwal works on the foreign desk at CNN-IBN.

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