Save Yakub Memon from the gallows

Following the rejection of his mercy plea by the President of India, Yakub Memon is all set to be hanged for his involvement in the 12 March, 1993 Bombay serial blasts that claimed 257 lives. But the Government, especially the President of India, mustn’t forget that his conviction is based largely on the statements of an approver in the case. Memon’s hanging will be witness forever to our biased system which has failed to punish those in khaki and otherwise who killed, raped and uprooted thousands of Muslims of Bombay in two riots shortly after the demolition of the Babri Mosque. Srikrishna Commission report was never implemented by subsequent governments which exhibited exemplary enthusiasm to catch Bombay Serial Blasts accused while shielding those responsible for the riots which led to those blasts.

If Sikh terrorist Bhullar’s death rap can be commuted to life imprisonment on the ground of inordinate delay and unsound mental state, can’t the same be applied to Yakub Memon, who also has been languishing in jail for two decades and has lost mental balance?

Delay in hanging for such a long time is tantamount to executing a convict everyday. This is a travesty of justice and also shows the judiciary’s lopsided approach to dealing with those who belong to the minority community (read Muslims). I’m not exonerating Yakub Memon and absolving him from his implication in the case. The enormity of his crime cannot be measured or condoned. What I want to drive home is the inequality in delivering justice and deprivation of fundamental human rights. Okay, don’t free Memon, but don’t hang him either. It’ll also send wrong signals that a majoritarian government has immediately emphasised its political presence by executing a person from the minority. Will anyone think over these sensitive issues and their long term repercussions? Finally, capital punishment has no place in a civilised society.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 June 2014 on page no. 2

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