|Blasts Which Killed 256 People (Courtesy: Huffpost)|
It has been a longish week. Every week is the same, seven days, but some weeks have more than a fair share of events which demands your attention. This week was such. These are the weeks which decide what we will emerge as on the other end of the time.
This week, we learned much about Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, brother of fugitive, Tiger Memon- Key operative behind the 1993 Mumbai Serial Bomb Blasts. The media went into tizzy with the announcement of Maharashtra Government’s Announcement of death sentence to Yakub Memon, scheduled for 30th of July, 2015, at 700 hours, post dismissal of his curative petition on June, 21st. As the channels planned for a walk towards gallows kind of programming, to much of their satisfaction, suddenly they had something better to debate and discuss.
Nobody would have expected support to pore in from places of eminence, like retired jurists and artists for the man convicted of planning the murder of 257 fellow citizens. Surprising and disgusting. We learned courtesy Main stream media that burgundy is the favorite color of Mr. Yakub Memon (Indian Express Report). We also know that he is a handsome man (same report). Death makes a good news report. That it needs heart, escapes most journalists. Also, the overwhelming number of deaths makes it difficult to even consider the life, or shortening of it in an individual perspective, let alone their favorite colors.
Internet is a great platform. User Generated Content, as we call in technical jargon is a great equalizer. So now everyone can be a journalist, including yours truly. It makes it very difficult for the overwhelming population of the country to hide stupidity. What began with trying to find an equivalence between other terrorists in the prison with verdict pending and Yakub Menon, slowly became blatant in protest. They in a way of sophisticated intellectual camouflage attacked the highest judiciary as the media oscillated between the term accused and convict.
An old report was unearthed, whereby Intelligence operative of RAW, B Raman was quoted as there was some understanding was reached, wherein Yakub Memon agreed to spill the beans on his brother, Tiger Memon. He did tell the story, how in a well-structured terrorist operator, the whole family fled away to Pakistan, where they were housed in a 20-bedroom posh house. B Raman’s words were cited to free Yakub, as if those words were binding over the highest court in the country. Yakub, it was proven in the court, ran the finances and logistics for the ghastly attack to happen which took away more than two hundred fifty unsuspecting lives. His role in the attack was well established by the prosecution.
The clemency brigade still decided to take a contrarian view. They said why hang Yakub when Tiger has escaped? It essentially meant, if there is a crime which has happened, in which multiple people are involved, unless all of them are held and punished at the same time, none should be. So their story is till the time we get Tiger, Dawood and other perpetrators and additionally, get terrorists arrested and convicted in other terrorist acts march in a unison towards the gallows, no one should be punished. Salman Khan, happy in an erroneous commercial story of Bajrangi Bhaijan came with the same plea- If Tiger cannot be punished, why punish Yakoob? The absurdity of script of Bajrangi Bhaijan, touted, to my dismay as great piece of art is another story. When we righteously claim that India and Pakistan are essentially same people, we ignore the basic facts, for instance, why is it totally impossible to geographically reverse the script of Bajrangi Bhaijan. A Pakistani Muslim girl, mistakenly left behind in India could go back to Pakistan as her Identity can be established by indication like the little girl walking into the mosque, looking for non-vegetarian food; the same would have been impossible for a Hindu, Indian girl who might have lost her way into Pakistan, where she would have found no Temples, no vegetarian food, no sign of Hinduism to establish her identity. That the movie is naïve and ignores that people who moved to Pakistan were those who did not believe in secularism, is another debate. That said, the actor, previously convicted for running his vehicle over poor pedestrians and hitting physically a famed actress, took the mantle of policy-maker and thought leader of international relations, appealing to Pak PM to send Tiger Memon so that justice can be served as if Tiger Memon were Munni of his movie and Nawaz Sharif were Bajrangi Bhaijan.
AIMIM Chief, as usual raised the voice, together with other political people like NCP and JDU, looking at Muslim Votes in Bihar election, citing religion as the reason behind Supreme Court decision. I am still trying to guess that in a PIL loving nation, where charges are filed for a sitting CM (which is another absurdity of the week) calling Policemen Thulla and seeking control over them on the premise which is as week as story line of any Salman Khan movie, why no contempt of court has been filed. Mr. Owaisi, whose brother, once famously claimed to wipe out one religion from the face of the nation, if only given free hand by the Police, cites Religion as the key consideration of the court in rejecting mercy for Yakub Memon and for obvious reasons ignores that out of 150 plus hangings in independent India only 15 thus far are of people from minority community, notwithstanding the fact, that the said minority community is not numerically minor in India. Owaisi reiterates and links the blasts itself with Babri demolition almost justifying the killings of 250 plus people, asks us to go back to the time of Babri demolition. He for reasons, stops some twenty years back in the history and refuses to go back to the time when the Mosque was made by an invader and the time when it was abandoned as a place of worship by the faithful. I would refer to Jaipur metro for which 200 odd temples where demolished, how many deaths would that justify, even if we do not go to the time of Mughal and Tughlaqi invasions? This man is a law-maker that we have elected.
Advocate KTS Tulsi, who appears on Television channel, masquerading as a neutral political commentator, without mentioning his official position as Congress’ MP for the Upper House, and without mentioning his own House in Lutyen’s Delhi which he got in hurriedly released orders of UD ministry right before the change of regime, goes further. He says that the nation should be grateful to Mr. Memon for having disclosed to the nation, the secrets of the crime to which he was party. This on the day that nation was expressing gratitude to the soldiers who protected the country’s honor from an enemy country. If he had a way, he would have added the name of Yakub Memon to the list of Martyrs as a grateful nation expressed its gratitude on Vijay Diwas. Media has long been in the habit of vociferously asking explanation from the PM for any utterances of right-wing organizations even if they might not be directly associated with the PM or his party. I am yet to see anyone reaching out to Rahul Gandhi, the New and improved one, after introspection in Bangkok, seeking his explanation to the views of his MP. Two hours back, Retd. Justice Katju came out with a write-up calling the SC decision a travesty of Justice. We cannot take that seriously, after his emotional support for Sanjay Dutt in the same case, the eternal kid for the film fraternity, on the ground that he has been making good movies. However, mercifully, he doesn’t say that Mr. Memon should be granted clemency since he is a damn good CA, and he should be allowed to file the returns for the honorable Judge. But then, he questions the judgment and joins the forty others, who did not find time to sign the petition for Captt. Saurabh Kalia ( In a enlightened society of India, with Billion plus people, his father’s petition to take the case to international court of justice is barely shade over two hundred thousand citizens (The Petitionfor justice to Martyr Captain Saurabh Kalia), After all why go to the courts at all, when you one, don't trust them to do justice, and two, are ambiguous about idea of justice and penalty.
Regarding an independent view on the validity of Capital Punishment, I am not very clear about my own mooring. As long as the gruesomeness of crime, the loss of lives it inflicted justifies it, I am in favor of it. I would go with Immanuel Kant’s thought when he says that, “ A society that is not willing to demand a life of somebody who has taken somebody else’s life is simply immoral.” John Stuart Mills (1806-1873) who is oft-quoted by the leftists on liberty, states the restraining influence of capital punishment, on the beginning of a thought which if indulged, will become a temptation; the check which it (capital punishment) exerts over graded declension towards the state- never suddenly attained- in which crime no longer revolts, and punishment no longer terrifies. Strong arguments are placed by those opposing Capital punishment, mostly academics and rarely an affected party, citing it as an act of brutal vengeance for an act committed in the past. Plato answers it very clearly when he contends, “No, punishment is not inflicted by a rational man for the sake of the crime that has been committed….but for the sake of the future, to prevent either the same man or, by the spectacle of his punishment someone else, from doing wrong again. This is a debatable matter and debate will continue forever, I should however, close here with Rousseau (Jeneva, 1712)- “Again, every rogue who criminously attacks social rights becomes, by his wrong, a rebel and a traitor to his fatherland. By contravening its laws, he ceases to be one of its citizens: he even wages war against it. In such circumstances, the State and he cannot both be saved: one or the other must perish. In killing the criminal, we destroy not so much a citizen as an enemy. The trial and judgements are proofs that he has broken the Social Contract, and so is no longer a member of the State.”