Rajiv Gandhi’s assassin Nalini is getting ‘A’ class prison facilities, which include a bed with mattress, pillow, mosquito net, non-vegetarian food twice a week, newspapers and radio. In Tihar, December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament convict Afzal Guru invited the jail superintendent Manoj Dwivedi to convert to Islam, urging him to appreciate the so called egalitarianism of Islam. The main accused in 26/11 terror attack case Ajmal Kasab is being fed delicacies like mutton biryani, which is prepared using basmati rice and pure desi ghee. No wonder, a whooping 16 crore has been spent on Kasab in last three years.
The Superintendent of Arthur Jail, where Kasab is lodged, told the media that Kasab only wants spicy food and basmati rice. Two days back, Balwant Singh Rajoana’s hanging was put on hold after a mercy appeal was submitted to the President of India. Rajoana is a Sikh separatist/terrorist who is sentenced to death for his involvement in the 1995 murder of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh. So these are some of the high profile prisoners who are facing death penalty in India.
In three Indian states, the state governments are directly involved in “clemency politics.”
Jammu & Kashmir :: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has openly declared that Afzal Guru’s hanging would have grave implications not just in the state, but the entire country. Punjab :: The mercy plea was filed by two Sikh religious groups, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee. Akali Dal, which has been recently re-elected in state assembly elections, is also trying to secure clemency for Rajoana. TamilNadu :: Last year, the Tamil Nadu Assembly adopted a resolution recommending commutation of the death sentence awarded to Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The resolution, moved by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, urged the President to take into consideration Tamils’ sentiments and political leaders’ views and commute their death sentence to life imprisonment.
So everyone is talking about sentiments. Kashmiris are expressing their Kasmiri sentiments, TamilNadu wants to show the power of Tamil sentiment to the whole nation. Punjabis are supporting Rajoana to demonstrate the sentiments of Khasla and Alkali group. I don’t know where the hell Indian sentiment is. Instead of showing some toughness on terrorism, politicians are busy protecting their vote banks. With this kind of politics, we are sowing the seed of disintegration. We have proved ourselves as the soft state, completely non-serious about the rule of law, where religion and politics comes first and rule of law comes third.
Now one thing is clear, Indians are led by a spineless leadership. Our behaviour is being dictated by sentiments of handful Tamils, Punjabis and Kashmiris. I agree, it is possible that these hangings may lead to a spurt in retaliatory attacks and some violence. But should the Government grant clemency to a terrorist because of this. No sovereign and aspiring superpower nation can afford to think like this. Grant of clemency because of fear of retaliation and violence will only encourage more terrorists to repeat these ghastly acts.
Why are we so soft on these bloody terrorists? Why our political parties in lieu of hanging these terrorists, wrapping garlands around their necks and portraying them as victims? How long we will have to become mute spectators of India’s spineless story? In my opinion, there should not be any concept of mercy petition at all. If someone is awarded death sentence, hang him or her as soon as possible so as to prevent political party taking mileage out of it.