After Kasab ruling, rights activists oppose death penalty

Thursday, May 6, 2010

NEW DELHI - Even as many hailed the death sentence awarded to Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab for 26/11, rights activists said that capital punishment does not solve any problem.

Moushumi Basu, secretary of the Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), said: “In principle, we have always opposed death penalties - so be it Kasab or Koli (accused in the Nithari murder case). Our opinion is the same.

“The state has no right to take a person’s life. Many countries have banned death penalty. Death sentences don’t offer any solution to any problem,” Basu told IANS.

Kasab, the lone gunman captured during the Mumbai terror attack, was sentenced to death by a special court which ruled that he did not have any right to live.

Kavita Srivastava of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties said PUCL had always been against death sentences and Kasab’s case was no different.

“Life imprisonment is a very harsh punishment and should be given to someone who has committed a heinous crime. It should have been done in this case too. We are committed in our stand against death penalty,” Srivastava told IANS.

“There are more than 130 countries where death penalty is banned. So why is it not done in India?” she asked.

The last execution in the country took place in August 2004 when then president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam dismissed the mercy petition of Dhananjoy Chatterjee who was executed for the rape and murder of a schoolgirl in Kolkata in March 1990.

International rights group Amnesty International had, in association with NGOs, launched a campaign against death penalty after Chatterjee’s execution.

In an open letter to Home Minister P. Chidambaram this year, Amnesty sought more information on the issue.

The UN has repeatedly called upon member states that retain the death penalty to be transparent about the application of this punishment, it said.

“The promotion of such a debate constitutes the first and important step towards the establishment of a moratorium on execution and eventual abolition of the death penalty in India,” it added.

Filed under: Terrorism

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