Nov 21, 2012

Should Death Penalty Be Abolished…?

Kasab HangedRecently, the United Nations General Assembly drafted a resolution which called for abolishing the death penalty in the member countries. A record 110 countries supported the resolution, while 39 countries including India, US, and China voted against it. And interestingly, Ajmal Amir Kasab (the only terrorist caught in connection with the 2008 Mumbai attacks) was executed in Yerwada Jail, Pune, India the very next day. This was only the second execution in India in the last 17 years and the first in the last eight years (India had been moving towards a moratorium on the capital punishment).
Many, including activist and social worker Medha Patkar and former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Rajendra Sachar have expressed their disapproval of the death sentence the very day the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in Kasab’s case. Internationally, the NGO Amnesty International has emerged as the foremost organisation opposing the death sentence by a state. Amnesty India’s Programmes Head, VK Shashikumar expressed his disapproval of the execution in these words,

Today's executions means India has taken a significant step backwards and joined that minority of countries that are still executing

If you ask my personal opinion, I also find myself to be able to convincingly relate my thoughts to those of these pro-life activists (by pro-life I don’t mean anti-abortion). Most of the people and groups supporting the abolition of death penalty give the reason that in any case there is always a grey area and the final judgement depends on individual judges who are also humans, and we all know that human beings err. Besides this, I have another convincing reason in support of abolishment of the capital punishment. None of us precisely knows what happens after death. Is there a life after death ? Do we go to Heaven or Hell ? Or does death only mean rebirth on earth ? Now isn’t it senseless to impose something as punishment on someone, whose consequences we are not even aware of ? See, no one on earth has even an iota of clue about the happenings after death, then how on earth can we sentence death as a punishment. Maybe dying is a pleasing experience (who knows), and if that is the case, we are rewarding the criminals instead of punishing them. Or maybe our brains aren’t capable enough to even imagine about the possibilities after death.

In short, we live in this world, and everything from rewards to punishment for deeds done in this world should be confined to this world only (because we don’t know anything outside this world. Do we ?)