Excerpts of debate on “Capital Punishments”

Please visit at: http://politeindian.wordpress.com/2006/10/07/afzal-and-the-hanging-dilemma/#comment-2882, where there is a debate initiated by Polite India on abolishing the Capital Punishment. I have also commented over there and here are some of the excerpts of my comments.  Dear PI, Let me elaborate my points stated in above post#33.

“You propose a case for change in law to abolish the death sentence. It is uncivilized and we should not practice it. LI will serve the purpose and CP is redundant.” I don’t think CP is redundant and I agree that we should not abolish CP like law in current situation and should invoke in case of person behaving like inhumane (animals). I am advocating for CP because at this point of time I see that people are becoming uncivilized and there is need of uncivilized law to refrain them from becoming an animal. I think that our country India is still practicing the most civilized law and CP is given in the rarest of the rare cases, i.e., in heinous crimes, when a person becomes an animal.

We can argue that why army kills terrorist in an encounter. In civilized terms one may say, first let the terrorists finish there bullets and ammunitions then when they have no other option but to surrender, the army should catch them live and produce in the court. Let them kill as many as army personnel, but don’t retaliate; otherwise shooting a terrorist could be uncivilized. Also one can argue, terrorist may be right because they are fighting for a cause and protecting the right and freedom of their people. So, don’t kill them but catch live and produce them in court. They have right to live and no one has right to take their right of living. Therefore one may ask why army is killing them. Isn’t it uncivilized?

The same way we can argue, or we civilized enough? If yes then why there is war like situation everywhere. Even let us say India is a civilized country and it should practice the civilized laws. Then we can again land into rule: don’t kill any person in any circumstances because we are civilized. Thus in case our neighbor country attack us then tell our army not to torture or kill any army personnel of enemy country. Let them kill our army until they finish and impose a more civilized rule.

But what is the real situation in our above two examples, do we follow the civilized rule? No. Why? Because of other party is behaving inhumane and uncivilized and creating danger to our life and our existence. So, we say forget about the civilization and go uncivilized way to deter the enemy. Even you may want to kill as many enemies as possible or go to the extent of using the atom bomb.

I would like to pose another question here: what we should do in event of our enemy uses an atom bomb to destroy our country? Should we use civilized way to surrender them or should use tit for tat? In other words don’t we use atom bomb too? The advocate of civilization can tell, don’t use atom bomb in this situation too because it could kill millions of innocents. But couldn’t it be height of nonsense. Because of our country is too civilized we may not use tit for tat in this situation too and we would be tiled as cowards. But should we not retaliate to the enemy in his own uncivilized manner? If we don’t do, there would come a time when uncivilized will rule and there could be imposed more uncivilized rules and law than whatever our country is practicing today. So, if it could be correct in war like situation to kill enemies then why not for a person who behaves like criminal of WAR. There is nothing wrong if we could have CP in judiciary and kill a criminal of that kind by our judiciary system. This is the more civilized way since he is given a chance to prove his innocence rather than killing somewhere else.

You have quoted, “Gandhi once said an eye for an eye will make the world blind”. This is so very true.

Do you think that this is logically true? It is just a phrase but doesn’t apply in real life. This phrase is only to make people refrain from violence but if you apply eye for an eye, I don’t think it will make world blind. In the real context, eye for an eye is applied to uncivilized people to suppress the crime and not on civilized people. So even if you apply an eye for eye, there will be leftover of civilized people. If you have respect for Gandhi, you should also believe the Muslim scholars too. Many Muslim scholars have proposed that the Quran is most civilized, modern science, peaceful, human loving and best religion in the world. And uncivilized rule are necessary for uncivilized people. Dou you want to say that the Quran is uncivilized religion and its followers and Muslim scholars are uncivilized? I would like to say that Muslim scholars have done lot of research and analysis and after that they have reached to the conclusion and proposed to follow the rules of Quran for having a better civilized and peaceful life.

I stated in my post #33 that punishment is delivered to a criminal (in most of the cases) and no harm even if it’s uncivilized. It will deter to repeat the crime. I am not sure how much it could be effective but I am sure this would prove the logic of Gandhi wrong. In past where people were following the Islamic rules were having a punishment such as an eye for an eye, cut the arms of a thief, kill the murderer in front of public and so and so forth. But these laws didn’t make followers of Muslims to vanish but they become more civilized and prosperous later. You can read more here http://www.examinethetruth.com/ on “Quran and modern science” and other debates.

You said “You talk about IC-814. Wasn’t that an act of a weak state surrendering to terrorsit demand? Hassn’t that very act of the govt. kept the repitition of IC-814 still an option for the terrorists?”

In above statement you say that our state act was act of a weak state. But it was because we chosen the path of civilization. We didn’t want to loose our Indian citizen. We can realize only when if one of our loved ones was there. We certainly wanted to see them live. There may be some exception, which you have quoted. So, both the options (surrender or raid) were having some merits and demerits and the India chose the path of not to take the risk of civilians life (one may say a civilized approach). If we would have not saved the life of our fellow Indians, the India could have criticized more and what else would have had happened more, I can’t say. Government had 50-50 chances in both and chose the one. We can’t argue on which was right and which was wrong since we don’t have results of other. Also, I am not sure, if raiding could have deterred a terrorist to avoid the repetition. What I can say is that there was nothing wrong in swapping since we had our people and terrorists have theirs. They all are alive and seems nothing wrong in this since we are debating on abolishing the CP and thus not taking a life even if how inhumane a criminal is. But what I understand from your comments that you wanted tough approach even if it would be uncivilized and that’s what I want to tell: change ourselves as per the requirements of the environments and societies. This is not the right time to change the tough law like CP, but it’s time to add few more.

Since we allow killing the people in war like situation so why not should we have such laws to use against the person who wages war against our country? Thus what I am suggesting is, let there be some uncivilized law and leave it on Judiciary to chose based on the level of crime. We should use middle path of civilized punishment (I didn’t yet know what the civilized punishments are) and few uncivilized one until we make India and world away from inhumane kind of activities. As for as my limited knowledge is concerned, I know that these punishments are given to deter the criminal minded people to repeat the crime. If this is not so, then why there is punishment at all. Let any one do what does he want and don’t punish.

In my opinion, CP will deter criminal minded people because of – 1) fear of life, 2) it has psychological effect on family members, since they loose a loved one and 3) he will be no more their to preach evil and or support evil. In case of LI, it could be possibility of he could survive and can preach or support evil and also can instigate family members from the jail to engage in evil. Also, a family member will have loved one alive and lesser psychological affect than CP. Thus what do I think is that CP is more rigorous punishment than LI and we should keep it even if it looks uncivilized. I am not going to be as ideal as you after looking into the current scenario in India and I would like to advocate for CP even if it seems uncivilized until we remove terrorism and war like crimes.

Nowadays our Country is struggling with problem of corruption which has affected law and order, judiciary and development and is in the process of paralyzing them. Because of distress and our society becoming uncivilized, the SC has commented that every one is looting our country India and we need some stringent laws to make people more civilized. It even went a step further and proposed for uncivilized law (hanging in lamppost) to check the corruptions. I believe they are not wrong on assessing the situation of country on corruption. There is something alarming which compelled SC to comment like this. Whenever our country would be in trouble, we should become littlie uncivilized to curb the uncivilization, otherwise our future generations too would call us that our ancestors were coward. We should give credit to our law makers. In my opinion, authors were fully civilized and after lot of thought they would have come to framing the laws of our land. May be something in law book incorrect, which I don’t know, but there are many correct things too. Our situation in India is still the same as it was at time of those law makers and it seems to me that CP should still hold good until next few years and until we realize totally civilized and find no place for CP.

We should not waste our energy to change laws in India to make it more civilized but our attention should be to make the other countries more civilized which are lacking civilization. I think there is no need to list the countries and you know them well. Once we can achieve a civilization like India in whole world then start debating on whether we should have CP punishment in India or not. When people of a country realize that because of a particular type crime, their country is getting paralyzed, then they realize that they need to punish such criminals in what may come to deter. In that case they don’t think whether a punishment for the crime is civilized or uncivilized. In current scenario, if we ask the general people what should be a punishment for a terrorist or a highly corrupted person, then they may suggest that change the law to make it more uncivilized so that the punishment hurts most. Even they can come up with hanging the terrorist with lamppost in eyes of public. A general public opinion will be to give highest uncivilized punishments for the heinous crime until we are getting back our normal life.

Since our society is feeling the heat of terrorism and it’s becoming a factor in affecting the day to day life of a citizen, we should have debate on “Is CP sufficient or we need additional uncivilized punishment for Terrorism/War like crimes”.

Thanks & Regards,
Vinaya

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