Death sentence is a serious subject and like any contentious subject there are arguments for and against this punishment. In India as well as in the United States of America death sentence is one of the legal punishments that can be awarded by a court. In India the Supreme Court has justified a death sentence in the rarest of rare cases. Terror including acts of extremism leading to murder and deaths qualifies as the rarest of rare cases. Such acts are aimed at striking society and create a fear psychosis among the people. Keeping such terrorists alive is an encouragement to others as well as the risk of future hostage situations, like it happened in the hijacking of the iAC flight from Kathmandu.
The issue has now blown out of proportion when a date was set for hanging the 3 assassins of Rajiv Gandhi the former Indian prime Minister. These 3 members who were part of an LTTE console given a specific task by the LTTE leader Velu Prabhakaran to kill Rajiv, carried out their mission successfully. That was in 1990 and now 21 years down the line, 9 sept 2011 was fixed for the hanging of these murderers.
This hanging galvanized regional and parochial thoughts and the Tamil Nadu assembly adopted a resolution asking that the hangings of these men be commuted to life imprisonment. This is indeed a very short sighted approach and brings to the fore that India has a long way to go to become a nation.
Close on the heels of this development The Alkali Dal the ruling party in Punjab has made a similar demand for Devinder Pal Singh Bhuller a member of the Khalistan commando force to be spared the noose. The Muslims are making noises that Afzal Guru the mastermind of the attack on the Indain Parliament be also spared and the J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has gone on record on his website requesting the same.
Where do we go from here? As it stands nobody accused of any terror attacks will ever be hanged for his offence as India is not a cohesive nation and regional loyalties and sectarian thoughts dominate the national stage. Sometimes one wonders whether the opinion of the Chinese Institute of Strategic studies that India may break up into smaller fragments may not after all come true