To hang, or not to

That, is now a moot point. Because as the newscasters are updating us minute by minute, Yakub Menon – one of the accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts (we have to name the year since we have had so many) was ‘hanged to death’ earlier today.

Social media of course has latched on to this story, talking about justice finally prevailing, and also of minorities being persecuted in this country. Some thoughts on this which I have put below in my now favourite format for posting.

  • I personally  am undecided about death penalty. Studies have shown that death penalty doesn’t act as a deterrent and has no impact on crime rates.  But putting the guilty to death gives closure to the affected people – revenge is a natural instinct, like love.  Purely from an economical point of view, it is ‘cheaper’ to kill a guy than house him in a prison and feed him for decades. When it comes to death, there is no ideal answer, we need to pick the least sucky option.
  • Keeping the debate on capital punishment aside, one disturbing trend is the live blogging, live tweeting, and live everything of a person’s death. Sure, many of us might be happy since moments of justice being served are few and far – but making a spectacle of a death sentence is barbaric. Let’s not become Saudi Arabia.
  • Like everything else in this country, this death too brings on the debate of ‘communalism’, neatly packaged into a hashtag #DeathOfSecularism. If hanging a muslim who was partly responsible for the blasts (btw, its only his degree of involvement that is in question, not whether he was responsible or not) is #DeathOfSecularism, can we please use the same hashtag when our dear Bhaijaan gets off scot free after moving down people?
  • For those who are mourning the death of Yakub, may I suggest a small trick to make you feel better. The blasts killed 350 people, this is something we have accepted and the wounds have healed. Simply adjust the number to 351.  “351 innocent people died in that horrid incident with 1 of them being not so innocent.” Doesn’t that make you feel better? No? Aw shucks!
  • But I do agree with one point raised by those against the hanging. If Yakub was ‘partly responsible’ for killing hundreds, we have quite a few of such who are sitting in parliament – in power and in opposition. If he is branded a terrorist (with good reason), there is no reason why justice shouldn’t be served to them too.