Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: World

Happy Christmas

Christmas is a time to celebrate. It is the feast of joy, peace and happiness. Many people are today unable to celebrate. Christ did not have place in the inn. Today many people in Delhi and Ulhasnagar have lost their homes. Innocent people are punished. Guilty are free. They have the gall to ask for more bribes not to demolish.

Last year on 26th December tsunami struck and many people are still suffering. They are unable to celebrate.

The peace of Christ is not the peace of graveyard. I hope to have midnight masses all over India. Current exemption up to midnight is not enough. It has to be up to 2.00 a.m.

May all the shelterless find home. May the wounds be healed. May everyone who is good, right and just, be filled with joy, peace and happiness.

Feliz Navidad
Feliz Natal

War crimes

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ...

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed tens of thousands of Japanese civilians. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After World War II there were trials for war crimes and many were punished. None belonging to victors were punished. All belonged to vanquished. Not that soldiers of USA, UK, USSR, France and other countries who were their allies did not commit any war crime. USSR soldiers raped two million German women. Australian soldiers raped women in Bombay. Atrocities committed by allied soldiers were not less than that of axis soldiers. Dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were greatest war crimes for which everyone from President of USA to the pilots who dropped atom bombs should have been punished. That did not happen.

Presently some from countries like Serbia and Montenegro and Croatia are facing trial for war crimes. Nobody is tried for war crimes committed by USA in Iraq.

Death penalty II

Wrong is wrong even if said by a Chief Justice. Justice Brennan of Supreme Court of USA was wrong when in 1981 he said “I believe that a majority of the Supreme Court will one day accept that when the State punishes with death, it denies the humanity and dignity of the victim.”

Let us not talk of reforming criminals. When murderers are not punished with death many people who would not have committed murder commit murder.

In 1980 the Supreme Court in the Bachchan Singh vs State of Punjab case set the standard of death penalty being awarded in the “rarest of rare” cases. After that murders became open. Court, lock up, hospital, railway station and other places full of people would not deter criminals.

Since independence 55 persons were hanged for murder. This number is insignificant considering the number of people murdered which does not include murders passed off as accidents, suicides and natural deaths.

There are many who want death penalty for rape more so when committed by policemen.

There should be Presidential accountability. K. R. Narayan kept 12 mercy petitions pending. This is dereliction of duty. He should be deprived of pension and other benefits due as Ex-President.

Many escape death penalty does not mean those who are sentenced should be let off. Being poorest of the poor or Dalit does not mean the murderer should be treated differently.

Let us examine some of the mercy petitions pending:

1) Three persons in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. These people belonged to a gang which killed many people including Rajiv Gandhi.

2) Veerappan‘s juniors. These four were part of a gang headed by Veerappan which killed 122 people. Veerappan had escaped from prison. In 2000 he kidnapped Raj Kumar and Karnataka was ready to surrender to him. Supreme Court prevented it. Later Veerappan got ransom. Figures vary from Rs.20 crore to Rs.40 crore. Later an ex-minister was killed.

3) Punjab terrorists. These four killed 17 people including a seven year old child in 1991 near Amritsar.

The damage done by the above mentioned and similar murderers is immense.

The people opposed to death penalty twist statistics to show that murders have gone down after abolition of death penalty. Rajinder Sachar wrote in Times of India dt. 26/10/2005 “In Canada, the homicide rate declined after the abolition of death penalty in 1976. In 2000, there were 542 homicides in Canada, 16 less than in 1998 and 159 less than in 1975 (a year prior to the abolition of capital punishment). There is difference between murder and homicide. Will Rajinder Sachar give the figure for murders in 1985 including 329 killed in Kanishka bombing? The murderers had planned to blow up another plane carrying more than 500 passengers and crew(520 or 521) which landed before scheduled time and the people were saved.

If the President feels it is a matter of conscience he should quit.

Chief Justice Ramesh Chandra Lahoti on 31/10/2005, his last day in office, justifying death penalty and referring to Delhi blasts on 29/10/2005, said “What other penalty would suit perpetrators of such brutal acts? What other penalty is called for if the crime is proved beyond reasonable doubt? What happens is that, we forget the past. We see only the face of the accused, who is before us and his family. We forget the victims and their families.”

Let there be death penalty for every murder.

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