How Long Will Mercy Petition Drama For Terrorists Continue?
At the outset, let me begin by asking: Do terrorists deserve mercy? Are terrorists ordinary criminals that they can claim mercy petition as of birthright? Are the human rights of terrorists more important or an ordinary citizen whom they kill indiscriminately?
How long will mercy petition drama for terrorists continue? How long will our courts including the Apex court open for them to be heard in night? How long will terrorists keep getting special preference as we saw in Yakub Memon case?
Why do we treat terrorists not as ordinary criminals but as VVIPs? Why our government succumbs in front of their demands but never succumb in front of an ordinary criminal? Why does our government declare ceasefire only for terrorists and not for a rapist, murderer or any other criminal?
It must be asked: If rapists and other criminals also form associations , will the government start talking with them also ? Will our government declare ceasefire for them also ?
Why does our government hold talks with only terrorists and not other criminals?
It must be also asked : Why is it that our State Assemblies pass resolution only for saving a terrorist from being sent to the gallows and not a rapist or other criminals? Why our government spares no time in hanging rapists like Dhanonjoy Chatterjee who was convicted and hanged only on circumstantial evidence alone and trembles in hanging a terrorist like Afzal Guru or Kasab or Devender Pal Singh Bhullar or any other convicted terrorist ? Arvind Kejriwal recently expressed his concern over rapists, murderers and other criminals being elected as Parliamentarians but what disturbs me most is their stubbornness in always advocating talks with terrorists and not with rapists or other criminals. Why? Many such troubling questions keep troubling my mind always.
In my college days, I always mistook dacoits for terrorists but my best friend Sageer Khan clarified all my doubts. He said that, “An ordinary criminal like a dacoit or rapist or robber or murderer or any other ordinary criminal never goes to Pakistan or any other foreign country for getting training on how to commit dacoity or rape or robbery or murder but a terrorist always go and get such training to commit terror acts. Not stopping here , he gets all type of financial and other kind of aid from abroad to perpetrate direct attack on the very identity of our nation as a whole.
Ordinary criminals attack and affect adversely either one or few persons but in case of terrorists things are quite different because terrorists don’t attack just one or few individuals rather they attack and affect adversely our nation as a whole whom they want to destroy completely . A terrorist always declares war against the nation but an ordinary criminal never does so. An ordinary criminal like a rapist or a dacoit will never attack our nuclear installations by which our entire nation can be wiped away but terrorists always place our nuclear installations on their hit list as they are a part of a proxy war waged by some of our neighbouring countries like Pakistan and it is a fact that if they are able to execute their evil design , our entire nation can be eliminated in one go !”
It also cannot be denied that a terrorist always gets all types of aid from foreign countries but an ordinary criminal gets no such help. An ordinary criminal will never attack national symbols like Parliament, Red Fort, Supreme Court but terrorists always dream of attacking such places and sometimes have been able to partially attack them also. What is however most intriguing is that our Indian politicians overlook everything and find nothing wrong in holding regular talks with them only and in passing time and again resolutions in their favour and not for ordinary criminals. An enemy soldier during war attack our army soldiers but terrorists are worse than them as they rarely attack men in uniform and always enjoy attacking innocent people especially pilgrims to holy shrines and still many of our leaders plead mercy for them . Do they still deserve mercy?
It goes without saying that they are a potential threat to the very existence of our nation yet our government is not prepared to hang them even after they are convicted and sentenced to death by the Apex Court itself and forward puerile excuses for its inability in deciding on their mercy petitions for decades to the extent that some years back in Bhullar’s case , even the Supreme Court had expressed its absolute unhappiness over the same and sought a reply from the Centre in this regard.
Needless to say, our former PM Dr Manmohan Singh had time and again warned of terrorists launching attack on our nuclear installations by which our entire nation can be destroyed. Even PM Narender Modi keep reminding world leaders of the grave threat posed by terrorists to the whole world at large! Still should they be allowed to file mercy petition as a birth right?
The gruesome terror attack that one witnessed at Narender Modi’s rally at Gandhi Maidan in Patna and also at Patna railway station is nothing and even the bone chilling terror attack at Mumbai on 26 / 11 in 2008 was just a small trailer if terror leaders like Hafiz Sayyid are to be believed and in coming time there will be unleashed millions of such terror attacks again and even our big dams like Tehri are on their hit list by which many big cities like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Meerut, Ghaziabad and even Delhi our national capital will get swept away but our MLAs who pass resolutions in their favour are least bothered about all this as they point out their experience in India of “Saab chalta hain” and how terrorists have their sympathizers in every party which alone explains that why repeatedly Centre and States hold talks with them only and not with a rapist or a murderer . By showing respect for human rights for terrorists, who has suffered the most? We all know.
Truth be told, most of us know that some years back when senior counsel KTS Tulsi was pleading for mercy for death row convict Devender Pal Singh Bhullar who was sentenced to death by a designated TADA Court on August 25 , 2001 , for his role in the September 10, 1993, bomb blast in Delhi, Justice GS Singhvi told the counsel, ‘ ‘ Has anyone examined the psyche of victims of violence ? Several security persons died in defending Parliament and these people have been forgotten in a day. In this incident, nine persons were killed and 27 injured; what about their human rights? It is difficult to ignore the reasons for delay, but persons who committed the crime think that at a given time, a particular political combination will come (to power) and will give support for commutation (of the sentence) Delay gives a huge hope.’’
Simply stated, the Congress party which has been in power for maximum period in Centre as also those parties who have been in power in Centre and so also the incumbent NDA government led by PM Narendra Modi must seriously give it a food of thought as these opinions are not of one ordinary individual but of a senior Judge of the Supreme Court. It cannot be lost on us that we have lost many dynamic charismatic leaders including former PMs like late Mrs Indira Gandhi, late Rajiv Gandhi and many others like VC Shukla among others in terrorist attacks but what a pity that still we treat terrorist as ordinary criminals and extend the privilege of mercy petition to them. Things have come to such a pass that Pakistani leaders like Rahman Malik were asking for Kasab to be hanged but this ‘‘ mercy petition privilege’’ delayed their hanging but it was all credit to our former President late Pranab Mukherjee who ensured that some of the dreaded terrorists were hanged and not kept in jail warmly for many decades as we saw most unfortunately in case of killers of our former PM late Rajiv Gandhi!
Those advocating mercy for terrorists dish out various Articles of the Constitution or various Sections of IPC or CrPC to support their headless chicken arguments that even law favours them. Why do they forget that when our Constitution or CrPC or other laws were prepared, there was no terrorism whatsoever in our country.
It is only in the last three decades or so that terrorism started rearing its ugly face in India with full help from foreign countries who want to destroy us completely and they receive direct aid from such MPs and MLAs who pass resolutions demanding clemency for terrorists or holding talks with terrorists unlike other ordinary criminals with whom they never like to even interact or see their face.
Can anyone deny that in just 15 years from 1994 to 2009 nearly 30,000 people have been killed in various terror attacks, what to say about security forces who are their prime targets. Still our elected representatives want that no terrorist should ever be hanged and this special privilege of holding talks like VVIPs should also be reserved only for terrorists and not for rapists or dacoits or other criminals. Unlike other criminals , terrorists are most dangerous in destroying the very identity of our nation itself as now see Taliban which is a terror organization mercilessly playing havoc with the lives of people but still all this doesn’t bother our leaders and they forward one lame excuse or the other for holding talks with terrorists . Crores and crores of rupees are spent aimlessly in providing security to terrorists and even after being convicted they enjoy jail facilities at the taxpayers cost but the government cares a damn for it all!
What a pity that time and again terror groups like ULFA among others have misused or rather abused the ceasefire for regrouping and rearming and in killing scores of men in uniform but our politicians just don’t bother and without bothering for the wounded sentiments of families of the deceased soldier enjoy in holding talks with them . This open mockery of the supreme sacrifice rendered by the martyred brave soldiers hurts me most and must end now if our nation has to survive and prosper ! It cannot be allowed to go on with impunity.
While distinguishing a terrorist attack from a criminal activity, the Supreme Court in Mohd Khalid v State of West Bengal, 2002 (7) SCC 334 held, ‘‘It may be possible to describe it as use of violence when its most important result is not merely the physical and mental damage of the victim but the prolonged psychological effect it produces or has the potential of producing on the society as a whole.There may be death , injury or destruction of property or even deprivation of individual liberty in the process but the extent and reach of the intended terrorist activity travels beyond the effect of an ordinary crime capable of being punished under the ordinary penal law of the land and its main objective is to overawe the Government or disturb the harmony of the society or ‘terrorise’ people and the society and not only those directly assaulted , with a view to disturb the tempo , peace and tranquility of the society and create a sense of fear and insecurity .’’ It is our politicians especially those who are ruling in Centre or in States who must always bear this in mind!
It is an unbeatable irony that repeated terror attacks including the one on Delhi High Court have also failed in igniting a stirring debate about abolishing mercy petition for terrorists and setting a time limit within which the case of terrorists must be decided right from the lowest to the highest courts so that the right message percolates down that terror acts won’t go unpunished and terrorists can’t escape the gallows for long and their political connections will carry no weightage but sadly this is not happening so right now! Rather the pernicious, divisive practice which has been set in motion is that if the terrorist is from Tamil Nadu, the whole Assembly will pass a resolution that their terrorist will not be hanged and this holds true for other states also. The welfare of the people and our national interests must be paramount and not that of terrorists or their elected representatives who support them or the lawyers who argue their case elegantly or the countries like Pakistan who train and send them to India to cause maximum mayhem and destruction!
Last but not the least, if India is to survive as a nation in the coming years, we have to be firm in punishing the convicted terrorists after being convicted by the Supreme Court and this brooks no delay as it would tantamount to nurturing them for the day when other terrorists of his group kidnap innocents to secure their unconditional release as has happened many times in the past! We all know how Masood Azhar who is the founder of the dreaded terror outfit – Jaish-e-Mohammad was released along with his three other associates when the Indian plane was hijacked and taken to Kandhar in Afghanistan in 1999! Their trial must take place at lightning speed and no mercy should be shown to them once convicted as they are the most potent threat not to just one or few individuals but to the very existence of our entire nation and nobody can be above the nation, certainly not the terrorists! They must be promptly hanged after being convicted! The drama of mercy petition for terrorists must be put to an end now once and for all the times to come! The earlier this is done, the better it shall be for our national interests which certainly stands above everything else!