NEW DELHI: After BJP MPs Shatrughan Sinha and Babul Supriyo, it was the turn of party MP Varun Gandhi to denounce capital punishment, calling it a national shame. The ruling party, however, was quick to distance itself from Varun’s remark.
Strongly arguing for abolition of death penalty, Varun in an article said, “Capital punishment can have a socio-economic bias too... In India, 75 per cent of the convicts on death row belong to the socially and economically marginalised classes; 94 per cent of death row convicts are Dalits or from the minorities.
The poor consistently get the short end of the legal stick. The death penalty is a consequence of poor legal representation and institutional bias. The gallows remain a poor man’s trap.”
Though, Varun did not refer to Yakub Menon’s hanging, his denouncement of the death penalty comes at a time when his party had supported the court’s action and it shows not everyone in the party was on the same page. He went on to add, “India, as one of the 58-odd countries where death penalty is retained, needs to recognise the changing global scenario...For the largest democracy, death penalty is an anomaly. It needs correction. Many that live do deserve death. And some that die, deserve life.”
As the controversy raged, the BJP distanced itself. “These are his personal views,” Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Hanging Dealt with Humanly: RSS
An RSS leader on Saturday said the hanging of Yakub Memon was dealt with humanly by the government by allowing his family access, which ensured peace in the aftermath. “There was an atmosphere of an incident about to take place in the country (because of the hanging). The Judiciary did its duty. Its duty is not to tackle the situation emerging out of it (the verdict). Who has to tackle the problems that arise after the decision?
“The Government, while tackling with the decision of the judiciary, followed the basic structure of Indianness, which was that when a person is being hanged, his family is given access,” he said taking an obvious dig at the UPA government, which denied Afzal Guru’s family a chance to meet him.
Senior leader Indresh Kumar, said “All humane behaviour that is expected of a democracy was displayed hundred per cent by the government.”