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India India: Thousands support anti-death penalty campaign by Amnesty International India

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. spnadmin

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    India:Thousands support anti-death penalty campaign by Amnesty International India


    By Parmjit Singh

    http://www.sikhsiyasat.net/2013/09/...alty-campaign-by-amnesty-international-india/


    New Delhi, India (September 20, 2013): According to a press release (dated: 19 September 2013), sent to the Sikh Siyasat News by Amnesty International India [o]ver 65,000 people have supported an Amnesty International India campaign seeking abolition of the death penalty in India.

    According to the press release G. Ananthapadmanabhan, Chief Executive of Amnesty International India, delivered the campaign petition with all signatures to V. Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, on 18 September 2013.
    G Ananthapadmanabhan, Chief Executive, Amnesty International India, submits a petition with signatures from 65000 people supporting the Anti-Death Penalty campaign, to V Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the PMO, on 18th September, 2013 in New Delhi.

    G Ananthapadmanabhan, Chief Executive, Amnesty International India, submits a petition with signatures from 65000 people supporting the Anti-Death Penalty campaign, to V Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the PMO, on 18th September, 2013 in New Delhi.

    “This campaign showsthat there are thousands of people in this country who believe that the use of death penalty is arbitrary, flawed and biased,” said Ananthapadmanabhan. The campaign was launched in April 2013.

    “There is noevidence to prove that the death penalty is a particular deterrent to crime. It is indeed the government’s responsibility to ensure public safety and address rising crime. But this will require sustained commitment and action from the police and the judiciary to ensure that the justice system responds promptly and effectively at every level,” said Ananthapadmanabhan.

    For years, the deathpenalty has been awarded in India in ways the Supreme Court has described as inconsistent, subjective and judge-centric. Convicts who commit similar crimes are given the death penalty by some judges and life imprisonment by other judges.

    The Supreme Court hasalso pointed out that courts have made mistakes in using the ‘rarest-of-rare’ test to determine if the death sentence should be given. At least 13 people have been sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in judgements that did not apply the test correctly, and at least two – Ramji Rao and Surja Ram – have been subsequently hanged.

    “The use of the deathpenalty has a class bias and discriminates against powerless people in our society. The poorer a person is, the more likely he is to be sentenced to death,” said Ananthapadmanabhan.

    Since assuming office in 2012, President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected the mercy petitions of at least 20 people. At least 23 people are now at risk of execution.

    InJuly 2013, a nationwide survey in India conducted by the Centre for Study of Developing Societies, a prominent research institute, found that 40 per cent of those surveyed favoured ending the death penalty, 30 per cent disagreed and 30 per cent were unsure.

    Amnesty International India urges the government to take immediate steps to commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment, and impose a moratorium on executions as a step towards abolishing the death penalty in India.
     
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  3. Ishna

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    Re: India:Thousands support anti-death penalty campaign by Amnesty International India

    Law is a difficult place and I have much respect for responsible judges and magistrates who have to listen to the horror of the world in minute detail and then make sound decisions from an emotionally detatched and unbiased perspective having considered all the facts as presented. They also have the weight of their decisions on their conscience forever.

    What are some alternatives to the death penalty?

    These are just some of the thoughts in my mind right now, I haven't based them on solid research - yet.

    Life imprisonment, or long-term imprisonment
    Watch a program like Jail or similar about prisons in America. They become a playground for gangs. Youth go in as thugs and come out having graduated from gang college. Taxpayers pay millions of dollars to maintain these people who go back into the community to reoffend.

    Rehabilitation programs
    What gives a criminal the right to commit a crime then sit around for the next few years having regular meals brought to him/her and the chance to study and be rehabilitated and released back into the world when the victim they committed a crime against will be carrying that scar for life, or is possibly even dead? Is it fair that we put so much time and effort into someone who "doesn't deserve it"?

    What is punishment? What is fair? What is justice?

    I still struggle with the question of crime from a Sikh perspective too - who exactly is committing the crime and who exactly is the victim?
     
    #2 Ishna, Sep 22, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  4. AngloSikhPeace

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    Re: India:Thousands support anti-death penalty campaign by Amnesty International India

    Guruji tells us to protect others, and to raise the sword only in the last resort. An unarmed prisoner, captured and tried for his crimes, is no threat to anyone, there is no need to kill them. Yes it's true that Sikhs have brought to justice many tyrants in the past by force of arms, for example Wazir Khan. But they were armed men, powerful warriors, and there was no means to bring them to trial.
     
  5. Ishna

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    Re: India:Thousands support anti-death penalty campaign by Amnesty International India

    So what about justice?

    Are you saying that a Sikh's shouldn't have a concept like justice if the criminal is no longer a "threat"?
     
  6. AngloSikhPeace

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    Re: India:Thousands support anti-death penalty campaign by Amnesty International India

    If someone commits a severe crime they should be put in prison, with the length of the punishment and the severity of the captivity depending on the crime. That way, if it is discovered that they are in fact innocent, they can be released and compensated. If they change their hearts, as many people in prison do, they can serve the rest of the sentence and be released, and try to atone for their crimes outside. And in prison they can work for the betterment of the rest of society, for example planting trees or digging flood defences.

    The death penalty allows no atonement, no forgiveness, and most importantly is irreversible. If a judge sentences a man to death for political or social reasons (as is often the case in India) the sentence cannot be overturned if the person is later found innocent.


    In the past, other forms of justice were used. Public shaming, lashes, large compensation payments, feuding and slavery were some examples. These were used because before the modern systems of government were invented it was impossible to imprison large numbers for long periods, and many people did not have money that could be deducted in a fine.


    Previously you mentioned some problems with the prison system. These are real issues. But they can also be resolved. If young people who were convicted of minor offences like taking drugs, petty theft from shops, disorderly conduct etc were put into community service gangs or forced to undergo some other public humiliation, they would not end up in the prisons and would not be forced to join the gangs.

    Is it a waste of time trying to rehabilitate some people? Probably. That is why we have mental hospitals and super-max prisons. Do some people not deserve a chance at rehabilitation? I would say no. Why? Because mercy is a divine quality, and we should strive to show it to everyone, even those who wronged us. We are Sant-Siphaiye, our duty is not just to deliver justice but to show saintly mercy and compassion even to those who appear to deserve none.
     
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  7. Brother Onam

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    I believe the stance against killing is always the most noble ideal, and generally a stance against death-penalty is the most evolved. Having said that, in the case of the low-lifes who raped and killed the sister Nirbhaya, she herself requested their death, and who would be more qualified to choose the proper punishment, in this case, than she who fell victim to their viciousness? I would freely support this application of capital punishment.
     

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