There could have been two Nirbhayas on that disturbing December night! The juvenile did his best to make it happen…

This is what the lawyer revealed when The Quint spoke to him about the 17-year-old rapist and murderer of Nirbhaya on December 16, 2012: “There was no regret on his face when I first met him after he was arrested. Nor is there any today. I didn’t have to grill him to make him confess his crime. He told me in detail about his role in the crime. He told me that he convinced Nirbhaya and her friend to board the bus and later about how the crime was committed by all five of them. He also told me that before Nirbhaya boarded the bus, he had tried to convince another girl who was alone, but that failed when she hailed an auto.”


Even if he had succeeded in his sadistic designs, would God have wanted humans to kill him for it? “Whether a criminal should pay for his crime with death, is God’s call. “We didn’t create life, we cannot take it.. No matter how blood-gurgling the act, we don’t have the authority to punish a crime with death…but we are emotional people. When a Nirbhaya is raped and killed, we lose our capacity to think deeper than we normally do.


“Death to the rapists”! “Hang the rapists”! “Kill ‘em all”!… that’s the dominant national narrative. We don’t normally even entertain thoughts like, “Ok, something terrible has happened. But are we attacking the man, or the act? We shouldn’t attack the man because he is as pure as when he first came into life. He only seems evil because his act is too terrible to imagine. But can we make sure that he lives, can we gather enough courage to forgive him for his sins, but ensure that he never does what he did, again? The means to achieve that will then become the responsibility of the State. They can involve all stakeholders and make plans to reform lives, instead of simply killing and getting the headache out of the way. Will not the society get richer when a criminal comes back a changed man? Won’t we become a legendary nation, then?”

The Saints and the Mahatmas of our scriptures do not believe in capital punishment, they believe in reforming people. There are a large number of instances in which saints have reformed criminals, in some cases so much so that the reformed people themselves became saints.

What did Holy Bible say about capital punishment? When the Pharisees brought a woman who was caught in the act of adultery to Jesus and asked Him if she should be stoned, Jesus replied, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).


The nameless, faceless juvenile is on the verge of completing his three-year term next month in a juvenile facility. I called him a piece of s**t then, I call him a piece of s**t now, but unlike most of my countrymen, I don’t want him dead, and that’s my take on capital punishment. I want him changed. If not, go ahead and lock him and throw away the key. More often than not, loss of freedom for life is more hurtful. You die every day.


About the author

Rubi Sahay

Rubi Sahay

I have the knack and enjoy uncovering the hidden layers of the most complex national security concerns. Art and entertainment interest me, too. A Hindu College alumni, I have written for The Hindustan Times and The Financial Express. Every now and then, I love picking up my camera to capture life and its various shades.

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