The fate of Mumbai blast prime accused, Yakub Memon, will be sealed in under a fortnight now, but there is a very basic abnormality in the judgment! Yakub was sentenced to death eight years ago for his role in coordinating the 1993 Mumbai bombings, in which more than 250 people were killed.
How can the Court announce the date of Yakub Memon’s execution while his mercy plea is still pending with the Supreme Court? President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected his mercy petition in April, but Yakub’s final plea for pardon is still pending! The decision comes at a time when India is grappling with abolishing the death penalty altogether.
Yakub Memon is a terrorist and he must pay the price for the ghastly act, but this is not simply an open and shut case. His crime is well established, but the timing and the related questions loom large.
Only after Yakub Memon’s final mercy plea is denied, can the State make public the date of execution. If by some stroke of luck, Yakub’s death sentence is commuted to life, the State will have egg on its face! What was the rush? After all, he has been behind bars for many years now, justice could have been swift.
Yakub’s hanging, like Afzal Guru, would signal to Muslims that justice is slightly askewed in India. They would feel they have little to no voice in the country’s justice system. There is hardly any equality. If Godhra rioters went relatively free, with light punishments, why is a Muslim being hanged?
Yakub Memon is indefensible, but is death really a deterrent? Will there be no attacks on India’s sovereignty once Yakub goes?
If the state is really interested in justice, then Muslims need to feel secure. We need to reach out to them, empower them and make them feel inclusive. Life is sacred and it is incumbent upon society to protect it.