September 4, 2015 | By Parmjeet Singh
Hoshiarpur: Dal Khalsa takes exception over the Law Commission’s report recommending that the death penalty be abolished in India except in terror and sedition related offences.
Pointing out that the commission has stopped short of doing away with the inhuman form of punishment, party’s spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said the differentiation between terrorism and other offences was artificial and unsustainable and urged the GoI to abolish the death penalty from Indian statute for all offences. He said it’s ironic that the country’s present dispensation was clinging to the misapprehension that the death penalty was an effective measure against terrorism.
Strongly opposing the retaining of death penalty in terrorism related cases, he said victims of such laws pertaining to terrorism and sedition was mainly from minority communities. To drive his point home, he said majority of the persons who were hanged in recent times and those who were still on death row belongs to either of minority community. He argued that in terror and sedition cases the possibilities of forced confessions and therefore false convictions had always been higher.
Be it TADA, POTA, AFSPA or UAPA, victims were mainly from religious and ethnic minorities. Misuse of these laws were rampant in Punjab, Kashmir, North eastern states. The question stands if death penalty in terror cases be retained than the victimization of minorities would continue unabated. Terming the capital punishment as arbitrary, unequal and unjust, he calls for its rejection in totality.
Speaking from Sikh perspective, he said Sikhs were compassionate people and in all cases we empathize with the family and friends of victims of all kinds of heinous crimes, but at the same time, we were conscious that killing someone in retribution will neither heal nor resolve the tragedy of such families.
Taking a dig at Shiromani Akali Dal for blindly toeing the line of its alliance partner (read BJP) that favours death penalty, he said Badal Sahib falsely claims to provide governance on the pattern of Maharaja Ranjit Singh rule, whereas in the 40-year rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, not a single person was sentenced to death, including the person who had made an attempt to kill the ruler.
As many as 111 countries have completely abolished capital punishment in law or practice and it’s time for Punjab government to push the Centre to join the ranks of these countries without the caveat on terror offences.
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