President Pratibha Patil confirmed the death sentence awarded to former Prime Minster Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins. The sentence itself came about after a long trial process in our courts. One would think that law being followed to its logical conclusion would be welcomed by all. But this is not the case.

For their own political reasons, Tamil Nadu politicians have asked that the death sentence be commuted. Our human rights activists and liberals do not have to worry about votes, but they have joined the clamour. “No death penalty because it is inhuman” they say. Curiously one sees a sudden rise in such campaigns by human rights activists and liberals only at opportune moments. At all other times such cries are nowhere to be heard. If they were indeed so passionately against capital punishment they would have been more consistent. Needless to say that is not the case.

This concern for human rights is lacking in balance. In the case of a murder or an assassination the first human rights abuse is by the perpetrator who takes life of the victim. The victim suffers loss of life. Any and all human rights of the victim cease to exist with loss of life. It would only be natural to expect that those violating rights of the victim be made to face the full extent of law and suffer any consequences provided by the law. After all, a civilized society is governed by rule of law. And death sentences are handed out by courts after following laws laid out by civilized societies. Yet we seem to have a problem.

The human rights clamour seen for convicts invariably reaches fever pitch but in contrast we hardly hear anything by the same group for victims. Victims are the ones who have lost and suffered the most. They are in need of justice for suffering loss of rights. But one does not see any such campaign worth talking about for the victims. Justice being done to victims following the course of law is being denied by the human rights activists in their opportunistic cry for “no death penalty”. That irony is lost on them.

When one sees this convenient cry for abolishing capital punishment one cannot help but question principles of such rights activists. Sincere intentions would have been evident if campaigns were sustained, consistent which would have resulted in either starting a meaningful debate or having death penalty abolished. Instead we have these intermittent cries at opportune moments.

Looking at the conduct of some of our career human rights activists and liberal opinion makers it seems that their campaigns are designed, calculated with possible benefits in mind. Some of them have indeed succeeded in benefiting from their calibrated campaigns and also have earned patronage from expected quarters. What is lacking is an objective scrutiny of their record as activists. Such a scrutiny is likely to show their failure in bringing about any meaningful change to human rights issues.


Image from here.

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