Sudhanva Shetty Shetty
Writer, coffee-addict, likes folk music & long walks in the rain. Firmly believes that there's nothing more important in a democracy than a well-informed electorate.
Image Source: ummid
Thousands of people thronged the narrow streets of Mumbai. The city was unusually quiet and silent. Every face was stiff, either expressionless or grief-stricken. A few people were even crying. The endless crowd marched silently, trying desperately to catch a glimpse of the dead man.
The man was not a beloved politician, a famous scientist or an acclaimed celebrity.
The man was a convicted terrorist who, 22 years before, had helped in the murder of 257 innocent people.
The irony of the situation is obvious. Terrorists kill 257 Indians in cold blood, one of them is arrested, tried in a court of law, convicted, awarded a death sentence, hung, thousands of mourning Indians attend his funeral.
So why are these thousands paying homage to a convicted murderer? One whowas part of the conspiracy that killed 257 of their fellow-countrymen?
Some in the crowd shout slogans asking “Where is Dawood Ibrahim? Where is Tiger Memon? and also many questioned over not punishing the riots accused ”
Memon’s accomplices haven’t been brought to justice and also riots accused being not punished severly is a matter of great regret and shame for all of us. But that’s a whole different question. We are talking about punishing a convicted terrorist; the fact that there are others out there who are still unpunished does NOT absolve Memon in any way. He is a criminal, regardless of anything.
Memon was a terrorist – there is no debate over that and a criminal should face punishment regardless of anything. The only thing we can debate over is the type of punishment awarded to Memon.
Some oppose the hanging because they’re opposed to the death penalty on principle.
Many among us are uncomfortable with the death penalty being legal in India. We have every right to have that opinion and voice that opinion and fight for the abolition of the death penalty if we want to. But whatever be our views, Memon still remains a terrorist. Elevating him to the status of a hero because he was hanged is not only unreasonable; it’s also offensive to the family of the victims.
We can debate over the punishment he got, but NOT on his innocence. Memon is a terrorist who was a part of the conspiracy that killed 257, and nothing can change that. Some of us may have a problem with the fact that he was hanged, but nothing – nothing – allows for a person like Yakub Memon to be paraded around like a hero. He is a terrorist, not a martyr. Which is what makes the large crowds at Memon’s funeral a sorry sight.
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