New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) through an appeal today urged Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh to abolish death penalty and spare Veerappan’s associates i.e. Gnanaprakash, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran from the impending execution. These associates of Veerappan were sentenced to death in 2004 in connection with a landmine blast at Palar in Karnataka in 1993 in which 22 police personnel were killed and their mercy pleas were recently rejected by the President of India.
“If India continues with the current spree of execution of those whose mercy pleas are rejected or those who could not file mercy pleas, India will become one of the top five executioners of the world along with join China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. India considered cases of at least 5,776 death row convicts during 2001 to 2011 i.e. 4,321 convicts whose death sentences were commuted to life sentences and 1,455 convicts whose death sentence were confirmed by the Courts.” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.
All the political parties of Tamil Nadu have been opposing execution of Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan who were convicted for the murder of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the Tamil Nadu State Assembly passed a resolution in August 2011 urging that these death-row convicts should not be hanged. Similarly, political parties of Punjab have opposed the execution of Balwant Singh Rajoana convicted for murder of former Chief Minister Beant Singh, and Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal also handed over a mercy petition on behalf of the state government to the President of India in March 2012 seeking clemency for Rajoana.
“Since the Government of India cannot execute those convicted of the murder of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh, it appears that Gnanaprakash, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran will be executed to address the negative fall-out following the execution of Afzal Guru.” – further stated Mr Chakma.
Death penalty as a deterrent against any crime has been found to be invalid and at present about 140 out of 193 Members States of the United Nations have abolished death penalty in law and practice. Even in the countries were death penalty is practiced, the Governments are either abolishing death penalty or reducing the number of offences for which death penalty can be imposed. By 2011, Illinois became the 16th State of the United States to abolish death penalty while China removed the death penalty in many as 13 crimes, while adding at least two new capital crimes, during the same year. India is regrettably moving backwards. [Ends]