16 January, 2021

Time To Say Death To The Death Penalty

Isn’t it ironic that killing people for killing people is seen as necessary to show that killing is wrong?

Illustration by Saahil
Time To Say Death To The Death Penalty

In 1999, Sonia Gandhi did something heroic and humane. She wrote a letter to then president Dr K.R. Narayanan, asking him to commute the death penalty awarded to four persons for their role in the assassination of her husband, former PM Rajiv Gandhi, in 1991. She reportedly wrote: “My children suffered at the death of my beloved husband and therefore we do not favour that another child in the world should lose her or his mother and father.”

Sonia’s noble gesture of forgiveness saved the life of Nalini Sriharan, one of the conspirators in her husband’s assassination; Nalini’s death sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. In 2008, Sonia’s daughter Priyanka Vadra followed up with her own noble act. She met Nalini at Vellore jail, in Tamil Nadu, and said this about her meeting: “I do not believe in anger, hatred and violence and I refuse to allow these things to overpower my life.... It was my way of coming to peace with the violence and loss that I have experienced.”

I was one of those who had not understood...



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