Intro: Yakub Memon’s religion has no role to play in awarding of the capital punishment to him. It is just the justice which being prevailed. Terror cannot be justified.
While the prime time discussions on the TV channels and the editorials in the daily newspapers are trying to portray the Mumbai blasts verdict as a human rights issue, some drag the religion and faith of a cold blooded terrorist into the debate. Is it fair in a secular democracy to debate one’s religion after the Honourable Court found him guilty and awarded him with capital punishment? Yakub Memon, a Mumbai-based chartered accountant and younger brother of Tiger Memon, one of the masterminds of the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts which claimed the lives of 257 innocent Indians and left over 700 injured.
He was convicted for financing and managing funds for the 1993 blasts conspiracy. Joining the dots the investigators said Yakub Memon arranged air tickets for the youth to travel to Pakistan for training in making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and made other arrangements.
A division bench comprising Justice P Sathasivam and Justice BS Chauhan confirming the death sentence on Yakub Memon said he and other members of the Memon family had played a predominant role in the execution of the conspiracy that led to 13 serial blasts in Mumbai. “Essentially Yakub Memon’s deeds can’t be viewed distinct from the act of Tiger Memon, hence both owe an equivalent responsibility for the blasts. They were the architects of the blasts, without whom the plan would never have seen the daylight,” said the Honourable Court.
The bench also observed that there was no direct act attributed to Yakub Memon as far as parking of the explosive filled vehicle in different localities is concerned. But we should recollect, that if not for the planning of the conspirators for which Yakub Memon was a party too, the explosives and ammunition required for the execution wouldn’t have entered into our country and as a consequence the execution itself wouldn’t have materialised.
And that is not all. The court also said that it is not conceivable to envisage that these principal perpetrators will take the execution in their hands. So they targeted the meek souls who were under privileged. It is also a proved fact that the Memon’s family members including Yakub Memon have fled the country anticipating detention for their illegal acts. The Supreme Court found Yakub Memon’s “dominant position” as an aggravating factor giving him the status of direct responsibility. Yakub Memon’s commanding position and the crime of utmost gravity warranted capital punishment.
So if such a man who was part of Pakistan’s ISI’s evil plan to destabilise India and kill its innocent citizen’s faces the long arm of the law – is it because of his religion or his actions? And will punishing such a man for his deeds send a wrong signal to the Muslim community?
People who talk like this clearly are not well-wishers of the Muslims in India. Will people of India want a man’s punishment to be decided on the basis of his or her religion? Or, should it be on the basis of the magnitude of the crime? If today Muslims feel offended when a Muslim is hanged for terror, will we be willing to look the other way for Hindus or Christians or Sikhs so that members of those communities do not feel victimised? This kind of thinking is not just flawed but very dangerous.
Murdering innocent people is not a part of Sharia Law. But when Sharia Law can punish the person for the bad public behaviour, private behaviour and private beliefs, it can also punish the murderers. Mr Yakub Memon is not an innocent guy. He is involved in the massive killing of 257 odd people. When he did such a heinous crime, then why the Sharia Law was silent in such cases.
Muslims have always tried to take advantage of their religion. Yakub Memon was a terrorist and was booked for a dreadful offence. He has committed an offence which cannot be justified. No matter, whether he is a Hindu or a Muslim. The only thing which is to be considered is that he is a terrorist. This is proved that he was a part of the 1993 blast. At that very time, Muslims said that terrorism has no religion and today the same people say that Yakub Memon was given death penality because he was a Muslim. Are these two things not contradicting each other? Because, the factor of being a Muslim or a Hindu does not comes into picture as the fact is Yakub Memon is a terrorist. Now that he has committed an offence whose punishment is death penalty, then the point of him being a Muslim is not relevant at all.
Decree of the Court
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India does not distinguish people on the basis of caste or religion. It works on proof, evidence and the arguments in support or against the person/s. The judgment is pronounced only if there is enough evidence for/against the person. The Judgment is also not the final decree as one can always file a review plea against the conviction order. If still not satisfied, a curative petition can be filed to challenge the Conviction order.
The above mentioned legal recourse was available before Mr Yakub Memon. He filed the review plea followed by the curative petition but the result being the same i.e. the conviction order was upheld. It is to be noted that the curative petition is decided on the basis of principles laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Rupa Ashok Hurra vs Ashok Hurra & another, 2002.
The point which is made here is that enough legal recourse was made available to Mr Yakub Memon. The same treatment was given to him as it was given to any other person irrespective of any religion. Still the sanctity of the topmost court is not preserved by him. The allegations against Supreme Court is totally baseless, rather it amounts to the contempt of court as the dignity of the court is not maintained.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi while addressing a public gathering at Hyderabad said that Memon being a Muslim is given death penalty. Memon has been allegedly played a key role in the execution of conspiracy. This person did not even think once before killing those innocent people. Then how we can argue that the death penalty pronounced for Yakub Memon is wrong. Mr Owaisi very easily commented that Memon is discriminated on the basis of his religion. But he had not thought that the people who died in the blast belonged to which religion. If people killed in the blast were Muslims, then can Yakub be given death penalty?
There is no political game played behind the pronouncement of death penalty of Yakub Memon. It is just the justice which prevailed. There was no discrimination done on the basis of religion. There is nothing wrong in punishing the person for his own wrong.
Terror can and should never be justified. India as a democracy must follow the judicial process and accept the judgement of the Supreme Court. It is not that Yakub Memon did not get the benefit of due process of law of the land. He challenged the apex court verdict, approached the president with a mercy plea and it is only after exhausting all options that the Maharashtra government is making arrangements for the execution based on court orders by July 30. The nation must respect the supremacy of courts and procedures and instead of attempting to create a rift and vitiate the social fabric of the country, attempt to ensure youth are weaned away from the path of terror instead of feeding their fears. This is a must for a strong united India.
Monica Arora (The writer is a senior Advocate)
(August 9, 2015, Page 16-17)