Thursday, August 20, 2015
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere.” (Martin Luther King)Since inception of human race on planet earth, forces of evil have been proactive in creating dissent among human society in one way or the other. Contrarily, all divine religions as well as the major non-divine systems have been struggling hard to promote an atmosphere of peace, prosperity and serenity for the mankind. The divisive factor and potent tool of evil in most of the cases was promoting social injustice and widening gap between haves and haves not. Hinduism is one of the oldest non-divine religions enforced upon large Hindu civilization. Hinduism as a religion embodies rituals, practices and commandments to control the masses through a very fanatic social class system known as Varnas. The wide gap among different classes of Hindu society under religious sanctions did not shrink after lapse of thousands of years. Even the strongest secular movements emerging within India succumbed to the cruel taboos of social injustice and economic exploitation. The ground realities of modern India claiming to be the greatest secular democracy are hardly any different from the past.
The Manusmriti, Hindu code of ancient India spells out regulations on social, political, economic and judiciary system. Hindu law as codified by Manu derives its strength from cruel principle of inequality. Historically, the punishment for a particular crime was not same for all “varnas” (social classes). In fact, the severity of the punishment varied depending on the “varna” of the victim as well as the “varna” of the accused. Resultantly, the law would treat Brahmin mildly, whereas the Shudra would get the harshest punishment for similar crimes. Manu clearly asserts the supremacy of Brahmanism by exempting them from any kind of punishment. Unfortunately, Manu’s verses and laws are still in vogue as guiding principles in judicial system of modern India.
Off late, two different cases in India have witnessed strong shades of “Manusmriti”. On 11 Feb 2015, an additional session judge VK Pujara acquitted 70 accused Hindus for lack of evidence in 2002 post-Godhra riots that took place in Seshan Nava village. Corrupt and biased Hindu judiciary is also likely to acquit many other accused Hindus involved in the same case. Following the accidental Godhra train fire that consumed 57 lives of Hindu pilgrims, over a thousand Muslims were mowed down in cold blood by angry Hindu rioters, who blamed Muslims for the train fire. More than 2000 people, mostly women and children, were massacred and thousands rendered homeless in one of the worst communal pogroms in global history. The tragic instances of rape, children being burnt alive and widespread looting and destruction of religious buildings and other property were the aftermaths of the incident. Many scholars and commentators accused then Gujarat State Government (led by incumbent Indian PM Narendra Modi) of being complicit in the attacks. USA imposed a ban on his travel to America, which was lifted only after becoming prime minister on plea of diplomatic norms. To further add to the sufferings of affected Indian Muslims, extremist (VHP) as well as many Hindu politicians, including Modi, made provocative remarks and endorsed strikes against the Muslims. Modi even brazenly justified the bloodbath as a ‘natural’ reaction to the events at Godhra, thus approving the carnage officially.
Similarly, on 12 March 1993 a series of bombing took place in Bombay, Maharashtra, India resulting in killing of 350 persons. Dawood Ibrahim, his subordinates including Tiger Memon, some expatriate Indian smugglers like Haji Ahmed, Haji Umar and Taufiq Jaliawala and others were alleged for the crime. Yakub Memon a professional Chartered Accountant and younger brother of Tiger Memon, was also nominated as absconder in the crime. He initially fled from India however, surrendered to Indian authorities in Nepal on 28 July 1994 to get himself exonerated from the allegations/charges.
On 27 July 2007 while conducting hearing of “1993 Bombay bombing case”, Justice PD Kode of Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court, found Yakub Memon guilty of four offences which include criminal conspiracy, aiding/abetting and facilitating in a terrorist act, illegal possession and transportation of arms and ammunition and possessing explosives with intent to endanger lives. Yakub Memon was awarded death penalty, life imprisonment and 24 years rigorous imprisonment. Memon filed an appeal before the Supreme Court of India. On 21 March 2013, Supreme Court confirmed Memon’s conviction and death sentence for conspiracy through financing the attacks. Indian President Parnab Mukherjee rejected Memon’s petition for clemency on 11 April 2014. Memon’s review petition and curative petitions were also rejected by Indian Supreme Court on 9 April 2015 and 21 July 2015 respectively.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra government issued a death warrant setting 30th July 2015 as the date for Memon’s execution. Memon then filed a mercy petition with the Governor of Maharashtra and filed a writ before the Supreme Court of India for a stay on his execution till the mercy petition is decided but of no avail. He was finally hanged.
“Yakub Memon case” attracted huge criticism from all the World. Divya Iyer, Research Manager at Amnesty International India remarked that the rejection of Yakub Memon’s curative petition in the Supreme Court and manipulating for his imminent execution, is a disappointing and regressive step towards the continued use of the death penalty in India. She blamed Indian politicians and the judiciary for their tenacity in awarding and executing death punishment as a symbol of their resolve to tackle crime and choose to ignore more difficult and effective solutions like improving investigations, prosecutions and care for victims’ families.
Before the execution, Indian journalist Maseeh Rehman asserted, ‘it would be a national tragedy of epic proportions and a significant miscarriage of justice if Yakub Memon is hanged for his role in the 1993 Mumbai blasts.’
Execution of Yakub Memon sensitised international opinion makers including many from India. Some Indian journalists believe that hanging of Memon has put a question on Indian judiciary discouraging voluntary surrenders. They think that the hanging has substantiated the fact that that political support can mitigate the punishment in India. AIMIM chief/MP Asaduddin Owaisi remarked that Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon was awarded capital punishment because of his religion, alleging that he was doing “communal politics” over terrorism and nothing could be “uglier” than this. Owaisi sought to know whether the perpetrators of demolition of disputed Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, communal riots of Mumbai and Gujarat and other such sensational cases would get similar punishment. In retaliation BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj saying those who do not respect judiciary can go to Pakistan.
Yakub Memon was hanged despite the appeal of many Indian politicians, celebrities, retired judges, opinion makers, human rights activists and eminent scholars. The appellants claimed that there are “substantive and fresh grounds” that can be considered on merits.
Indian judicial system is corrupt, narrow-minded and discriminatory because it is based on inequality (Manusmriti). The cruel judiciary intentionally victimises Muslims and other minorities in the name of Manusmriti. Present Indian regime headed by fanatic and hawkish elements is pushing Indian minorities against the wall. Rising atrocities against the minorities in hardliner BJP’s era is exposing Hindutva agenda of Modi and turning India into an ordeal for non-Hindu populace.