URGENT PETITION TO THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA: STOP HANGING PERARIVALAN, MURUGAN, SANTHAN
DEVENDRANATH DASS AND DEVINDER PAL SINGH
The President of India
WE THE UNDERSIGNED petition you to reconsider your decision to reject the mercy petitions of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, the three accused involved in the conspiracy to assassinate former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
They have languished in solitary confinement for the past twenty years and lived with the fear of being sent to the gallows any moment. We request you to stop their execution and commute their death penalty to life imprisonment, on humanitarian grounds and following the nonviolent traditions of India.
We request you to also reconsider your decision to reject the mercy petitions of Devendranath Dass of Assam and Devinder Singh Pal Bhullar of Punjab. We also request you to kindly commute to life imprisonment the death penalty awarded to Afzal Guru.
Through this petition, we make a passionate case as to why capital punishment is inhuman and why it is an unjustified act – even if it is committed by the government. As a long-standing member of Indian National Congress party, you must be familiar with Gandhiji’s famous stand on violence or punishment: “an eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” We request you to implement these values by reversing the decision to reject mercy petitions and also advise the Government of India to abolish capital punishment.
We believe that one of the fundamental duties of any democratic government is to protect humans and uphold human dignity. Therefore all capital punishments must be abolished as the act itself legitimises killing and runs counter to the founding principle of a democracy. Ending lives by the government can never be a deterrent to its citizens, instead it legitimises devaluing humans.
This should explain why more than two-thirds of the countries in the world have now abolished the death penalty in law or practice. Even countries like South Africa and Cambodia that once had a bloody history for whatever reasons, have now abolished state-supported killings for all crimes. We request you to advise the Indian government to pursue this sensible path.
We may also like to remind you that the decision to reject the mercy petition dishonours India’s commitment to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. India is watched closely by all the nations of the world as the land of Buddha and Gandhiji, the apostles of peace. If there is anything to be learnt from our rich and varied history, it is the importance of tolerance and respect for human lives..
We may remind you that the last execution in India took place in 2004 which is in keeping with the practice of democracy in a peaceful country like ours. Mercy petitions deserve to be treated with utmost compassion and not with sheer legalese. We are sure you would understand the anguish and unmitigated sufferings of their kith and kin if the death sentences are carried through.
Above all, we petition you to abolish capital punishment in India by advising the Government suitably.