The medical fraternity should in one voice speak against the death penalty. If not that, at least refuse to certify, declare with certainty that a fellow human being has been killed for a crime he committed, however gruesome it may have been, hanged till death.

No doctor should stand shoulder to shoulder with the hangman and condone death penalty. Towards the final months of her crusade to deliver death to Nirbhaya’s rapists and murderers, Nirbhaya's mother Asha Devi was sounding more like a woman out to exact revenge than to see justice done.

Justice can never be equated with revenge and vice versa. Come to think of it, Asha Devi’s daily appearances on television gave lots of people the feeling that she was enjoying being in the glare of publicity, the limelight. Nirbhaya’s mother was no longer Nirbhaya’s mother alone, she had become the retribution queen of India’s mothers with daughters raped.

Asha Devi had maybe the entire country behind her, but for millions of Indians her constant cribbing against the courts for “delaying the hangings” was somehow repulsive. She came out as a bloodthirsty mother, who in single-minded zealousness to “exact revenge”, was night and day thinking only of the death of the rapists. And she hadn’t forgotten that one among them – the juvenile — had flown over Asha Devi’s nest! She was livid.

After the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for the four rapists – Mukesh, Pawan, Akshay and Vinay – there was no way their hangings would have been reversed. Delayed yes, but not struck aside. No matter what, they would be hanged till death. That much was a certainty come what may. But Asha Devi was impatient to the point of disgust.

The slightest of objection to the impending hangings in court and she would raise Cain on television. She would rail against everyone including the unfortunate judge who was merely going by the law; giving even convicted criminals the full defence as guaranteed in the Constitution.

But no, Asha Devi had no time or use for such niceties; she was for summary execution and a Kangaroo court's pronunciation. Language! It was as if she was drooling to see the four idiots hang, their tongues hanging out, lolling! Dogs!!

Maybe nobody asked Asha Devi to watch the hangings, from the front row, so to speak. But if somebody had insisted, Asha Devi would have been there. Not to cheer Pawan Jalaad but to lend the brutal rapists of her daughter a leg up to the gallows! Asha Devi’s unseemly hurry to see the necks of Nirbhaya’s murderers-cum-rapists stretch kind of sticks in the gullet.

Add to that the case against death penalty and it’s a crusade in the making. The death penalty is a useless provision in law, the law in every country. And the modus operandi to deal death by order of the state is itself as criminal as the crime committed by the person(s) sentenced to death.

Consider for example China, where it’s execution by gunfire; Iran where it could be death by stoning or hanging from the most primitive of gallows, many a time in public squares, where bloodthirsty crowds with even less reason than Asha Devi to see a hanging or multiple hangings gather to root for the hangman or to pick up a stone and hurl at some unfortunate fool or even worse, an innocent.

There are many reasons why the death penalty should be eviscerated; struck off statute books, but the one most important is that the State cannot stoop to murder. And the death penalty is nothing but murder by another name. There cannot be death penalty, especially in a democracy. How does that make democracy any different from an autocracy or other forms of government quasi-autocratic, including theological and dictatorship, government? The death penalty is a totalitarian solution. All who make up democracy should then be pronounced guilty.

Second, what other than the death penalty is symbolic of barbarism? Come tell. It’s the cruellest of punishments. It’s a wonder why lawmakers and the courts in India chose execution and death penalty over castration for rapists? Why, castration is any day a far more fitting punishment for those cannot keep their flies zipped.

There are other reasons why the death penalty should go. But just these two are enough to place death penalty in the dock. Asha Devi should not take her fondness for the death penalty to all corners of India. Now, that she has satisfied her lust for the death penalty she should be grounded and banished from proximity to the courts and the gallows. Amen.
(IPA Service)