ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Why Yakub Memon Should Not Be Hanged

Yakub Memon is guilty only of playing a peripheral role in the 1993 terrorist bombings in Mumbai (then Bombay). Hanging him serves no purpose other than satisfying the bloodlust of society. It is for the Indian judicial system to reflect on whether the death sentence has become a whimsical lottery, tilted a bit against the Muslim community.

This article was first published in The Wire ( and is published here with permission.

Do not get me wrong on this, I support the death penalty—for rapist-murderers, child killers, terrorists and even acid throwers. But I go with our Supreme Court’s caveat, that it should be reserved for the “rarest of rare” cases. Yakub Memon, who could be executed on 30 July for his role in the Bombay blasts of 1993, does not fit that criterion.

Punishment in a civilised democracy must balance between retribution on behalf of the victim and the possibility of the rehabilitation of the criminal. And, of course, it must meet the requirement of proportionality, in other words, the punishment must fit the crime.

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