Mumbai: In a touching editorial published Thursday The Hindu, India's leading newspaper, appealed the government to commute 1993 Mumbai blast convict Yakb Memon's death sentence to life imprisonment.
The editorial, titled as 'A case for Mercy', also says Yakub Memon's case does not fall in the category of the “rarest of the rare” cases the Supreme Court itself laid down would merit the death penalty.
"Hanging him will be cruel and inhuman, for more than one reason. With the masterminds Dawood Ibrahim and ‘Tiger’ Memon, Yakub’s brother, remaining out of the reach of the Indian authorities, it will only give the impression that the lone man available among the many brains behind the ghastly act of terrorism is being singled out", the editorial says.
"He (Yakub Memon) cannot escape the consequences of his role, but whether hanging him will be the appropriate punishment is something to be pondered over", it added.
"The Memon family came under suspicion mainly because ‘Tiger’ Memon was the principal conspirator. They fuelled further suspicion by fleeing, and were later found to have travelled abroad on Pakistan passports.
"However, most of them, including Yakub, ultimately returned to India to face the legal consequences. In the overall circumstances of the case, it is certainly debatable whether Yakub Memon’s case would fall in the category of the “rarest of the rare” cases the Supreme Court itself laid down would merit the death penalty", the editorial says.
"Taking into account the fact that in the last 22 years Yakub is the only one whose death sentence has been confirmed by the judiciary in the case, the executive itself can reduce his sentence to one of life instead of fuelling another round of litigation by rejecting his mercy petition.
"There will be an inevitable debate on how a man who played a significant role in the serial blasts, which left 257 dead and 713 people wounded, could be shown any mercy. Some will see the situation on merits, and others will voice their principled opposition to the death penalty. The only way to avoid this endless debate is to abolish the cruel and irreversible punishment of death itself.", the editorial says.