14th August, 2004

aloque | 14/08/2004, 23:16 hrs

My reading of the newspaper is usually restricted to the sports page and the cinema page every so often, but reading this morning's edition I came across all these protests about the Chatterjee hanging. I wonder what the protestors would deem an ideal punishment for the rape and murder of their 14 year old sister/daughter. I am guilty of detachment just the same as these people are, even if at opposite ends of the spectrum. That I am in the comfort of my own home is probably an insignificant issue. If they protest for the life of a murderer, what exactly are their feelings for the victim? In theory, I do not subscribe to vindictive justice, that a person has to be punished by society for a crime. What is the issue involved in this? What is the take-home message? That rape and murder are unforgivable crimes? That this punishment is to dissuade future offenders? That this is justice? Then why is this the first capital punishment in India in almost a decade? Has only one woman been raped and murdered in all this time? That Hetal Parekh had to die at age 14, thats unjust. That Chatterjee had to be hanged, singled out from an ocean of filth, is surely unjust as well. I think the bastard deserved to die for taking someone else's life into his own hands, but not this way, when thousands of people who have done the same or more are roaming free. Its only reinforces the belief that people are innocent until caught redhanded. That is the take-home message.

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Responses to 14th August, 2004

  1. i'm not sure i understand. are you saying that chatterjee mustn't be hanged because others like him have gotten away? so it's the first incidence of capital punishment in a long while. so the media has been slobbering all over it. so he's being singled out. possibly because he's not smart enough to have gotten away or prudent enough to have a minister for an uncle. even so, he did kill someone. he made that choice for himself, so he's just going to have to live - and die - with it.

  2. I am not too happy he was done away with but i'd kill him all the same. this sounds radical/heartless/no compassion and all, but rape is the worst of crimes. the hanging leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Its a bitch of a thing but they deserve death and more and i dont mean to single out any one rapist here.

  3. What is an ideal punishment for the rape and murder of a 14 yrs old sister / daughter? No straight-forward answers there. What is an ideal punishment for Salman Khan, who rode over a sleeping footpath dweller while in a drunken state and killed him? Should he be made to lie on the footpath and an SUV driven over him? If such a punishment is fair, then a murder-for-murder verdict (aka death penalty) is fair too.

    Does it matter, rape is the worst crime? This is the second time that i'm hearing it today (earlier, it was from a lady - dunno if you are one too). I'm honestly clueless. I do understand the trauma a victim goes through - but does that make it the worst crime that warrants a death penalty? The worst crime could be terrorism for some, genocide for another, treason for yet another and so on..... depending on their stakes, different interest groups may name different crimes as the worst and may believe that offenders committing such crimes deserve to die. Funny thing is, on one hand women are getting raped left, right and center and the number convictions is abyssmal, while on the other hand we hear voices that it is the worst crime punishable with death and nothing less. Hence, you can freely commit the 'worst crime' for which, on paper, you could receive a death sentance. The result of this inconsistency is that once in a blue moon, a Dhananjoy Chaterjee is executed, leaving that bad taste - and no deterrance to potential offenders - coz it's just once in a blue moon that a person gets really punished. I would expect a greater conviction rate coupled with a rigourous imprisonment for the guilty, to act as a greater deterrant.

  4. Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

  5. if my message got lost in all the words then i guess what i mean is that which JLU said so well. The guilty should be punished.

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