The government may have so far resisted international pressure on the abolition of death penalty and even turned down 11 recommendations made by a top UN body on the issue, but it now faces growing political demands domestically.
Following the low-key execution of Afzal Guru and the rejection of mercy petitions of four associates of slain sandalwood smuggler Veerappan by the President, the Left parties and even ruling UPA ally, the DMK have expressed their views against the death penalty.
Shedding their initial inhibition, the two Left parties have questioned the secret hanging. The CPI(M) has warned of serious repercussions in the Kashmir valley.
“Guru’s hanging raised many questions and the criticism of the government on the issue was valid. Our party is in the process of holding internal consultations to review its stand on continuation of death penalty since “the case for its abolition is a strong one and highly relevant,” said senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi, in a letter to his party members has said : “ In today’s situationthe Centre, legal experts and courts should ponder over this and seriously consider recommending removing hanging from law books in the interest of human rights and humanity.”
India is among the only 39 countries which opposed a non-binding resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly calling for abolition of death penalty in November.