A killer is forgiven in Kerala | india | Hindustan Times
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A killer is forgiven in Kerala

When Kerala was praying for Naushad --- who would have been blinded had it not been for his victim?s mercy --- a family in Malappuram was reminded of the man whose crime had devastated their home 25 years ago.

india Updated: May 20, 2006 03:00 IST

When Kerala was praying for Naushad --- who would have been blinded had it not been for his victim’s mercy --- a family in Malappuram was reminded of the man whose crime had devastated their home 25 years ago.

Akthar Hussain, a Pakistani citizen, had killed their youngest son Murrath in the UAE and was waiting to be sent to the gallows --- just as Naushad was waiting for darkness to descend. But a thought struck Murrath’s elder brother, P.T. Abdul Razak: if justice was so cold-hearted, shouldn’t mercy prevail? And so began a journey that ended in the ultimate act of forgiveness. Razzak’s family pardoned their brother’s killer and saved him from death. According to Shariat law, only the king or the victim's family can save the guilty.

“Our loss is irreparable, but we pray Akthar finds his family,” Murrath’s elder brother P T Khaleed, a schoolteacher in Malappuram, said.

“Initially some of us had opposed the move. But after reading of Naushad’s plight, we made up our mind,”  P T Abdul Razak, another brother said.

Murrath was a hotel employee in the UAE. On July 30, 1980, two robbers -- Akthar and Mustaq Sardan Khan --- struck the hotel. The heist was foiled but Murrath lost his life.

A UAE court awarded death to Akthar. Mustaq was saved from the noose because he was a minor. Akthar's execution had been delayed for two-and-a-half decades since the UAE authorities could not trace Murrath's family to seek their opinion.

Razak, who was instrumental in mobilizing the family’s opinion, said from the UAE, “Akhtar was in tears when I met him in jail. He told me our gift of life is one of the greatest sacrifices,” he said. In God’s own country, forgiveness has trounced revenge.