Disapproving former Union minister Shashi Tharoor's remarks in the aftermath of 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon's hanging, national security advisor Ajit Doval on Tuesday said something that is in the "larger interest of the nation" must prevail.
"In the evening last Thursday (the day Yakub Memon was hanged), somebody tweeted me a statement by an important leader that -- state sponsored killings diminish us all, reduce us to murderers," Doval said, delivering a lecture in Mumbai. "I am not going into the propriety, exigency or the correctness of the statement. There is something which is in public interest, in the larger interests of the nation and of generations of Indians yet to take birth," he said, without naming Tharoor, but the reference was obvious.
Doval referred to former US President George W Bush's address to the US Congress after the 9/11 attacks to defend exercise of such deterrence.
"After the 9/11 attacks, the then US President George W Bush had told the Congress, that America values its freedom, but should it come in conflict with interests of the state, the latter will prevail," Doval said.
Striking an aggressive note, the NSA said, "Power is not as good as you have it, but as good as you can exercise." "So, India has a mindset where it hits, it punches below its weight, we have to punch not above our weight, we have to punch not below our weight. We have to increase our weight and punch proportionally," he said delivering a lecture on 'State Security, State Craft and Conflict of Values'. "Weakness" of a nation includes "unjustified tolerance".
"State-sponsored killing diminishes us all, by reducing us to murderers too. Death penalty is wrong in principle and practice. Lots of studies have been conducted which confirm that death penalty has no deterrent effect, statistics also suggest that". Tharoor had tweeted after Memon's hanging.
Noting that there has always been a talk on just laws and unjust laws and about correct interventions and incorrect interventions, the NSA said, "The scriptures have addressed this dilemma and come to own conclusions.
"The Bhagvad Gita says, if you can bring pleasure and pain on the same pedestal, loss and profit and victory and defeat on the same pedestal, and thereafter you do whatever you have to do in the battle, you will be committing no sin," he said. Doval also quoted a verse from the Quran to explain his point of view.