Varun Gandhi against death penalty, stirs row over Memon comment

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 01, 2015 23:51 IST

Close on the heels of BJP leader and actor Shatrughan Sinha signing a petition to the President against Yakub Memon’s execution, the party’s general secretary Varun Gandhi took a position against the death penalty in an article published in the Outlook magazine.

The BJP’s position has been in favour of the execution, with the party saying that no leniency is due to a terror convict.

Gandhi, however, clarified that the article was not connected with the Memon hanging and was just a point of view on the larger debate about capital punishment across the globe. “The write up has tried to shed some light on the historicity of death penalty,” he told HT.

Gandhi’s article does touch upon a host of issues, including the socio-economic and community bias in executions. “In the US, 56-% of death row inmates are black or Hispanic…. In India, 75-% of the convicts on death row belong to the socially and economically marginalised classes; 94-% of death row convicts are Dalits or from the minorities,” the article says.

“The hangman is a disgrace to any civilised country,” Gandhi said, adding the “rarest of rare” case is nowhere defined and is left to the judge’s conscience.

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