Punishment in Indore rape and murder case opens up need for debate on death penalty
The accused was sentenced to death for raping and murdering a baby girl after taking her away from a footpath where she was sleeping with her parents on April 21.india Updated: May 13, 2018 11:20 IST
An Indore district court’s death sentence for a man convicted of raping and killing a three-month-old infant rekindled a debate over capital punishment, with several campaigners on Saturday calling for a moratorium on sending convicts to the gallows.
Gender rights activist Ranjana Kumari, who is also the director of the Centre for Social Research, said the punishment is for a “brutal” crime but there needs to be a debate on the death penalty.
“In this case the crime is brutal and the sentence should be seen as a lesson for everyone. However, there needs to be a separate debate on death penalty, its effectiveness and changes it brings,” she said.
Her comments were in response to the Indore court’s verdict that sent a 25-year-old man to the gallows for raping and murdering a baby girl after taking her away from a footpath where she was sleeping with her parents on April 21.
People campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty argued that there is no evidence to suggest that the death penalty stops such crimes.
Meenakshi Ganguly of Human Rights Watch said the courts have the right to sentence a convict to death since the law of the land allows capital punishment.
But, she said, India and other countries that still use the death penalty should abolish it since it is “inherently irreversible and inhumane”.
Madhya Pradesh social activist Shivani Talreja said she is happy with the court’s decision but against the death penalty. “Capital punishment cannot be and has never been a deterrent for rape,” she said.
Amnesty International, which opposes the death penalty, wrote on its website that the punishment violates the most fundamental of human rights — the right to life.
“It is often used against the most vulnerable in society, including the poor, ethnic and religious minorities, and people with mental disabilities,” Amnesty says.
According to Death Penalty in India: Annual Statistics, a report by the Centre on Death Penalty at the National Law University in New Delhi, there were 371 prisoners on the death row in India as of December 21, 2017.
(With inputs from HTC Bhopal)