Why hang us, asks Delhi gang-rape convict; cites Vedas, Puranas and Gandhi
Akshay Kumar Singh, one of the four men convicted for the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a young girl, on Tuesday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against the death penalty awarded to him and three others by the top court two years ago.
In his plea, Singh, 32, also asked the Supreme Court why it was continuing with death penalty as a punishment when lives are already getting shorter. His petition referred to the Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads to argue that there was a time, in Satyug, when people lived for a long time. Not any longer, he said.
Akshay Singh’s petition pointed to air pollution and unclean water in Delhi. “Everyone is aware of what is happening in Delhi NCR in regard to water and air. Life is going short to short, then why death penalty?” Singh asked in his petition.
Singh and three others had raped and murdered a 23-year-old paramedic student on her way back home in December 2012. A male friend who was with her at the time of the crime was thrashed and the woman, brutalised and dumped on the highway.
The four have been on death row for a few years now.
Akshay Singh’s petition argued against the death sentence.
“The death penalty is the premeditated and cold blooded killing of a human being by the state in the name of justice,” he said, explaining it as an effort by the government to “promote simplistic responses to complex human problems rather than pursing their root causes”.
The petition sought systemic reforms in the criminal justice system and argued that the certainty of punishment was an effective deterrent, not severity of punishment.
The petition comes against the backdrop of reports that a presidential mercy plea filed by some of the accused would be rejected soon. Once the legal challenges are over, a Delhi court will issue a black warrant and start the process of execution within the jail premises.
Afzal Guru, convicted in the 2001 Parliament Attack case, was the last prisoner to be executed in Tihar jail in February 2013.