SurferSpeak: 'Punishment most deserving'

Surfers feel reformative punishment works for lesser crimes not murders.

india Updated: Nov 01, 2006 15:27 IST

The day Delhi High Court announced its verdict onSantosh Singh in the Priyadarshini Mattoo case, sending him to the gallows, we asked our surfers if they thought capital punishment could act as a deterrent to criminals.

The ongoing debate against the hanging of Mohammad Afzal, accused in the Parliament attack case, and the death penalty awarded to Santosh Singh, prompted the question.

And most of the surfers felt it would.

Here's how it went.

Pravin Sinha from New Delhi thought doing away with death penalty could make sense in the West, but in India there was positively a need for it.

He said, "There are very few who would support capital punishment but in the prevailing conditions in India it is the best option. Otherwise there are enough loopholes for convicts to escape the clutches of law and commit crimes again."

Kapil from New Delhi felt decency and fair play is not meant for terrorists and hardened criminals. He cited Afzal case as an example to support his view.

He said, "Most of the people opposing capital punishment are jholawala activists, who never face the cruelty of terrorists and criminals."

"Democracy, decency and fair play are not meant for terrorists and hardened criminals as they have no respect for human life. Why are Arundhati Roy and the likes of her contesting the death sentence to Afzal Guru but remain shamefully silent on the plight of Kashmiri pandits who are living in exile in their own country?"

"I never hear any criticism of Muslim terrorists?"

Writing from Tehri in Uttar Pradesh, IndiaTR Chamoli felt it was essential to maintain law and order. He felt reformative punishment was better for crimes of lesser gravity not for terrorists and murderers.

"Capital punishment exists in our judicial system and is the need of the hour. It may or may not act as a deterrent but for maintaining order in society no less punishment than this must be awarded to terrorists, murderers and rapists, without any clemency or pardon. Reformative punishment is better for crimes of lesser gravity and not for the mentioned ones."

Medha Dutt of Kolkata, Indiathought capital punishment definitely did not act as a deterrent if justice takes ages to be delivered.

She said, "After all, how many times have people been rewarded the capital punishment for some heinous crime? It took seven long years in the case of the Mattoo killing to bring the guilty to book. Justice delayed is justice denied. And we have had enough instances of that."

"Capital punishment would be a deterrent, if the justice process were faster. By the time justice is delivered by our courts, you start sympathising with the murderer rather than the victim-remember the 'Dhananjoy Chatterjee' case? How the entire public support rallied around a man who had raped and murdered a 14-year-old school girl!"

Dr Kunal Saha from Columbus, Ohio, USA though happy about the verdict was nonetheless very wary of influential people circumventing the rule of law in India.

Here's what he said:

"Most Indians should welcome the death sentence of Santosh Kumar by the Delhi High Court for his heinous act of the rape and murder of Priyadarshini Mattoo."

"Until all criminals like Santosh Kumar get the punishment they deserve, we cannot celebrate the victory of 'justice'."

"There is little doubt that Kumar, the son of an influential police officer, would challenge his conviction in the Supreme Court. And even if the apex court agrees with the findings of the high court, Santosh Kumar's death sentence can still be appealed in other forums including a pardon by the country's President."

"It seems criminals like Kumar are not going to die any time soon."

All views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the surfers and do not necessarily represent those of

First Published: Nov 01, 2006 12:52 IST