Hanging Of Yakub Memon

In the morning of July 30th, 2015 Yakub Memon was sent to the gallows. Memon was awarded the capital punishment for his role in the 1993 Bombay Bomb blasts. The case was closely followed by the media and had hogged limelight in the last week or so. Thirteen explosions had rocked India’s financial capital Mumbai, on March 12, 1993 in which 257 people lost their lives. The Supreme Court rejected his last minute petition against execution, at 5 am on July 30, just a few hours before his hanging.

In the last few days, there has been a fierce debate about whether Yakub should have been given death sentence or not. People on both sides of the debate have strong opinions about their positions. While supporters of the death sentence say that the ’93 bomb blasts were a major act of terror which caused huge loss to life and property, hence Yakub’s death sentence was justified. It must be reiterated here that Yakub was not the master mind behind these blasts but was convicted of having prior knowledge of the blasts and also having facilitated them. The opponents of this sentence say that since he was not the main culprit behind the blasts, he deserved a lesser punishment. His brother Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim, both absconding are alleged to be the masterminds behind these blasts.

Yakub was not present in India at the time of blasts. In fact the whole Memon family was in Dubai when the bombs rocked Mumbai city and from there they went to Karachi. More than a year after the bomb blasts, Yakub was ‘caught’ at the Delhi Airport. But what is clear now is that he has struck a deal with Indian intelligence agencies that he would reveal the full details of the conspiracy behind the blasts and in return asked for leniency in his punishment. Also his belief that he didn’t have a direct role in the blasts perhaps made him comfortable facing the legal system in India. But the Indian agencies went back on the deal and did not make him an approver in the case, but an accused. There were also issues regarding his mental health, given that a a panel of Govt approved doctors had declared him schizophrenic. The Court did not consider all those as valid arguments in pronouncing its final judgement.

What is intriguing is the selective delivery of justice in such cases. While the culprits in the Bombay bomb blasts of March ’93 have been convicted and punished, none of the culprits involved in the Dec 92/ Jan 93 riots in Mumbai, in which more than 900 people, mostly Muslims were killed, have been convicted or punished. The Sri Krishna Commission which tabled its report many years ago in the Maharashtra Assembly, clearly pointed out to the role of Shive Sena and its leader Bal Thackeray in the riots. But despite that and a passage of 22 years, the culprits behind that massacre roam free.  

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