Vinod Mubayi


The midnight vigil at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi failed. The 2.30 a.m. wake up call for justice addressed to the Chief Justice of India by eminent lawyers like Indira Jaising and civil society organizations failed.The Indian justice system, which Memon trusted enough to return to the country with his family, was shown to be a complete fraud.


Yakub Memon was hanged by the neck simply because (1) his community and religion is not an important vote bank especially in his state, (2) the Hindu supremacists’ thirst had to be satisfied, and (3) every official organ, from the judiciary to the executive to the legislative as represented by the major political parties (BJP, Congress) was hell-bent on the execution.  There were some honorable exceptions. Justice Joseph of the Supreme Court who issued a dissenting opinion, individual members of mainstream political parties, all the left parties, former high-ranking retired judges, and the greater portion of the intelligentsia, including the editorial columns of leading newspapers like the Indian Express and the Hindu. Most pointed out the utter hypocrisy of the justice system from its lowest levels all the way to the Supreme Court in imposing and executing the death penalty.


Rabindra Pal aka Dara Singh who committed the gruesome murders of Graham Staines and his small children was absolved of the death sentence because the judge cited proselytizing by missionaries as a mitigating factor in his case! Babu Bajrangi who carried out the truly horrifying killing of Kauserbi and her fetus by slitting open her belly and tossing her unborn child into a fire was never sentenced to death; probably the judge who convicted and sentenced him to life imprisonment was afraid for her own life if she had pronounced the death penalty. If so, her fears were amply justified for the Gujarat government and its judicial system has now released this brutal killer, who boasted of his crimes, on bail, along with others like Maya Kodnani who were also given life imprisonment but barely served a year in jail, while the judge is now receiving death threats. Meanwhile, the killers of innocents on the Samjhauta express, the bombers of Mecca Masjid, and the purveyors of many other crimes and killings have remained fairly undisturbed, some on bail, some absconding, and a few in jail. In the new Hindutva dispensation, cases involving capital crimes committed by RSS members, followers, or sympathizers are turning cold as witnesses sensing the change in political winds are becoming hostile. This was stated by none other than a senior public prosecutor in Maharashtra, Ms. Rohini Salian, who related how agents belonging to central agencies are putting pressure on her to withdraw or go slow on cases against those close to RSS, even those accused of extremely serious crimes involving murder in the first degree.


This is the climate in which Memon was hanged. This foul deed not only smacks, it shrieks of official complicity and bias. More than a thousand innocent people, mostly poor Muslims, were killed by Shiv Sena and their associated goondas along with members of the Bombay police in Mumbai in the post Babri Masjid demolition riots. The names of those guilty and their abettors are amply documented in the Srikrishna Commission report. Yet no action has been taken against anyone remotely important; a few slaps on the wrist on a few low-level persons sufficed. Yet Yakub Memon has been hanged although his role was minor compared to others who got lesser sentences. Perhaps it was because his brother, the mastermind, remains beyond the arm of Indian law or perhaps official India had to produce a scapegoat as it had to last year in the person of Afzal Guru. Who can then blame a rabble rouser like Owaisi if he gives voice to the claim of systemic bias of all organs of the Indian state against the Muslim minority?


Meanwhile, we mourn again the passing of our comrade and friend Praful Bidwai, who powerful pen would have voiced our own outrage.

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