The article “A thousand deaths” (Edit Page, Sept. 3) was thought provoking. While capital punishment is a horror, still more gruesome is the “death row phenomenon” of the captive oscillating between hope and despondency for a very long time. The criminals start preferring death to the inhuman and degrading wait. It is time the government disposed of mercy petitions within a stipulated time frame.

The author rightly points out that the granting of pardon is not an act of grace or mercy but an integral part of the criminal justice system under India's constitutional scheme.

Vathsala Jayaraman, Chennai

As the article “A thousand deaths” must have made clear to many readers, procrastination is inhuman. The title is apt — how many times would the death row convicts have faced death? Afzal Guru's remark that he is waiting for L.K. Advani to become Prime Minister and end his pain and daily suffering by ordering his execution is painful.

V. Ravichandran, Nellai

We as a nation must be ashamed that death row convicts, no matter what their crime, are made to undergo the psychological pain of waiting endlessly to know whether their life would be spared.

Judicial delays are a blot on our democratic credentials and the ordeal of death row convicts is its extreme.

Rohit Nandakumar, Ernakulam

Mercy pleas offer a ray of hope for people who know their days are numbered. It is only humane to bring down their agony through a fast disposal of their pleas. After all, a man can and should die only once in his life.

A.P. Nirmal, Kannur

The conversion of a minutes-long journey to the gallows into an 11-year wait must be prohibited in a civilised society like ours. It can never be justified on any ground and does not come under the punishment laid down for the offence.

Amit Kumar, New Delhi

More In: Letters | Opinion