“Apology no absolution” (Feb. 3) rightly asserts that mere contrition is not nearly restorative enough justice when it comes to the massacre of innocents. The Bombay riots happened because the perpetrators of the 1984 riots were not punished. The 2002 Godhra violence happened because those guilty of fermenting the 1992 riots were not brought to book. This phenomenon of vengeance repeats cyclically when unchecked by judicial diligence. We must erase the religio-political associations we attach to our parties, which feeds the communal ideology.
An apology can only supplement, never replace, the role of the criminal justice system. While it can have a powerfully symbolic impact on the collective psyche in cases of chronic oppression, legal punishment is the only form of closure when targeted barbarism is involved.