This refers to the editorial "Clemency for the right reasons," (Oct. 9). Though my conscience does not approve of the death penalty, I believe Mohammed Afzal Guru should not be spared the noose. In a country like India where money can buy innocence, if Afzal is awarded life imprisonment we will see him on the streets after 14 years on an Independence Day.

As for the stand on the death penalty, writing an editorial when the judiciary awards capital punishment is not enough. The debate should be kept alive even after the execution of the guilty. Only then can we ensure that the judiciary does not exercise the option of condemning a person to death.

N. Easwaran,
Thiruvalla, Kerala

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There is no arguing that a radical review of capital punishment is overdue. But an emotional decision churned out by the verdict in Afzal's case will send a wrong message, particularly among security personnel who would not want their colleagues' sacrifices washed away in the tears of magnanimity of those who are not affected one way or the other by militancy.

B. Srinivasan,
Chennai

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While I feel that the principle of an eye for an eye is primitive, I believe Afzal deserves the ultimate punishment. Granting him clemency would be an insult to the memory of the nine security personnel who died on December 13, 2001.

Reyhan Datta,
Dehra Dun

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All those asking us to match the European countries should understand that there are campaigns there to re-examine their system in view of the increasing volume of terror. Why are we pleading the case of one who refuses to plead for himself?

R. Agastya,
Hyderabad

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True, the judicial system is not immune to mistakes. The 1930 case in Bihar is perhaps the best example. But in Afzal's case, there are some strong reasons to deny him clemency. He has not expressed remorse, and has said he has no faith in our judicial system. But then, no man has the right to take away the life of another.

P.T. Abraham,
Kochi, Kerala

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Pleading for the abolition of capital punishment in principle is one thing but advocating clemency for Afzal is quite another. The argument that the death penalty is no deterrent does not hold water. If this reasoning is true, we do not need any law against murder, robbery, rape, etc., because they continue to be committed in spite of stringent laws.

V.D.S. Prasad,
Chennai

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Clemency can be considered only for a person who, under extreme provocation or fit of anger, kills another. Afzal helped to launch a cold-blooded attack on our sovereignty. If the death sentence is abhorrent, so is killing by the security forces. Should we stop arming them?

V.T. Narayanan,
Bangalore

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Afzal himself has neither sought clemency nor regretted his role in the Parliament attack that killed nine security personnel. This is not a case of murder in a fit of anger, but a calculated and diabolical attack on the very symbol of Indian democracy.

N. Nagesh,
Chennai

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Clemency for Afzal will evoke the ire of not only the relatives of the Parliament attack victims but also of the general populace. The abolition of the death penalty will result in an ineffective law and order system in which the state lacks the ultimate crime deterrent.

Shiva Chaithanya,
Bangalore

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It is unfortunate that our media and politicians are making the sentence an issue. They should spare a thought for those who thought nothing of risking their own lives to protect the symbol of our democracy. Let us not make a criminal look like a victim or hero.

Ramakrishna Nethi,
Hyderabad

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Unfortunately, the media attention on Afzal is making a hero out of him. This will have an impact on the minds of the young.

P. Razin,
Malappuram, Kerala

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Any lenience shown to Afzal will encourage terrorism and discourage the security personnel who are ready to die fighting terrorists. It is the ordinary people who fall victim to terror. Politicians don't. Obviously, they do not realise the suffering of the family that loses its breadwinner. They are only concerned with votes.

Sarmistha Saha,
Siliguri

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If the politicians and rights activists succeed, nothing will prevent them from demanding amnesty for the criminals behind the Mumbai blasts, including Dawood Ibrahim.

Brijesh Barthwal,
Lucknow

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To retain their vote banks, politicians have readily forgotten the service rendered by those who lost their lives defending the national honour and MPs' lives. The court awards capital punishment only in the "rarest of rare" cases and Afzal's case is surely one of them.

Nitin Suryabhan,
Kanpur

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What message do we want to send to the brave men and women who are out defending the country? That they may die but terrorists will live in prisons, waiting to be released by hijacks and other acts?

G. Ravi,
Boston, Massachusetts

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Afzal is remorseless and has no respect for the law. The sacrifice made by the victims of terrorism and security forces, and the hard work done by the investigating authorities should not go in vain.

Joshua Devasahayam,
Chennai

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Every time India has given in to demands to free terrorists, be it during the Kandahar hijack or kidnap of Rubaiya Sayeed, terrorism has escalated. India cannot appear to be soft on terror. Afzal's death sentence should not be commuted.

Naveen Marrapu,
Hyderabad

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A convicted terrorist undergoing life imprisonment is a potential threat for another terrorist act to secure his release. Even if Afzal is granted clemency on humanitarian grounds, it will appear to have been done under pressure from different groups.

R.R. Ayyar,
Chennai

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If Afzal is given a life sentence, another plane may get hijacked or a Minister's kin may be kidnapped. When the government cannot protect innocent civilians, the least it can do is not endanger their lives further. Why be the cause of death of innocent men and women?

V. Sivaraman,
Chennai