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Women’s rights groups reiterate stand against death penalty in rape cases

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Representational image.   | Photo Credit: AP

Death is not a deterrent against crimes, they say

Women’s rights groups and feminists have reiterated their opposition to death penalty, asserting that it is not a deterrent against crimes.

“We understand the inexorable pain of the parents and other loved ones of women and children who are raped and, in many cases, killed. However, efforts by politicians and parties, courts and other vested interests to capitalise on their pain and make the case a matter of the nation’s honour, give false hope that the harshest punishment of death will prevent all such cases in the future,” reads a statement from 16 women’s rights groups including Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, The Feminist Collective and All India Progressive Women’s Association, among others.

Many well-known women’s rights activists and senior lawyers have also endorsed the petition, such as Mary E John, Nivedita Menon, Suneeta Dhar and Indira Jaisingh.

The petition was sent to the President before he rejected the the mercy plea of Mukesh Singh, who is on death row. He, along with three others — Akshay Kumar, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta — were to be hanged on January 22, though the Delhi High Court stayed the hanging after Singh sought mercy.

The petition says that a death penalty is a mere illusion of justice provided to divert attention from a failing criminal justice system.

“The only way to stop such crimes is the certainty that the criminal justice system will work with honesty, integrity, competence and fairness against every accused, irrespective of their social standing, power position, class, or caste. Instead, what the State is trying to do is to distract us by creating an ‘illusion of justice’, by selectively hanging people even as it protects others responsible for similar crimes.”

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 6:37:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/womens-rights-groups-reiterate-stand-against-death-penalty-in-rape-cases/article30584681.ece

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