Back in the 80s when stale Doordarshan fare was all one had to go by, it was not unusual to have Indira Gandhi and later on Rajiv Gandhi dominate the headlines. Two decades have gone by and we are in a new century, competition arrived a decade ago and with it multiple news channels. But little has changed with the 24×7 news channels vying with each other to spin their way dutifully for the preservation of what is left of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

This post is not about Priyanka Vadra’s meeting with the conspirators of her father’s assasination. As righly pointed out by her to the media, it is a personal choice and one that speaks of great emotional strength.

But this post is about the larger issue of Capital Punishment and where Rahul Gandhi stands on this issue in light of these remarks by him.

We don’t carry hatred. We don’t carry anger. .

which were followed by these when asked if he shared his sister’s views

I have a different way of looking at these things

With the Rahul Gandhi trial balloon getting more hot air in the geriatric ward today, this time from Pranab Mukherjee, it perhaps is time for the media to stop giving him a free pass and asking him some tough questions.

So where exactly does Rahul Gandhi stand on Capital Punishment ?

The issue is critical for the Congress lead UPA Government has dragged its feet for years on carrying out the death sentence for convicted terrorists Afzal Guru despite the Supreme Court’s confirmation of the same.

In Sept of 2006  when Afzal was sentenced to death Offstumped had highlighted why Terrorist attacks were acts of war justifying Capital Punishment with these remarks

The death sentence to Afzal for the December 13th 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament is an important reminder to the Manmohan Singh Government to get its moral bearings right on how to characterize and deal with Terrorism. Unless the Manmohan Singh Government can demonstrate that it understands the difference between general acts of crime and specific acts of War, and has the spine to act accordingly in response to them one cannot take its Pakistan proposals with any credibility.

Subsequently in October of 2006 Offstumped had argued why Kashmir cannot be a reason to grant clemency to Afzal.

Clemency to Afzal on prosecutorial misconduct or lack of evidence is one thing. Clemency to Afzal on humanitarian considerations of ill health or soundness of mental faculties is another thing. But Clemency to Afzal on the grounds that it is the most unpopular act in Jammu Kashmir is unacceptable. If there are misguided youth in the valley who see Afzal as a victim, hero and martyr then focus on building confidence in the valley on the fairness of the Indian Constitution and Justice System, pardoning Afzal would do little to build confidence on the fairness of the Justice System. 

Finally on 13th Jan 2007 Offstumped commenting on the Supreme Court’s rejection of the final plea by Mohammad Afzal, had written

The Afzal Time Bomb is ticking while the UPA equivocates on whether to hang him or not. With Breakfast in Amristar, Lunch in Lahore and Dinner in Kabul, there may not be much of an appetite left in the Congress for Afzal’s neck. The BJP is biding its time waiting for the impending backlash. The only point of speculation is whether the terrorists will strike pre-emptively to free Afzal or if the Government will wilt first and grant clemency.

Offstumped poser to Rahul Gandhi:

Where do you stand on Capital Punishment ?

Do you have the intellectual clarity and the moral certitude to carry out the Afzal Death Sentence ?


Will you obfuscate the issue by alluding to your personal lack  of anger and hatred as moral justification for delinquency of the State in carrying out its Constitutional Dharma ?

Offstumped is written by Yossarin from the Indian National Interest 

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