The police claimed to pick Memon up from the New Delhi Railway Station on 5th August, 1994. However, in a letter written to the Supreme Court in 1999, Memon stated that he came to India on 28th July, 1994. He had been detained on 24th July at Kathmandu Airport and then handed over to the Indian agencies. Since then Memon has co-operated with the investigating agencies and provided vital leads which have been acknowledged. According to established legal precepts, such cooperation ought to have been taken into account as a mitigating factor, while pronouncing his sentence. But that was not done.
Tellingly enough, the judicial process through which Memon has been proved guilty and sentenced to death by hanging has failed to bring to book the main perpetrators of the demolition of Babri Masjid or the anti-Muslim carnage in Maharashtra in December 1992 and January 1993, despite the Sri Krishna Commission implicating a host of police officers and politicians belonging to Shiv Sena for their role. In the last one year, investigations into attacks committed by Hindu terror groups have been marked by a similar lackadaisical approach: 15 witnesses have turned hostile in the Ajmer Dargah blast (2007), the NIA has closed the Modasa case (2008) and has pressured the special prosecutor to ‘go soft’ on the investigations into the Malegeon blasts (2008). The impending hanging of Yakub Memon is thus also characterized by a markedly communal hue.
Memon has already spent 21 years in prison and can be said to have served out his sentence, assuming he is guilty. His death penalty now will hence amount to two punishments for a single crime, making it all the more inhuman and barbaric. We appeal to all democratic forces to raise their voice against Memon’s death penalty and compel the Indian State to repeal it.
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