Mumbai: The verdict in the Kathua rape and murder case was pronounced on Monday, sentencing three of the accused to life imprisonment. While the verdict came as a sense of some closure to the family of the eight-year-old, many demanded capital punishment for the guilty. However, Javed Akhtar has something else to say.
The veteran lyricist-screenwriter, who is known for being vocal on pressing issues, expressed apprehensions that those sentenced must not be let out a few years later despite committing such a 'heinous crime'.
" I just saw the verdict on television that the culprits who were responsible for the inhuman barbaric act have been awarded life imprisonment and I also heard that some people were disappointed by the verdict because they believed that the culprits deserve capital punishment," said Akhtar, who attended a book launch event in the city.
"I must, in all honesty, accept that I do not have a clear cut idea about capital punishment, whether it is right or wrong. One thing I am sure about is that capital punishment is not a deterrent of crime because where they have banned capital punishment, crime hasn't increased, and where they have kept it, crime hasn't reduced. So, I have no idea that whether they should have been given capital punishment or a life term is good enough. I am not sure," he opined.
Akhtar went on to say that while the verdict pronounced may be satisfactory, the accused must not be let off after a short while, as is the case in many instances.
"We have seen many times in society that somebody who has committed a heinous crime gets life imprisonment and after two-three years you realise that the person is released on one ground or other. And then he or she lives happily ever after," said the noted lyricist. "I hope life imprisonment is good enough but it will not have these kinds of privileges that after two or three years the same people will be walking out free." The eight-year-old girl, belonging to a nomadic Muslim tribe, was abducted, drugged, gang-raped, tortured and killed on January 10 last year in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.
A Pathankot court on Monday convicted mastermind Sanji Ram and two others for murder, gangrape, and conspiracy and sentenced them to life imprisonment while three police officials were found guilty of destroying evidence and given five-year jail terms.