Need to rethink death penalty, says Shinde

Sushilkumar Shinde

Says 'eminent persons' want ban on capital punishment

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Sunday the government needs to "rethink" its capital punishment policy.

Speaking at an Idea Exchange organised by Loksatta, Marathi newspaper of The Indian Express Group, he said: "We need to rethink. We (the government and Rashtrapati Bhavan) received a representation from 13-14 eminent Indians yesterday demanding a ban on death penalty. There should not be cruelty. They said convicts (should) be made to serve in jail, need not be released on parole."

The statement comes days after 26/11 convict Ajmal Kasab was hanged.

The Home Minister, however, added in Kasab's case, the question of "cruelty" did not arise as he was part of the team that killed 166 people.

On the other terror convict on death row, Afzal Guru, Shinde said the home ministry received the file on his mercy petition from Rashtrapati Bhavan Saturday.

"I have not read it yet. We will take a decision after examining all legal angles," he said.

Shinde said there were several letters from the international community too stating that there should not be capital punishment.

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