The ruckus behind Yakub Memon’s hanging had me baffled.
For someone who updates social media on issues, I was truly clueless about the entire hullabaloo. People had begun calling it an ‘injustice’, some others a travesty and a few others had gone to the extent of calling it a ‘shame to a democracy’.
Somewhere amidst this noise, I had to sit back and scratch my head. What did I really miss??
I can understand the call for abolishing death penalty.
That is a debate that has existed for long. Most nations that consider themselves ‘evolved’ or civilized have abolished it. I am not erudite enough to comment on the issue, I can’t claim to know the nuances of the debate.
What I do know, and am fully convinced about, is belief in the law of the land.
In a way, I was proud of the fact that a criminal was even given debate and discussion on a national scale. In most of our neighbouring countries, he would have been chopped to salad, and nobody would even know when it happened.
Of course, I do not endorse it, I’m merely stating the facts. The entire debate and discussion probably reflected our civility as a nation.
What disturbed me, however, was how nobody seemed to speak of his crimes anymore.
The only point of discussion was of him ‘helping’ Indian intelligence authorities in their investigation. This, apparently, ought to have gotten him a pardon, made him above the law of the land, which had spent 22 years to run its course. The other argument was that he was being hung for the crimes of his brother.
The intelligence in that statement can be gauged by the fact that it was echoed by Salman Khan, that well-read intellectual from Bandra.
Also, the last time we showed mercy on criminals and kept them in jails, here is what happened. The Kandahar hijackers demanded the release of Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar.
What did these dudes do after they were released?
The World Trade Centre attacks of 9/11, the kidnapping, and beheading of Daniel Pearl. And oh, remember the Mumbai terror attacks? Those too.
Strangely, whenever Yakub’s activities were spoken about, it was in an off-handed manner, like an accepted theorem – ‘Yes, he did commit those crimes, BUT – ’
As a media student, I think most of it is to do with public perception of an incident.
Let’s compare this with another incident that provoked the nation’s fury in the last few years. Ram Singh & Co.’s rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey in December 2012.
The same liberals who poured their heart out on my wall last week, had been crying hoarse – ‘Hang the rapist’.
That was because the facts were out there in the public. They had beaten the girl black and blue, broken her bones, inserted a rod into her vagina, kicked her till her intestines came out – the gory details were all out in the public. There was a face to the victim, a name (even though it wasn’t out for long). At the same time, there was a face to the criminals too – they had names, faces, homes.
But the Mumbai blasts of 93 were more or less faceless.
Except Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon, no faces or names floated in the minds of the public. It was just that – Bombay Blasts. A sad incident where people lost their lives. Like they do on trains everyday. Or if there is a stampede at a holy river.
The Mumbai blasts had no face.
That, and the fact that decades have passed since the incident, softens our stand. We begin to look at the peripheries, the tangents, and miss the gaping black hole in the middle.
Well, Yakub Memon wasn’t an innocent victim of circumstances.
Duryodhana was the more evil among the brothers. Doesn’t mean Dushasana was a saint!
To all you people who cried, spoke your voice, and pasted links to articles on my wall, here’s what Yakub Memon did.
He was a sharp student. After securing his Chartered Accountant’s degree in 1991, he was fudging accounts for his brother Tiger Memon by 1992.
Yakub Memon managed the funds for his brother. He arranged the money to buy bombs and guns. He fudged accounts to ensure they weren’t traced back to him.
He bought the cars and scooters in which the bombs were planted. Flats owned by him were used to plan the whole conspiracy. He supervised and distributed the guns and weapons, saw to it that they were well-hidden.
He bought and arranged air tickets for the accused to escape away to Pakistan, joining them when he thought it was a safer option for his family.
Perhaps reading The Times of India everyday has made us dumb.
Yakub Memon lived in Pakistan, enjoyed the luxury of their hospitality along with his family for nearly a year. By then, the investigation in India had picked up pace. All the signs were hinting towards Pakistan’s involvement.
By any shred of common logic, Pakistan wasn’t going to be feeding and keeping him safe. He only returned to India when he was a liability. When his family was in danger.
The blasts killed more than 300 people.
Innocents died. Hawkers who would stand under the sun and sell and earn peanuts. Employees who were on their way to earn an honest living. Common people who were neither communal, nor conniving with Bal Thackeray.
Just regular people going about their lives, were blown to bits. And Yakub Memon was at the epicenter of it all.
He was no saint. He was a sneaky, conniving bastard who ran away after engineering the blasts, and returned when he realized it was the safest option.
And what did the debate result in?
More than 35,000 people congregated at his funeral. Political parties like AIMIM claimed it was a conspiracy against Muslims.
Yakub Memon had set out to die for the cause of Islam. He failed, but we made sure he succeeded in the end.
We made a criminal a martyr.