The Supreme Court headed by Altmas Kabir has extended the stay of execution of the four convicted murderers of the Veerappan gang by 6 months. The gang of four — Simon, Bilvendran, Gnanaprakash and Meesekara Madaiah — have brutally killed 22 policemen including one police superintendent Harikrishna in 1992. One of those killed was Shakeel, then 32 years old. Shakeel’s father Abdul Kareem retired as a DSP – was 75 at that time and took the issue to Supreme Court and got them punished.
It is extraordinary that mainstream media is highlighting the agitations to show mercy to these killers by Muthulakshmi, the wife of brigand Veerappan. As usual the human rights cottage industry — is in full swing asking for mercy to the murderers. PUCL / South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) etc. have formed a national confederation of human rights organisations to voice support to murderers and terrorists.
But the intriguing part is the visit of three priests — Joseph Alexander from Savaddatti in Belgaum district, Ponnusamy and Martin from Bellary and Antony Swamy from Hitkal Dam in Belgaum district — to the murderers. They claimed that they are relatives of the four convicts. While Joseph Alexander claimed that he was maternal relative of Bilvendran and Simon, Anthony Swami stated that he was a distant relative of Madaiah, and Martin is said to be a paternal relative of Gnanaprakash. Ponnusamy was not allowed to meet the convicts as he could not produce documents as address proof. All the priests said “they were happy and sad to meet their relatives on death row”. Not only that, a prayer meeting was organised to coincide with the SC Judgment the next day and the decision was stated in the beginning.
There are many questions related to this. The priests seem to have gone there not as priests to get/offer last minute confessions / prayers but as relatives. If the priests are really the relatives of the murderers then did they try to preach/advice the murderers about their sins and the need to reform. Or did they not know about their activities at all? There were also reports that Veerappan was given Rs 30 crore as ransom to release movie star Rajkumar during the regime of SM Krishna. This allegation was made by a very senior police official Dinakar in his memoirs. Where are those amounts? Is it used to fund church-related activities to secure the release of his aides? It is interesting to note that Veerappan started as apprentice under one Xavier Gounder who was actively involved in church/conversion activities. Is there a desperate attempt to find the location of the hidden treasures of Veerappan and these visits are only for that purpose?
There are many unanswered questions in the Veerappan saga including the role of one Gopal who runs a Tamil rag called Nakkeran and who was earlier kidnapped by Veerappan. The other mysteries are the missing Rs 30 crore and the role of church in the brigand’s operation.
Article 142 of the Indian Constitution gives the Supreme Court absolute power. To do complete justice the court can examine a mercy petition. The scope for reviewing a decision by the President is extremely limited since the mercy petition to the President itself is based on a Supreme Court judgment (of capital punishment). So it is not the merit of the matter but the delay factor which the court will look into — but then, six weeks for that is an interesting question.
This brings us to another case — that of the killers of Rajiv Gandhi, our former Prime Minister.
A report in Times of India from February 20, 2013 says, “Three Rajiv Gandhi assassins have opposed the execution of the death sentence awarded to them by pointing to the 12-year lag between the Supreme Court’s confirmation of the High Court’s order to send them to the gallows and the rejection of the mercy petition by President. Behind this argument, it turns out, is a well-organised campaign by LTTE cadres, sympathisers and human rights groups opposed to death penalty that could well have been the reason for the delay in the first place.”
Further the report suggests: “The announcement of death penalty led to the European Union issuing a demarche to the Indian Government. Tamil and human rights groups lobbied France, South Africa, Germany, Denmark, UK MPs, and the Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore as well as Indian Ministers for not carrying out the death sentence. Rashtrapati Bhavan was bombarded with clemency pleas.”
We find that a significant number of the human rights groups are church-related organisations and so the game plan is simple. Delay the executions by bringing in pressure from the global human rights cottage industry and then use that as a reason to question the hanging.
It is still not clear why the Archbishop of Madras, a man of god, should get entangled in the affairs of the killers of Rajiv Gandhi unless he has sympathies for the LTTE.
Normally reticent and mild-mannered Manmohan Singh, in an interview to Science magazine mentioned that American NGOs are funding the protests against Kudankulam nuclear plant. He also blamed protests against genetically-modified crops on groups which were funded from the US and Scandinavian countries. He said that “they are not fully appreciative of the development challenges that our country faces”.
This is a major revelation coming from the Prime Minister and unfortunately our media which is agenda-driven has not fully comprehended the dimensions of the issues raised by our PM. Let us understand the nature of the threat posed by these NGOs to our republic and the need to stem the rot here and now.
May be the time has come to ask for an Indian Church delinked from Vatican and other international centres for evangelical churches. Globally, the Church is facing crises due to sex and money-laundering accusations and even the Pope has retired. This may be the right time for the Church in India to snap ties and go solo looking at only Indian interests. Also the time has come to completely scrap the FCRA Act and ban all foreign donations which facilitate the human rights cottage industry. Men of god should not be involved with terrorists. Amen.