Death penalty violates human rights
Amnesty International says “As long as human justice remains fallible, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated.”
The global movement for human justice rightly puts it in words when it comes to capital punishment or death penalty. There are many false rape and murder accusations and the accused sometimes has to suffer for no fault of his/hers. Our Social Welfare Minister, Kyrmen Shylla seemed to be sentimentally anguished when he talked of capital punishment and the general public’s support for death penalty is solely based on moral grounds and retribution. Generally, it is believed that only capital punishment will lower the crime rate but according to statistical evidence it confirms that deterrence doesn’t work and the fact that it doesn’t is because of the lengthy legal procedures in the system. Art. 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to life to every individual and to legally grant the death penalty to an individual contradicts the fundamental right itself. Capital punishment is no less a murder, just that it is in legal form and it doesn’t rehabilitate the prisoners.
What is needed is proper value education, public awareness, self-defence training and quick and effective judicial procedures to ensure that justice to the victims can be delivered at a quick pace to restore public faith in the rule of law.
Kevin M Shangpliang,
Apropos the front page photograph captioned, “Dumping loose soil in Wah Umkhrah,” published in your esteemed daily (ST April 06, 2021). Knowing fully well that the area is flood effected for so many years, we fail to understand how the authorities can allow such dumping of soil on the Wah Umkhrah river thereby turning the river into a nullah. As we have seen various steps have been taken to clean up /widen the river for the past few years. This act will not only create havoc but also the very purpose of cleaning /widening will be defeated. We therefore urge the authorities to take immediate steps to stop further dumping of soil and arrange to remove the soil already dumped.
S.Dey, B.Thapa, P Kharlyngdoh etc
India sinks on gender gap report
India has dropped 28 places to rank 140th among 156 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 and has become the third worst performer in South Asia. In South Asia, only Pakistan and Afghanistan ranked below India. The report’s criteria for assessment covers four areas : economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment.
Much of the decline in India has occurred on the political empowerment index. There is a significant decline in the share of women among ministers which has dropped from 23.1% in 2019 to 9.1% in 2021. Apart from this, the share of women in parliament remains stagnant at 14.4%. As for women’s economic participation and opportunity, the present state is pitiful. There has been a decrease in women’s labour force participation rate. In addition to this, the share of women in professional and technical roles has declined. Further, the share of women in senior and managerial positions continues to be low. Also, the estimated earned income of women in India is only one-fifth of that of men which positions India among the bottom 10 globally.
Women face discrimination in health and survival as well. India ranks among the bottom 5 countries in this regard. Wide gaps in sex ratio at birth are caused by high incidence of gender-based sex-selective practices. With regard to educational attainment index, one-third of women are illiterate(34.2%) compared to 17.6% of men. In addition, violence against women has risen over the years.
Providing space for girls and women to fulfil their aspirations requires a framework that promotes gender equality at the heart of every design, whether it is policy or programme. It needs to address the complex interplay of factors that operate at different levels. Women’s economic independence must be enhanced. They must be helped to enable the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Life skills education must be provided to women to equip them with knowledge, skills and understanding of their rights. Prevention of violence and violence response system must be improved. These, along with other micro approaches, hold promise of a bright future for women. Empowering women not merely benefits her as an individual but her entire community.
Death penalty for rapists wrong!
The Social Welfare minister joins many other citizens in wanting rapists to be hanged to death because of the heinous nature of their crimes. But killing a convict does not deter others from committing the same crime. Then between arresting the rapists and giving them a death penalty is a long tedious procedure. The first thing that is expected when a crime occurs is for the culprit to be arrested. But in the several cases of crimes committed on women in Jaintia Hills and in the state as a whole, arrests are yet to be made. So far only one person was arrested in the latest case happening in Jowai on Sunday. In the other two cases of this year there aren’t even any suspects so far. This is because policing in the state leaves much to be desired. Those who have had experiences of dealing with the police know how unsatisfactory their system is. Is it because of recruitment of wrong individuals without the aptitude for policing? It is well known that in Meghalaya and other states too, recruitment to the police is often dictated by money and political clout and not by merit. If the meritorious had joined the police, things might have been better by now. But why cry over spilt milk? It is our fate here in Meghalaya to suffer from bad policing, bad traffic, bad governance, bad architectural design for houses, bad roads and polluted piped water coming into our homes. Everywhere we look it is dark and dismal. Where do we look for deliverance? Its frustrating to the core.