July 27, 2007

Innocent (and) had done no harm

Below, four paragraphs that are identical except for a few words and phrases changed here and there. One is from a recent judgement; the other three are fictional.
  • "Acts of these people were not aimed at taking revenge for atrocities committed on Hindus during the communal riots of 1992-93. The acts committed by them have been a disgrace to Hinduism and the Hindu community in totality. They were of the nature of developing inter-caste enmity among the Indian citizens. Their plea for lesser punishment, stating that their acts were prompted by other atrocities during those riots, is negative. None of these convicts were personally affected in the rioting. These convicts murdered those people who were innocent (and) had done no harm to the convicts. Moreover, their active participation in the conspiracy attracts the maximum punishment for them."

  • "Acts of these people were not aimed at taking revenge for atrocities committed on Muslims during the communal riots of 1992-93. The acts committed by them have been a disgrace to Islam and the Muslim community in totality. They were of the nature of developing inter-caste enmity among the Indian citizens. Their plea for lesser punishment, stating that their acts were prompted by the demolition of Babri Masjid, is negative. None of these convicts were personally affected in the demolition aftermath. These convicts murdered those people who were innocent (and) had done no harm to the convicts. Moreover, their active participation in the conspiracy attracts the maximum punishment for them."

  • "Acts of these people were not aimed at taking revenge for atrocities committed on Hindus in the Godhra train conflagration of 2002. The acts committed by them have been a disgrace to Hinduism and the Hindu community in totality. They were of the nature of developing inter-caste enmity among the Indian citizens. Their plea for lesser punishment, stating that their acts were prompted by the burning of the Godhra train, is negative. None of these convicts were personally affected in the burning. These convicts murdered those people who were innocent (and) had done no harm to the convicts. Moreover, their active participation in the conspiracy attracts the maximum punishment for them."

  • "Acts of these people were not aimed at taking revenge for the assassination of Indira Gandhi on October 31 1984. The acts committed by them have been a disgrace to India and the Indian community in totality. They were of the nature of developing inter-caste enmity among the Indian citizens. Their plea for lesser punishment, stating that their acts were prompted by the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, is negative. None of these convicts were personally affected in the assassination. These convicts murdered those people who were innocent (and) had done no harm to the convicts. Moreover, their active participation in the conspiracy attracts the maximum punishment for them."
Questions: which of these is from the recent judgement? What judgement is it? Any thoughts come to mind?

12 comments:

Jai_Choorakkot said...

Reminiscent of the discussion around your post based on Turk's question and our back and forth and explanation vs. justification.

Really dont care much for the revenge_as_ a_motive plea for lesser sentence and the endless cycles of root cause analysis that is going to set off.

Only thing I hope for is equally quick punishment for anybody that's guilty in the 1992 BOM riots regardless of their religion or political backing.

And unfortunately yes, a threat of "punish these guys or we'll blow you to bits" somehow doesnt work. Regrettably it makes me want to go slow on this to prove that we are not cowed and being terrorised (to do something we should be doing anyway?)

It weirdly becomes important to show the bombers that bombing hasnt brought them justice, to demonstrate to them in fact that it will compound injustice. A rejection of their violence almost seems to demand this. This admittedly looks warped even to me.

This is an odd and confused stance of mine, that acknowledges delay in prosecuting 1992 rioters but backs up when faced with bomb_blasts_as_a_consequence logic.

I hope I am in a small minority on this :-)

regards,
Jai

Phoenix said...

Obviously the muslim one is real. Maybe the other statements were never made because there cannot be a disgrace to Hinduism - because Hinduism has no central tenets. Hindus shouldn't even actually be calling themselves Hindus. They should be Sanatan Dharmiks (or Arya Samajis if you lean that way). Outsiders started calling Hindus Hindus and , decided that whathever is followed by way of religion in this region deserves to be unified under one name.

Palahalli said...

Why do "secularists" walk into such traps?

Why should they feel awkward if an Islamist convicted terrorist is hanged for his crimes?

Why bring in any kind of equivalance...between crimes/punishments committed and received by "Hindus" and Muslims?

Our criminal justice system sucks if we cannot ensure justice for all.

But that does not mean we should feel lousy if "some" criminals are punished.

Fighting for a better justice system is always a great and noble fight. But, that is another fight!

Please remember, you cannot have a perfect world! One step at a time. Just don't trip up on the third step.

Regards,

Palahalli said...

Why do "secularists" walk into such traps?

Why should they feel awkward if an Islamist convicted terrorist is hanged for his crimes?

Why bring in any kind of equivalance...between crimes/punishments committed and received by "Hindus" and Muslims?

Our criminal justice system sucks if we cannot ensure justice for all.

But that does not mean we should feel lousy if "some" criminals are punished.

Fighting for a better justice system is always a great and noble fight. But, that is another fight!

Please remember, you cannot have a perfect world! One step at a time. Just don't trip up on the third step.

Regards,

Dilip D'Souza said...

Fighting for a better justice system is always a great and noble fight. But, that is another fight!

Actually, what other fight is there? I'm uninterested in words like "great" and "noble", but I'm just wondering: what other fight is there?

Jai_Choorakkot said...

I was wondering how I got to that stance I have. Its partly from pondering an old discussion we had:

why are KPs the "biggest victims" of terrorism?

Not really interested in whether they are the 'biggest' but more in why so many hindutva types believe so.

I think its because, they are the most peaceful victims. None of them or anybody claiming to act on their behalf has blown things up/ killed other innocents.

In that sense Turk and co. have indeed done a great disservice to their community, and in some sense, explanation of their crimes as 'revenge' only hurts the genuine riot victims- the actions of Turk shouldnt harm the case of the riot victims in any way, but posturing it as revenge for that does IMHO.

It is absolutely your prerogative to write on the Turks, and their valid questions. I hope however that you will write on some other Nadeem (say) who is relentlessly fighting for justice, within the system, peacefully, for the BOM riots. I am sure there must be 99 Nadeems for every Turk.

This would allow your readers to empathize and identify with them, as they seem to with the Kashmiri Pandits.

I am posting a similar request on IndianMuslims.in but with that identifier any post there may have lots less visibility than you have. or be read in a certain 'way' or slant.

Thank you,
Jai

PS: Once again, your blog, your property, you decide of course. No hoops implied :-) Your choosing not to write such a piece does not mean I think you believe the opposite of what I said.

Dilip D'Souza said...

they are the most peaceful victims. None of them or anybody claiming to act on their behalf has blown things up/ killed other innocents.

True.

But I could say the same about the victims of Godhra, the victims of the subsequent violence across Gujarat, the victims in Delhi in 1984, the victims in Bombay in 1992-93 ... none of them blew things up or killed other innocents. And if some others claimed to act on their behalf, I can't see why they should be held responsible for that.

Truman said...

Is it the second paragraph? Wasn't this what the judge said while delivering the verdict (death sentence) for the Bombay blasts case?

Anonymous said...

"... But I could say the same about the victims of Godhra, subsequent violence in Gujarat etc. ..."

True. Without anyway intending this to come across as a hoop_to_jump_thru, please do. Give more airtime to these victims, personalize them and their stories and less on Turk. (if possible and only if you desire to do so).

Representing the current confusion in my mind, I came across the justice for all petition at:

http://www.petitiononline.com/jus4all/petition.html

The A_led_to_B wording does not appeal to me for its 'justifying' overtones, but I support the underlying cause of justice to 1992 riot victims. Request those readers who are more comfortable with the entire text, to sign it.

Thanks,
Jai

Dilip D'Souza said...

Give more airtime to these victims, personalize them and their stories and less on Turk.

In 14+ years, I have written any number of articles about the victims of the riots, about the need for justice, about the Srikrishna report, etc (just one example is this column from 1996) ... and one article mentioning Turk.

Naturally and of course, some will then say, "give more airtime to the victims and less to Turk".

So it goes.

Anonymous said...

Dear D:

I wanted to thank you for reading my blogs and for your kind words. I read your blog on blogging as journalism and I had to smile because I use blogs to hide my writing! A long story, that...

New Orleans has been left to rot, more or less. The Bush Administration has not kept its heroic promise to "rebuild". New Orleans is, and always has been, a true polyglot, and with so many ethnicities blending over three centuries we neither look, nor sound like middle America, and this has hurt our chances of getting substantive aid. When I visit my home state of NY, I am always attacked about NO wanting "our tax dollars" to rebuild a "black slum." And there it is. Ironically, New Orleans is so tolerant of ethnic and religious differences that our next governor will likely be Bobby Jindal, first generation Indian-American. He does the political dance to appease the Christian Conservative Right, but he's very intelligent and I hope he will get things moving.

I just read your blog here and I am not intimately aware of the circumstances of the 1992 riots. But I must say this: here in America, as we brave a President who was NEVER elected; who orchestrated voting anomalies that ensured his re-election;whose criminal reconstitution of American law, justified by the "terrorists", has left Americans in total incomprehension and despair; whose "religious" posing has done nothing other than feed evangelical fanaticism and break the sacred tenet of separation of church and state, we hold onto the only things we can: in the belief that humanity can and will prevail over the worst kinds of suffering, and in the rule of law, in blind justice, innocent until otherwise proven in a court of law. In the gangland culture of some of our teenagers (in New Orleans) the vendetta mentality is severe, and as violent retribution follows violent retribution, the only thing accomplished is grief (and universal grief, as all these kids' families know one another), and the increasing marginalization of our urban youth. The kids that live to see 30 find themselves illiterate and unemployable. I think that we must never look to violence for revenge, that revenge itself is energy wasted, and I believe that justice must move slowly enough to protect the innocent from wrongful conviction. It is a natural instinct to want to hurt whomever for doing whatever evil things that bring us pain, but violence only breeds violence, and when violence becomes a competition for highest body count...civilization is irrevocably lost.

And as I write these words I am sick in my soul that I currently live in an America which is afraid to use our right of free speech because we never know if Big Brother decides we are treasonous and sends mercenaries to drag us away, never to be seen or heard from for YEARS--no lawyers, no judge, no writ. My husband is constantly warning me to shut my mouth, but my mother grew up in Nazi occupied Poland and my family constantly risked death, albeit most times in less dramatic, subversive ways: when my grandmother was told that all children attending school must wear regulation black gym shorts, she sewed my mother's out of the mandated Nazi flag the Nazi's gave her, so that the Nazi flag was where it belonged: on my mom's ass. Every time my mom bent down with her ass up, it was a small, sweet victory of the greatest kind--sans blood.
Best--A in New Orleans

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