No death penalty even for terrorists, says Tharoor

Last Updated 02 August 2015, 10:33 IST

Unfazed by criticism, former union minister Shashi Tharoor today opposed death penalty even for terrorists saying it was an "obsolete practice" and they should instead be put behind bars for the rest of their lives without parole.

"Terrorists should be put behind bars throughout their life without parole. In earlier days, there was a belief that if a person murders someone, he should be killed. Why do we need to follow the old obsolete practice...," the Congress MP said.

"When we implement capital punishment, we are actually acting like them. They are the murderers and the state should not act like them," the Congress MP told reporters here on the sidelines of a function, organised by 'Tree Walk', an environmental organisation.

On the recent controversy over his tweet on the execution of Mumbai terror attack convict Yakub Memon, he said: "I have not said a word on Memon case. What I tweeted was that I was not going into the merits of an individual case and it was the responsibility of the Supreme Court. I had tweeted against the death penalty which is an obsolete practice."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had also said that "we don't have the right to take anyone's life."

The Congress MP from Thiruvanathapuram said not only he, but several leaders, including Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Kanimozhi, Shatrughan Sinha and Varun Gandhi had also supported the abolition of death penalty.

"As many as 143 countries have already abandoned the practice of death penalty. Another 25 countries are not practising it though the capital punishment is there in their law. Only around 35 countries are practising it at present. Why should our country follow such a practice?," Tharoor asked.

Tharoor had earlier faced BJP's ire for saying that he was "saddened" by the news that "our government has hanged a human being. State-sponsored killing diminishes us all by reducing us to murderers too". 

On the Latin Catholic Diocese here, issuing a pastoral letter against the Vizhinjam International Seaport project, Tharoor said the apprehensions of people regarding the project should be settled.

"I have come to know that the pastoral letter was issued demanding a settlement in rehabilitation packages of fisherfolk community inhabiting in the project area. I am confident that the state government will soon settle the issue," he said.

(Published 02 August 2015, 10:33 IST)

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