Mr. P. Chidambaram and The Jailor


“Lulu, did you read what they are about to do?” I asked.
“Tell me, what is it?” Lulu, my parrot, responded while nibbling at chillies.
“Jayalalitha wants clemency for Rajiv Gandhi killers and now the J&K Assembly wants clemency for Afzal Guru!”
“Who? The man who attacked parliament?” Lulu asked
“Yes!”
“But he was sentenced to death in 2004. Why did they not hang him so far?”
“Timidity, what else? Besides that some legal pundits say that the trial was not fair.” I flaunted my general knowledge!
“Well, I have heard that argument before when I was flying in Iran. They were about to hang Saddam Hussein then.” Lulu said in the tone of a ‘foreign-returned’ man.
“That was a different case.” I said.
“You are speaking like a lawyer now! Ha, ha. I have also heard the ‘unfair trial argument’ in another case.” Lulu laughed fluttering his wings.
“Which one?”
“The famous Eichmann trial...Eichmann who reportedly killed a million Jews. There are people who believe that he got raw deal.”
“I see your point. I think if Hitler was an Indian and not German, he too would have been let off the hook.” I said.
“Can’t say. Indians are unpredictable. The Bengali Babu Dhananjay Chatterjee was hanged after 14 years in prison. His mercy petition was rejected by the then President of India in 1994. He was hanged in 2004.” Lulu said.
“Hmmm....well...”
“And advising the President to reject the mercy petition filed by Chatterjee’s wife, the Home Ministry had said that the law is not for the condemned but for the victim.” Lulu pointed out.
“So law also takes sides!” I said
“Not law. The Home Ministry. There is more to it.”
“Now, what’s that?”
“The Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party president and MP, Mehbooba Mufti said that the Centre should pardon Afzal if Pakistan accepted the clemency appeal for Sarabjit Singh. Sarabjit is facing death sentence in Pakistan.” Lulu said.
“You mean our political leaders want to do a ‘Quid pro quo.’ The barter will get them more votes, they think. Will they ask for ‘one on one’ free?” I asked.
“Ha, ha!” Lulu said. “All this points out to a Government which is exactly in the same position like that jailor....I told you that story once.”
“Tell me again, I don’t remember.”
“A jailor put the convict in electric chair and asked what his last wish was and added that he would do everything to fulfil it.”
“So?” I asked.
“The convict said that he was very scared of dying so he requested jailor that while he was getting electrocuted the jailor should just hold his hand!”

And Lulu resumed nibbling at chillies

Vivek

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