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Capital Punishment For Rape: What Young India Thinks



Capital Punishment For Rape: What Young India Thinks

Millennials share their opinions on the Nirbhaya case SC verdict

On December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old Delhi girl was brutally raped and tortured leading to her death. Fast forward to May 2017 and the Supreme Court has finally rolled out its verdict: death by hanging, for four of the six accused men. The remaining two escaped this sentence as one of them committed suicide in prison while the other was a juvenile at the time of the crime (you can read the entire verdict here). While many people are in support of the SC’s decision as Nirbhaya finally seems to have her death avenged, some others believe that capital punishment is simply wrong even in the ‘rarest of rare’ cases.

What do young Indian millennials have to say about this? Let’s take a look:

“Capital punishment is not enough”

Kabir Deb, 24-year-old Life Science teacher says: “Whenever capital punishment is spoken of, the first thing that comes to mind is, ‘yes, now the victim and his/her parents can look forward to something.’ However, in India when British used to rule our land, they easily used to pass such an order after torturing our freedom fighters saying ‘it’s time for his/her death.’ We are actually following this procedure of death penalty even after 70 years of Independence. Why? Is death penalty a punishment? No. It’s barbaric. ISIS gives death to those who are against them. Terrorists in any place give death as punishment because they believe that death is the final thing a kafir deserves. It’s completely illogical. Yes a person doesn’t want to leave his/her family. But after death, how does a barbaric person suffer? Punishment for a fraction of a second is punishment? No, absolutely not. When a rapist commits rape, he just thinks of his pleasure. But we cannot feel the pain the girl/woman went through. It’s a mental disease that a victim thinks that the rapist deserves death. No. He deserves a much more severe punishment which won’t let him forget what the victim went through or is still going through. When you are giving a person/set of persons punishment in the form of death penalty, then you are giving him/her/them, a punishment which will make them free of any punishment!”

“Justice at last”

According to 20-year-old law student Shachi Mittal, “Nothing can be done to take it all back, but the decision by the Supreme Court is laudable. It has instilled some faith in me for our judicial system, that it will not let rapists, killers and psychopaths destroy the lives and psyche of entire generations. While a lot of people may cry about the decision being inhumane, I believe in retributive justice, I believe in example-setting.” (via quora)

“They deserve a far more painful death”

Suryaprakashsarma Perepa, a 28-year-old manager believes that the punishment should be more severe and extreme, “The punishment for rape should not be death sentence. (The accused) are escaping from this world without being actually punished. They should be kept in a hole until death. They should get a punishment like burning alive inch by inch day after a day until they die at the age of 60. They should cry for every moment for what they have done to this society and to our country by destroying its name and credibility for women’s safety.” (via quora)

“Two words: solitary confinement”

Humerah Inamdar, 30-year-old dentist, believes, “The worst kind of punishment is not having any other human being to interact with. It can drive anybody crazy, and given time, it is probably the worst kind of torture there is. This is exactly what all rapists deserve–irrespective of their victims surviving or not.”

“The juvenile needs to be punished too”

Lubna Shaikh, 25-year-old software engineer makes a valid point, “I fail to comprehend how his act is going to change with age? A rapist at 16 will continue to be a rapist at 18. The same punishment ought to be meted out to him; his being a year younger definitely does not magically transform the heinous rape into a petty theft. He does not deserve a second chance. Remand home, counselling, none of this can reform such a monster.”

She adds, “As for lifetime imprisonment being preferred over capital punishment, are we certain these creatures will be safely held till they die? What if they make it out? Or are let go? Isn’t it safer to wipe them out to ensure they no longer pollute society? Doesn’t capital punishment at the very least achieve that they do not repeat their crime? I agree it does nothing to ‘reform’ them, or lower the probability of others sinning as they sinned, but that is a much larger question, of reforming a damaged society and its damaged mindset, which we really ought not to even hope to resolve so simplistically.”

“Punishment is fine, but what about awareness?”

Haroon Rashid, 24-year-old IAS aspirant says, “According to the legal set up of our country, capital punishment or death penalty is taken into consideration after that crime has been done, after a life is ruined. Crime like rape are being heard everyday be it in courts or newspapers, but the fact is they are just heard and only few get justice. And there is no ensuring that justice will be served to every case. Rape is the biggest crime and sin against humanity which I see and I am sure it is the same in your eyes too. But what about molestation or eve teasing? Is there no punishment for such things?
Why don’t we stand up and make our brothers aware that females are not objects that can be manhandled or objectified; they are human beings just as we males are? We all should take initiatives irrespective of our professions and make everyone in the society aware about why we should respect females in such a way that cowards do not even think of such sins and crimes. And then even molestation and eve teasing will be reduced.

As for me, I am pretty satisfied with the Supreme Court’s decision as they are fulfilling her dying wish: “They should be hanged to death or burnt alive.” If only the juvenile was given the same punishment! The death penalty won’t bring her back, but it will instil fear in the minds of monsters who commit crimes against women in India. It will make her rapists feel at least some of the unspeakable agony they inflicted upon her, if only momentarily. And in their pain lies some semblance of justice for Nirbhaya and her loved ones.

What’s your take on the SC verdict? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar




Mahevash Shaikh is the twenty-something author of Busting Clichés. She loves to write, draw and laugh (among other things). You can find her using words and pictures to express herself and redefine the word "normal" at

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