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Hangings could have been prevented: Karunanidhi

February 18, 2013 18:33 IST

Renewing his demand for abolishing death penalty, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M Karunanidhi on Monday said the hangings being implemented now could have been prevented had the demand to do away with this sentence been given due consideration.

He recalled that former Supreme Court judge V R Krishna Iyer had strongly pitched for doing away with the death penalty in India and that 90 per cent of countries in the world had abolished it.

"In today's situation, the Centre, legal experts and courts should ponder over this and seriously consider recommending removing hanging from the law books in the interest of human rights and humanity," he said in a letter to partymen.

"Had this opinion (of abolition of death penalty), which is being stressed for a long time given due consideration, death penalties which are continuously being implemented now could have been prevented," he said.

Karunanidhi said 26/11 Mumbai attacks convict Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru were hanged by the government in recent months even as four aides of slain sandalwood smuggler Veerappan whose mercy petitions were rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee, have moved the Supreme Court.

The apex court on Monday stayed till further orders the execution of death sentence of the four, who were awarded capital punishment in 2004 for a landmine blast in Karnataka that left 22 police personnel dead.

Holding that the families of the death row convicts had claimed them to be innocent, the DMK chief said the plea for a CBI investigation into the matter "cannot be ignored".

"Those in power should realise that while the culprits could escape (the law), the innocent should not be punished," he said.

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