NEW DELHI, June 3 � The campaign to commute Manhendra Nath Das�s death penalty has gathered momentum, with Amnesty International and other human right bodies lodging strong protests.
Urging that the death sentence of Mahendra Nath Das be commuted; Amnesty International said �while it acknowedged the seriousness of the crime for which Mahendra Nath Das has been convicted, it reiterated the call of the UN General Assembly to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
It pointed out that India�s decision to resume executions after a seven-year hiatus goes against regional and global trends towards abolition of the death penalty
Amnesty International is concerned that the eleven-year delay in announcing the verdict of the mercy petition and the resultant prolonged stay on death row may amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, particularly since prison conditions in Assam are poor.
Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PVDR) urges the Union Government to commute the death sentence awarded to Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar as well as Mahendra Nath Das.
While individual circumstances of the case would bring out mitigating factors there is an issue of miscarriage of justice because their execution would violate the principle of jurisprudence, which lays down that a person cannot be convicted be punished twice for the same crime. Mahendra Nath Das have served more than 15 years in jail.
To carry out their execution now when they have already lived under the threat of execution for all these years surely behoves a re-consideration because execution of their death sentence would mean that they suffer twice over.
PUDR therefore, appeal to all those who believe that death sentence is an abomination which has outlived its utility, to petition the Government to commute their sentence.
Mahendra Nath Das was sentenced to death in August 1997 for a murder in Guwahati, Assam in 1996. His mercy petition was rejected by the President of India in May, following the advice of the Government of India.