A lot of people in India especially the English Language Media are demanding to know why the Rajoana, Beant Singh’s assassins’s partner in crime, is not going to be executed on the 31st. They are demanding to know whether as per the sentence given would he be executed and if not is it because of politics of a particular state ?

I would like them to go nearly a century back in world history to the 1916 Easter uprising in Dublin. Till then a lot of Irish Catholics did not support the IRA. Most of the Irish Catholics supported the British State in the sense they wanted home rule with loose connections to London similar to the relationship which Australia, NZ, Canada had with the U.K. They supported the British Army as a lot of their brothers and sons were dying on the battlefields of France and Belgium for Queen and Country. So what changed their opinion ? After the uprising was put down a lot of Catholics still felt that the IRA were bunch of idiots raking up trouble when there was a World War on. However they started the process of changing their opinion within hours when the ringleaders were executed by firing squad. This was then exploited by the Republicans to generate more support for the Irish Republic.

So what does the Irish/British experience have to do with India ? Well if you inflame passions in Punjab by hanging Rajoana, or in Kashmir by hanging Afzal Guru you will give political space to the opponents of the Indian Union to exploit people’s opinion on such an issue and heighten a chance of further rebellion in these states. Thus if you want to preserve the Union of India in the long run you must pray that the government does not hang this lot.

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