In what many would deem a huge foot-in-mouth moment by the Union Minister in Narendra Modi’s cabinet, Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday questioned if Muslims wanted reservation even in hanging.
Commenting on the 1993 Bombay blasts convict Yakub Memon’s hanging last week, Naidu said, “Do they (Muslims) want reservation in hanging(too).”
He told reports, “Some people on the day (APJ Abdul) Kalam was buried, were giving more attention to another case. Then some in the media gave numbers of who was hanged as per community figures.”
He didn’t stop here and continued with his tirade against what he called was a certain community,
“If the facts are made known, people talking about this would be silenced. In the recent past 36 people were hanged. Maqbool Bhatt, Afzal Guru, Kasab and Yakub Memon. All others are there, I don’t want to name the community. Till today full facts have come – since independence how many people have been hanged… Do you want reservation in hanging also? I’m not able to understand.”
Memon’s hanging last week for his involvement in 1993 Bombay blasts had sharply divided opinion in India, with many questioning the rationale of his death sentence.
Many eminent jurists and the members of civil society had urged the president to stop Memon’s hanging. BJP’s own MP, Varun Gandhi, too had questioned the relevance of death penalty. Then there were those, who argued that Yakub, conspirator hardly deserved death sentence and it was his brother Tiger Memon, who should have gone to the gallows.
Tiger along with Dawood Ibrahim are currently believed to be living in Pakistan.
Soon after Yakub’s hanging, a Supreme Court Deputy Registrar had resigned while attacking the judgment paving the way for the hanging of 1993 Mumbai blasts accused Yakub Memon.
Prof. Anup Surendranath, Deputy Registrar (Research) said the two decisions within a span of hours and the unprecedented session of Supreme Court being called before dawn signalled ‘judicial abdication’ and the “darkest hours” of the apex court.