The 'Stained' case

I am against capital punishment, so the Supreme Court's verdict of a life sentence to Dara Singh and his accomplice Mahendra Hembram felt right. 12 years ago they had killed the Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons, 10-year-old Philip and Timothy, six.

However, I do not like the tone of the judgement:

The bench said the Orissa HC was justified in awarding a life term to Singh and Hembram as the crime was committed in passion, to teach Staines a lesson for his alleged attempts to convert tribals.

“Though Graham Staines and his two minor sons were burnt to death while they were sleeping inside a station wagon in Manoharpur, the intention was to teach a lesson to Graham Staines about his religious activities, namely, converting poor tribals to Christianity,” it said.

“All these aspects have been correctly appreciated by the high court and modified the sentence of death into life imprisonment with which we concur,” the bench said.

It seems like this action-reaction theory has gained ground in almost every sphere. I mean, will we condone anything done as an act of passion?
While condemning killings in the name of religion, the bench also expressed its disapproval of conversion. “It is undisputed that there is no justification for interfering in someone’s belief by way of ‘use of force’, provocation, conversion, incitement or upon a flawed premise that one religion is better than the other,” it said.
Is the highest judiciary in this land talking about brutal killing in terms of teaching a lesson? For religious activities? For conversions?

Has there been any evidence produced about forced conversions? Why are they not tried? Is it prudent for a judge to discuss whether anyone thinks their religion is better than another? Is that why conversions take place anyway? Wasn’t there talk earlier about tribals being bought or given sops?

If the judiciary is concerned about these matters, then nip them in the bud and deal with the issues faced by tribals.

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Updated January 24:

Received a mail from one of our friends here raising a point. Reproducing it and my reply to clarify things:

This is about your blogpost on the Staines judgement. While mostly in agreement with your blogpost this particular last line ("If the judiciary is concerned about these matters, then nip them in the bud and deal with the issues faced by tribals.") in the post left me a bit down.

"Real-Politik" apart, our Constitution guarantees freedom to choose religion. The court's congurent remarks in judgement may actually end up setting a precedent of courts being in judgement about citizen's freedom of choice in religious matters.
Interestingly enough , a section of press has started campaign to get the remarks expunged from Court's judgement. Read through more at : http://www.hindu.com/2011/01/23/stories/2011012357870100.htm

My reply:

I obviously did not mean to convey that the judiciary should intervene in a matter of choice, but I was just pushing the case for the courts to look into the real issues faced by tribals. 'Nip them in the bud' is if there are complaints of force used. It really is challenging the system that assumes such things.

Anyhow, thanks for pointing it out because I can see that it can be misconstrued, and will update it.