July 30, 2015 By Shameer KS

The Bloody Cost of Placating Collective Conscience


Yaqoob Memon, days after uncertainty over whether he would (should) be executed or not, was hanged in Nagpur Prison in today morning. For a few days, a petition signed by activists, lawyers, politicians, writers, filmmakers etc. requiring the President to show mercy for Memon, has clogged the limelight. A curative petition filed by Memon, which was the last legal remedy to avoid execution, was summarily rejected by the Supreme Court, thereby not voiding the rejection by the President of India of the mercy petition filed by his brother on his behalf last year.

Yaqoob was arrested in connection with a series of 13 explosions resulting in the death of 257 people and injuries to 713 others. There was criticism from several quarters, including that of film actor Salman Khan, regarding the phony nature of Memon’s implication in the case and regarding the passing of responsibility from the shoulder of his brother Tiger Memon, an accused in the case, to his. There are other arguments, including that of former R&AW officer, B Raman, who played a major role in the case, about not considering the mitigating circumstances that would have avoided the hanging.

As regards all terrorism cases in India, including the one which led to the execution of Afzal Guru in 2013, there have been a plethora of media trails in the case which precluded people from going into the gaps of the police version of his arrest and culpability. The trails were by and large influenced by fictionalized accounts of Mumabi blast, against whose grain the counter arguments including those of Hussain Zaidi’s Black Friday – The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts as well as Anurag Kahyap’s film adaptation of the book are suppressed and unheard.

Media trails, as well as propaganda by the state machinery, which want to sweep uncertainties, skepticism and doubts regarding the case under the carpet of a high-profile execution have set a false consciousness glamorously identified as collective conscience in the public space. It is to placate this false consciousness that Yaqoob Memon was executed just as Afzal Guru had been two years ago.


Posted in: Articles