Morally Dissecting ‘The Butcher Of Delhi’?

The most thought-provoking part of ‘Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi’ is this mentioned by Deepak Sharma, who was the defence lawyer of Chandrakant Jha, the titular serial killer – ‘Chandrakant once “quoted”, that the Bhagavad Gita “says” that it is not a sin to kill a bad person, and hence, some of our wrongdoings aren’t really wrong… Maybe he said that simply because he wanted to justify his actions. Because even as the prosecution, [it was said that] the people who were murdered weren’t good people either. Someone was stealing things. Someone was a womaniser… Maybe such behaviour offended him a lot… Maybe he accepts his faults, but he never admitted to his mistakes… It’s morally not correct to be so rigid, but Chandrakant had extreme values. He was very stubborn and quite the extremist.’

Most, if not all world religions, would agree that killing another human is extremely ‘sinful’, a major moral transgression. Again, most, if not all would agree that the only reason to kill is if the one ‘to be killed’ is extremely ‘sinful’, and unrepentantly perpetuates much extreme suffering, such as by killing, so much so that it would instead be wrong to not kill this person – if reformation is not an option. Ironically, the self-justified killer almost fits this description. Although given the death sentence, it was later commuted to a life sentence. If the ones killed ‘only’ made the above mistakes, was there not literal ‘overkilling’? Merciless as he was when killing, he was given mercy, with his own life not killed, while the world awaits his clear repentance. Without this, is he not still potentially dangerous to others and himself?

Those who cling to their self-righteousness surely find it hard to see that it is not true righteousness. Only by stepping back to reflect will they realise that a world full of self-righteous ones who punish one another at will according to their arbitrary moral yardsticks will be hell. In Buddhism, it is clear that our common enemies are not one another, morally flawed as we might be. Our common enemies are the three poisons of greed, hatred and delusion, that make us morally flawed. What we need to ‘kill’ or purge are these poisons; not one another. Kill the poisons; not the poisoned. If not, we would be killing one another, which increases the poisons of hatred and delusion! We should first check ourselves mindfully, and give reasonable leeway to others with skilful reminders. After all, who is not already poisoned?

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