Jagdish Muni, Head of Sant Mandal Ashram, in an Oct./Nov./Dec. 2006 article "Capital Punishment: Time to Abandon It?" published in Hinduism Today, stated:
"The scriptures speak both for and against the system of capital
punishment. The scriptures give the ruler or the government the power to use
capital punishment. However, the saints and mahatmas do not believe in capital
punishment. They believe in reforming people. There are a large number of
instances in which saints have reformed criminals, in some cases so much so
that the reformed people themselves became saints."
Parmatmananda Saraswati, Co-ordinator of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, in an Oct./Nov./Dec. 2006 article "Capital Punishment: Time to Abandon It?" published in Hinduism Today, stated:
"Capital punishment is allowed under Hindu tradition. Lord Rama is the embodiment of dharma, yet he killed King Bali, who had stolen his own brother's wife... Sometimes I feel that the crimes today are even more heinous than in the past. Hence capital punishment, if sanctioned by the scriptures, should continue."
The Vishnu Smriti, an ancient law book of the Hindus, as translated by Julius Jolly and printed in 1880 as the seventh volume of the Sacred Books of the East collection, stated:
"Great criminals should all be put to death... Let the king put to death those who forge royal edicts; And those who forge (private) documents; Likewise poisoners, incendiaries, robbers, and killers of women, children, or men..."
Samvidananda Saraswati, Head of Kailash Ashram, in an Oct./Nov./Dec. 2006 article "Capital Punishment: Time to Abandon It?" published in Hinduism Today, stated:
"Hinduism is full of compassion and forgiveness. Leave aside human
beings, we are supposed to be kind even to insects and animals. We are not
supposed to kill a small insect. Therefore, taking the life of a human being is
a very big issue for us. Our Hindu dharma is very clear that use of violence
against anyone is not allowed. Any other type of punishment may be given, but
we should not take anyone's life. Our scriptures and Vedas do not favor capital
punishment. They advocate the principle of nonviolence."
T. Kumar, LLM, Amnesty International USA's Advocacy Director for Asia and the Pacific and a practicing Hindu, in an Oct. 12, 2002 interview for Amnesty International's Faith in Action Online Event, stated:
"[S]ince the faith basically revolves around non-violence and no revenge, as well as not hurting any living organs including...eggs, or fish or meat eating because it hurts. You have to kill something to consume your food habits, so even that has been prohibited. So, from that perspective, Hindus can safely assume that the Hindu religion opposes death penalty in a very fundamental way...
[S]ince we are not an organized religion, there is no hierarchical power to tell [that] this is right or this is wrong. We have to find every Hindu to stand up and say this is wrong, we are opposed to death penalty."
Mahatma Gandhi, LLB, former Indian religious and political leader, in an Oct. 16, 1916 letter in the Modern Review on the topic of Ahimsa, a Hindu philosophy of non violence, wrote:
"By birth I am a Vaishnavite [a follower of Vishnu], and was taught Ahimsa in my childhood ... In its negative form, it [Ahimsa] means not injuring any living being, whether by body or mind. I may not therefore hurt the person of any wrong-doer, or bear any ill will to him and so cause him mental suffering."