Friday, June 14, 2024

Kasab Hanged


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It is a pity that the government took four years to execute Ajmal Kasab, one of the villains who perpetrated the 26/11 Mumbai massacre. His trial followed due process of law. He was charged with murder and waging war against India. The case took a full year in the special court. Of course, his statements contradicted one another. After the trial court’s verdict in May 2010, Kasab appealed to the Bombay High Court which upheld the death sentence on him in 2011. The case then went to the Supreme Court which stayed the High Court order and re-examined it until August 29 this year. Kasab’s death sentence was finally confirmed by the apex court. He appealed to the President for clemency. On November 5, the appeal was rejected and two weeks later he was executed. The case was decidedly politically charged. The government and the Opposition were equally to blame. It seemed that the authorities were keen on appeasing terrorists which exposed their warped priorities. The timing of the execution now seems to be politically expedient for a government in crisis.

The next Parliamentary session will be stormy. Elections are at hand in Gujarat. In any case it should not be forgotten that Kasab was only one of the perpetrators of the heinous crime in Mumbai. At the same time, jingoistic reaction to the execution should not be defended. Gandhian activist Anna Hazare has regretted that Kasab was not publicly hanged. It may be considered an overreaction. This is not an occasion for wreaking vengeance or politicizing the matter. Capital punishment should in general be avoided. But, in such a case, there cannot be any alternative. It is good that the subtle points of law had been duly taken care of in the proceedings against Ajmal Kasab. Still, law’s delay is highly regrettable and one wishes Kasab met his fate much earlier.


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