On Kasab’s death penalty

Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor among the terrorists who unleashed mayhem upon Mumbai, has been given the death penalty. Well, to be precise, his death penalty has been upheld, rejecting his appeal against it.

Confirming the death sentence, the top court observed that the primary and foremost offence that Kasab was charged with was waging war against India and “We are left with no option, but to uphold the sentence.” It also observed that it was, “Crystal clear that the conspiracy was hatched by Pakistanis.”

I suppose this brings a sense of closure, if that is possible, in the Indian psyche as a whole and the victims’ families in particular. Mumbai 26/11 was a terrible tragedy, and it remains unforgivable, notwithstanding today’s verdict.

Other than that, what does the verdict achieve, though? Kasab was very much the ‘small fry’, paid to go in with a gun and fire randomly. The people who did the plotting and scheming and ran the operation sit in comfort—perhaps even hatching and plotting the next unforgivable mission, and selecting the next batch of Kasabs to do their bidding.

I suppose I should be glad, happy, whatever else, that the Kasab saga has drawn to a close. But I’m not. Because the mindless violence doesn’t stop with Kasab. It never began with him; the people who began it and ran it continue to have safe haven, and the violence won’t stop until they are hunted down.

Getting back to the Kasab verdict, two quotes from the news report:

Even as Kasab’s trial has continued, the cost of keeping him alive has been a huge burden on the state exchequer. While the Government has spent over Rs. 5 crores on his high security cell at Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail, his security, entrusted to the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), has cost the state over Rs. 19 crores [1 crore = 10 million].


Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who had been appointed amicus curiae by the Supreme Court to defend Kasab, said after the verdict, “I bow to the verdict of the court. As amicus curiae I was given full opportunity to say all that I could in his defence. Let us take pride in our judicial system which adheres to due process, whoever be the accused and whatever be the crime.”

I agree completely with Mr. Ramachandran. The millions spent on Kasab—worth every penny. His own diligence in defending him—perfect. We have a judicial system—albeit a very imperfect one—but this is the way to show that we adhere to it.

And to show that we treat our prisoners well—even the ones we know have massacred many of us.

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