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Finally, gallows for Kasab

31 Aug. 2012 12:51 AM IST

As the clock struck 10.30 on Wednesday morning, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court announced its verdict to uphold capital punishment awarded to Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving Jihadi in the team of the 10 Pakistani fidayeen who had carried out the 26/11 Mumbai attack. The death sentence awarded by the trial court was earlier confirmed by the High Court. Kasab had challenged the ‘award’ and pleaded for converting the death sentence into life imprisonment with the Supreme Court. He lost both the cases.
The mayhem perpetrated by Kasab and nine other fidayeen for three days and nights led to the killing of 166 persons, including US and Israeli citizens and injured 238 people. They sailed to Mumbai in two hijacked vessels to target the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Oberoi Trident Hotel and Nariman House. The very technology that brought these jihadis to Indian shores proved Kasab’s undoing. He was captured on CCTV when he unleashed mayhem at the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji railway terminus along with fellow terrorist Ismail Khan.
Justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad, who heard the case, said that the court was “left with no option but to uphold the sentence” because the primary offence that Kasab was charged with was waging war against India.
The apex court’s order has come in less than a year after the Bombay High Court agreed with the trial court that the case against Kasab fell in the rarest of rare category. It thus completed the third and final scrutiny of the case. That sets aside all the doubts that may have been lurking in the minds of some, ever since the trial began in 2008. And demonstrated the supremacy of law in this country
The verdict has two distinct messages. One waging a war against the state is a crime that deserves death punishment and nothing less.
Two, whatever the provocation and whoever the victim and the culprits are, the rule of law will always prevail. An opportunity for fair trail will always be given to everyone. This has been proved at several occasions earlier also including when the killers of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi were put on trial. India has thus reason to feel proud of its deep rooted democracy which is the real source of its strength.
Islamabad has been denouncing the 26/11 incident but most of it clearly is for public consumption and to be on the right side of the international opinion which has found Pakistan guilty of perpetuating terror attacks against India. Practically, it has been doing pretty little to get the accused convicted. Islamabad initially even refused to accept that the attackers were Pakistani nationals and that the attack had been worked out and executed from Pakistani soil, until its own media came down heavily on the government and exposed the truth.
Now it is time for Pakistan to expedite the trail against the other accused held by it and stop asking for more and more proof. One of these worthies, indeed the master mind of 26/11, Hafiz Sayeed, is roaming freely in Pakistan and spewing venom against India. Without much fuss, Pakistan should cooperate with India in right earnest to bring Hafeez and his ilk to book and pave the way for better bilateral relations between the two neighbours, who share not only common history but culture and civilization as well.
By now it ought to have been clear to Pakistan that sponsoring terror is no way to deal with issues. At the end of the day, terrorists turn to the sponsor once they taste blood and eat the very hand that feeds them. Unfortunately, it has taken Pakistan so long to understand this basic truth. But then it is never too late in the day to mend if it is for a right cause.
As far as India is concerned, the need now is that it should speedily execute the verdict to send a signal that law does not spare anyone found guilty of a serious crime. It should, under no circumstances, allow deferment of the execution of the verdict for one reason or the other and let the political overtones overtake the normal judicial process as has happened in so many other cases. If that happened it will be another unfortunate day in the country’s history.
(Syndicate Features). The author is Delhi based freelance writer.

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Ashok Handoo