The headline on the front page of Times of India of 22 November 2012 screamed:
A Puppet’s Life Ends on a String
The Puppet? Ajmal Amir Kasab.
Kasab together with 09 other terrorists, entered the city of Mumbai stealthily by sea on the night of 26 November 2008.
All but Kasab were killed in the combat, but not before a great havoc was raged in the city killing hundreds of Indians and foreign nationals. This drama unfolded over 3 chaotic days at 11 different locations killing 164 people and wounding around 300 people.
The lone terrorist captured alive was Ajmal Kasab, who later confessed that the attacks were carried out with the support of Pakistan’s ISI.
You all must know about this already. And by now, you would also know that Kasab was hanged to death on 21 November 2012.
People celebrated his execution. Many found closure to their misery in his death. Others felt that the ends of justice was met by giving him the death penalty.
There is no doubt about the enormity of Kasab’s crime. Terrorism in any form and directed at any country/people is unacceptable and a blot to humanity. Killing in the name of religion or God is undoubtedly heinous and barbaric.
But does such a crime call for commitment of another vengeful crime like capital punishment? Killing another human being in the name of punishment, does that sound like justice?
I am in no way defending Kasab or justifying his acts. The gross misery and pain that he brought upon the victims and their families cannot be compensated by any means. And the fact that he showed no remorse until the fag-end perhaps even endorses the fact that he did not deserve to live a normal human life.
But at the bottom of it all, he was a misguided youth, who got no opportunity for an education or to live life with dignity. His vulnerable mind succumbed to the thorough and fanatical brainwashing lured by promises of wealth and better life. Worst is, the country, the land, the people he fought and died for, didn’t even acknowledge his being, didn’t mourn his death and didn’t even bother to give him a burial. Such misplaced loyalties! And what a waste of God-given life!
Yes, he had the choice to understand and stand for what’s right. Take the hard way and live a moral life. But truth be told, how many of us really take the hard way in life? The choices we make in our ordinary lives are not comparable to what Kasab chose to do. But in the end, it’s all about choices.
Kasab (and many like him) made a very bad choice and he did not deserve to live a free man. But death by hanging?
No matter how much we approve the theory of an eye for an eye, to actually think that someone is gassed or electrocuted alive or hanged still gives me the creeps. Its unthinkable. Violence begets violence. Such vengeful acts can only perpetuate more vengeance, which is evident from today’s newspaper headlines:
Pakistan Taliban vow to attack Indian targets to avenge the killing of Ajmal Kasab
Capital Punishment can eliminate a criminal and may satisfy the sentiments of the victim but it cannot make good the loss to the sufferer.
Keep the captured terrorists in hard labour and maximum security prisons until they die a natural death. But kill them in the name of justice????
In closing, I would like to quote from an Indian actor, Ashish Chowdhry, who lost his sister and brother-in-law in the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai (as told to Bombay Times, TOI 22 NOV 12)
While many are rejoicing, Ashish states, “I cannot rejoice Kasab’s death. I don’t see any point in rejoicing anybody’s death. Justice is done to a small part of a huge problem. I’m a father, I don’t want to set that as an example for my children. I will rejoice when killing in the name of God stops. Kasab was once an innocent child, like my son. Unfortunately, he was born around wrong people and wrong teachings. He was taught to hate. No one’s born bad. He didn’t plan his future. He was told, if he kills people, God will be happy! He didn’t have an easy life.
These fanatics who teach people to kill in the name of God must be stopped. My sister or jiju are not smiling today. If one Kasab is hung after four years, hundreds are being produced in those many years. I feel sad for such children.
Kasab’s death is not a closure for me. Closure for me will be when a group of people come together and say God is one.