Hang Kasab Till Death

As I went through the shocking footages of the hotel cameras which reveal what went on inside the Taj on 26/11 (made public now for the first time as an exclusive by The Sunday Indian – read the cover story that follows), my blood boils once again in rage. Rage against Pakistan, rage against our spineless government which allowed it to happen and though there can be no justice at all for what happened, I demand that Kasab be hanged immediately.

I fail to understand what more does the Government of India need to punish Ajmal Kasab, who was caught red handed, causing mayhem in Mumbai on 26th of November 2008. More so, at a point in time where across the globe, governments have a zero tolerance policy towards terrorism! Such is the extent of intolerance that if on one extreme, the United States of America, under the guise of global terrorism, carried on their hidden agendas and devastated Afghanistan and Iraq, then on the other, Israel, without batting an eyelid, launches its offensive on the least instigation from Palestine. Why go so far? Look what the Sri Lankan government did to LTTE – an outfit which had earned the reputation of being the most dangerous terrorist outfit in the world was uprooted in a matter of days! And here, first we allow Ajmal Kasab and nine others to reach the shores of our country freely, we also allow them to mercilessly take invaluable innocent lives and destroy valuable property, we manage to kill nine of them, finally catch one of them and then keep him guarded for 646 days, without any punishment for reason that fails any sane mind! Specially as the memories of that unfortunate day gets revised through the following pages.

For the records, Ajmal Kasab’s trial ‘officially’ began on the April 15, 2009 and the final verdict is tentatively slated to be announced on February 21, 2011 - a total of 646 days. And mind you, if at all the verdict is passed, about which I have my doubts! What is most insane is that unlike other nations, where in similar cases no one bothers about witnesses or evidences and verdicts are straightaway passed with no consideration whatsoever, in our case, not only did we have enough evidence including the CCTV footages that caught Kasab live in action and live telecast of his movement across all news channels, but Kasab himself accepted all the charges brought against him in the court - and yet the Indian government chose to run a trial on him, instead of hanging him straight!! Furthermore, we have all circumstantial and forensic evidences to prove the same. Yet the Indian government manages to let him go unpunished for all these days!! And like every Indian, I ask: for what has he been kept alive? Is it to make his defence lawyer the most sought-after criminal lawyer of India? Or is it to create a poster boy image out of Kasab? And if this is the intention of the Indian government, then I must say that they have been fairly successful!!! Otherwise, where else on the earth does a terrorist, who shot down 166 innocent people and was part of a full-fledged terror attack plot against the Republic of India, not only go unpunished till date but is being served mutton biryani, is given access to newspaper and is provided with his choice of clothing - the latest fetish being wearing a Kurta Payjama. And mind you, it is from the same government who serves other inmates sub-standard food, two sets of black and white striped dresses and dump them in the middle of most inhumane conditions and that too on account of petty crimes! Also not to forget, that it is the same government, who in the name of bullet-proof jackets, served death coffins to its forces, which went on to kill one of the few capable police officers in the same attack!

Honestly, keeping Kasab alive speaks volumes about the indecisive and spineless attitude of our government. And it is not that our government has proven this just to its own citizens. The message has, more dangerously, been conveyed to various terrorist outfits who, by now, know very well that the Indian Government does not have any spine, no matter what they do! And what is worse is that by keeping Kasab alive, the Indian Government has potentially increased the probability of another 26/11, or another IC-814 horror! With all my intention of reiterating, it was again owing to the let-go attitude of Indian Government that the Indian Airlines Airbus A300, en route to Indira Gandhi International Airport from Tribhuvan International Airport on December 24 of 1999, was hijacked to Kandahar with 178 people on board. That hijacking led to the release of terrorists like Maulana Masood Azhar (played an active role in the 2001 Indian Parliament attack and later was part of the 26/11 plot), Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh (who went on to murder Daniel Pearl) and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar (upon release, he started recruiting and training terrorists in Pakistan-administered Kashmir), in lieu of the hostages! Contrast this to what happened during the Moscow theatre hostage crisis, also known as the 2002 Nord-Ost siege! And the way the Russian government’s no nonsense attitude towards terrorist demands set an example in front of their countrymen! Same was the case with the 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis.

Keeping everything aside, it is needless to state that when it comes to national security, nothing else can be a priority for any government! But in this Kasab episode, it is also intriguing to analyse the economics of keeping Kasab alive for so long! It is estimated that the Maharashtra government has spent a whopping Rs 31 crore in the first one year of Kasab’s arrest. From creating a bullet-proof cell in the JJ Hospital premises (which was never used) to visits by around 24 doctors for his various ailments in the period of just one year - the Maharashtra government did it all! As if this was not enough, this celebrity-terrorist was provided with an imported van costing Rs 6 crore - which got stolen as soon as it reached India. Up and above all this, the Mumbaikars, who had already had enough on account of the 26/11 mayhem, had to bear the delay in newly proposed water pipelines near Arthur Road Jail, which cost BMC another Rs 12 crore while the re-routing of the monorail dented the government’s coffers by another Rs 44 crore – all this on account of security reasons! A back-of-the-envelope calculation indicates that around Rs 100 crore was spent in just one year on Kasab, who came in and destroyed public property worth Rs 41.72 crore! In short - Kasab made our government spend more than what he destroyed. In simple words, Kasab’s upkeep roughly equals to two 26/11s (and counting...)

In this entire Kasab saga which has gradually unfolded, it has been proven again that at best our government is good at condemning the assailants, facilitating the martyrs, compensating the victims, addressing the nation with a false hope and if by chance some terrorist gets arrested – holding him alive till another terror negotiation takes place. And if by chance the negotiation does not happen then there is red carpet waiting to be rolled out to join the Indian Parliament!!! It is just that Ajmal Kasab is from Pakistan. Otherwise, he had all requisite credentials to contest the next elections (just in case we are forgetting Abu Salem)!

I won't waste any more words. Just read the following pages and realise for yourself that a verdict to hang Kasab is the least we can do for those who lost their lives during 26/11. On February 21st the verdict must be “Hang Kasab till death”.

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