Ajmal Kasab’s Execution

“Allah kasam, dobara aisi galti nahin karoonga.”

Those were Ajmal Kasab’s last words before he was executed at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday in Pune’s Yerwada Jail. His body was buried immediately after.

Kasab was the sole terrorist who was captured out of the ten that led the horrific 26/11 bomb blasts in Mumbai in 2008. Incendiaries from terrorist outfit Lakshar-e-Taiba (LeT) attacked busy locations in Mumbai. They hijacked locations, held hostages, blasted empty rooms and shot randomly at the crowd. The idea was to injure whoever they could, with the sole motive of spreading fear and terror.

It was a suicide mission, but the extremists didn’t care. They considered themselves to be “soldiers fighting for their country”. The nine who died were proud of themselves. It’s one of the best examples of patriotism reaching a point of fanaticism.

They started by attacking the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a railway station in Mumbai. This is where Kasab was caught on a CCTV camera, along with another terrorist identified as Ismail Khan. The two were headed towards their next location.

It shames me to say that they passed by a police station where the police turned off the lights, bolted the doors and did nothing out of fear. A round of applause for them, ladies and gentlemen.

Thankfully, the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad stepped in, killed Khan and captured Kasab. However, these were only two of ten attackers.

The rest of them simultaneously carried out the attacks. They took place mainly at the Taj Mahal Palace, the Oberoi Trident and the Nariman House Jewish community center. These were the places where the firing lasted the longest.

Leopold Café, Cama Hospital (a hospital for women and children), the Metro Cinema, St. Xavier’s College and a lane behind the Times of India building were also fired at. As if this wasn’t enough, there was also an explosion at Mazegaon in Mumbai’s port area, and in a taxi at Ville Parle. Don’t forget the first attack at the railway station, of course.

Action was slowly taken and the Mumbai Police and security forces secured all sites by early morning on 28th November, and the National Security Guard (NSG) stepped in on the 29thand killed all of Kasab’s remaining companions in “Operation Black Tornado”.  The hostages were rescued.

It was a horrible, horrible event and only eyewitness accounts can explain in detail how gruesome it really was. Ten atankwadis, terrorists, entered the country and spread mayhem. They supposedly killed approximately 156 and injured more than 308 people. Of these atankwadis, there was only one left alive, and it was through him that we managed to get the information that we do know.

Let’s continue with Kasab’s story.

Two-three days after he was captured, he confessed his involvement in the attacks. According to Indian law, an individual is innocent until proven guilty and he or she has full right to fight for their case, irrespective of how hopeless it may be.

So, for four years, Kasab fought in court.

The prosecution charged him on 312 counts at first but later when the charges were framed they were reduced to 86 and he denied all of them. However, by July 20, 2009, Kasab had pleaded guilty.  The case continued to be fought over the years. All the courts he approached sentenced him to death. When the Supreme Court denied his mercy plea, Kasab approached the President of India – Mr. Pranab Mukherjee.

In an act applauded by the entire country – even the opposition party, BJP – the President refused his mercy plea. Thus, in a commendably secret operation – “Operation X.X” – Ajmal Amir Kasab was sentenced to death.

Escorted by jawans, soldiers, handpicked from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police in a bulletproof vehicle, he was moved out of Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail at 1.30 a.m. on November 20, 2012 and driven to Yerwada Jail. A very small number of people knew that Kasab was to be executed. He himself was not one of them. Even his hangman had no idea who he was about to sentence to death until he saw him walking towards the gallows.

After the execution, security was heightened at border areas to prevent terrorist attacks, and thank god for that; as it is, the Taliban has promised to avenge Kasab’s death.

The government took a step in the right direction here by refusing his mercy plea. Hopefully, they’ll keep doing well by getting a hold on terrorist activity.

Now, we don’t want to be let down, especially since for the first time, almost the whole country has come together and has had something good to say about its leaders.

I say “almost” because there are still a few people who are naïve enough to draw parallels between the secretive hanging of Bhagat Singh and Ajmal Kasab, and I would like to beseech them to listen to common sense and reason.

The secrecy with which “Operation X.X” took place deserves to be applauded. For a minute, try to imagine the kind of terrorist outrage that would have been incited if the death sentence were made public. Think about what would happen if the government did let us down. Think about the kind of violence that would take place – again. And think about how appalling it would be if some terrorist organization decided to rescue Kasab and had succeeded.

Thank you very much, but going public would have been a bad idea. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

As for Pakistan’s reaction, they have basically accepted the news quietly and prevented their news channels from broadcasting the news of the execution too much. All that the Pakistan government had to say was that they respect India’s judicial process, and that India completed its duty by informing them of their action. They’ve tried to not ignite resentment. It’s a smart move, considering the kind of mindset people have. The following series of comments should illustrate them to you.

“To die like Kasab is the dream of every fighter,” says a senior LeT commander.

Right. A “fighter”.

Taliban spokesman Ihsan Ullah Ihsan said, “There is no doubt that it’s very shocking news and a big loss that a Muslim has been hanged on Indian soil.”

Dragging religion into this? Seriously? Does someone like Kasab deserve to be spared just because it would hurt religious sentiments to execute a Muslim? Never mind the fact that he was part of the destruction of property and the cause of hundreds of injuries and deaths. He’s Muslim. How could we kill him?

“Even if he did something wrong, we just want his body. Even if he did something wrong, I am proud that he taught the enemy a lesson in their own country.”

Those are the words of Kasab’s aunt, and she probably isn’t the only Pakistani who thinks of India as the enemy. The same sentiment applies to many Indians as well.

What can I say? We all really need to grow up, especially the so-called “grown-ups”.

India and Pakistan are not enemies; it was just a freaking divide and rule tactic played by the British ages ago, which is still working so well. Each and every citizen of these countries needs to remember that they have the same blood coursing through their veins, and that somewhere or the other, their ancestral lineage intertwines, because this was one country once upon a time.

And really, what’s with the religious nonsense? I hope nobody falls for it, because it’s a comment trying to spark of more chaos. The execution of Kasab has nothing to do with his religion, it’s about punishing him for ruthlessly taking the lives of who knows how many men, women and children, ironically because of the very mindset I’m talking about here.

Brainwashed or not, a wrongdoer is a wrongdoer. Finally, justice has been delivered to a certain extent. “A certain extent” because for someone who lost a loved one, there really is nothing that could make for a  fair bargain, but yes, punishing one of the people who caused such misery does make it a little better. Just a little.

This incident has shown that India WILL be tough in matters of security and crime. We will NOT stand people randomly attacking us and the severest of actions will be taken against them. Agreed, we might have violated the international trend of abolishing the death penalty, but even so, it’s a move that shows that India is intolerant of terrorist attacks and will not let anyone get off easy. We need to show the world that we’re tough.

However, at the same time, we must be careful to not cross over to the other extreme. Death is death, even if it’s the death of a gunman. It does not deserve to be celebrated. Bursting firecrackers and actually celebrating an event like this is sickening on the part of Indians.

Actor Ashish Chowdhry tweeted, “I will NOT teach my children to rejoice anyone’s death; be it Kasab. They will learn to be non-vindictive, non-fanatical and will love all. [sic]”

Despite losing a sister and a brother-in-law to the 26/11 attacks, he understands that celebrating somebody’s death goes against moral values and decency, and that’s respectable.

Admittedly, the right thing was done, but it’s wrong to make merry over it. As I said before, death is death.

Quit partying over someone’s demise. He may have been a criminal, but someone is in pain because he died.

I’m not asking you to mourn his death.

I don’t expect anyone to feel bad for him.

But it’s still unethical, immoral and absolutely revolting to revel in someone’s death, even if it is Ajmal Amir Kasab.

It’s disgraceful. It’s disgusting. It’s un-Indian.

Sanya Sharma

Image Source [http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_P350-OzNfgU/SwjjSGmm_5I/AAAAAAAABdE/01xdAv3KG5A/s1600/DSC_0037.jpg]