Kasab’s Last Performance

Operation X, the jaw dropping result of which surfaced on November 21, had been a two-month long, secret operation. The plan is practically responsible for the successful execution of Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only terrorist caught alive during the dreadful attacks on India’s financial capital, Mumbai, on November 26, 2008.

Thanks to the wisely planned operation by Indian authorities, the body of India’s most hated terrorist is now lying in an unmarked grave at Yerwada Central Jail in Pune.

The style of the plan of action has features that are quite uncharacteristic of Indian systems –successful accomplishment, swift decision by the President (he is apparently meant to only mellow out either in the Rashtrapati Bhavan or in deluxe hotels abroad), punctuality, self-restraint and secrecy by political loudmouths.

The announcement of Kasab’s execution was followed by exultant embraces and heartfelt celebrations among elated and pleasantly surprised Indians. But when the excitement abated and things settled, we began to ponder on the reasons and intentions behind such a rare phenomenon. Whether the plan had direction and guidance from the political bureaucrats or was there some political motive behind it?

The Indian Government has clearly provoked Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) by killing its militant. The already tempestuous relations between India and Pakistan might undergo more tension. Kasab’s hanging could increase the probability of Pakistani President; Asif Zardari, turning down the mercy petition of the Indian death row prisoner, Sarabjit Singh.

However, the government is pretty okay ignoring Pakistan’s interests and sentiments for a while. The stance is totally laudable. Pakistan is no pacifist; India cannot keep on behaving soft. Shahnaz Sughra, Kasab’s aunt, told Reuters by phone, “Even if he did something wrong, I am proud that he taught the enemy a lesson in their own country.” Well, the fact remains that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

So it is the political scenario within the country which the Congress seems to be most worried about. The elections are fast approaching.

By hanging Ajmal Kasab, the UPA government has robbed the Bhartiya Janata Party of the opportunity to boast about its anti-terrorism and Hindutva philosophies using Kasab’s case.

This means that the manifesto speech of  the BJP leaders will now contain one less point. The issue of Kasab’s death had a lot of potential! A lot of drama could be created over it. An all-rounder like Sushma Swaraj could dance one more time (her last performance was during a protest in 2011) urging the government to hang Kasab. Narendra Modi could derive some political mileage by organizing rallies and fasts. After all, Gujarat elections are due this very month. But only if the government hadn’t been so foolishly quick to implement the death penalty!

Also, the execution of Kasab was another desperate attempt by the Congress to shed its “good-for-nothing” status.

The Congress-headed government doesn’t seem to be too concerned about the people’s demands. But the Congress party must surely worried about the 2014 elections.

Hanging Kasab enhances the party’s reputation even though it cannot assure  the Congress of any landslide victory in the upcoming polls. Wish everything was really like taking candy from a baby!

The BJP has already demanded that Afzal Guru, on death row for the 2001 Parliament attack, also be sent to the gallows without further delay. Moreover, the government still needs to make decisions about more sensitive issues like getting Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail, passed in Winter Session of the Parliament (Lok Sabha will debate and vote on FDI in retail on December 4 and 5)
Hanging Kasab cannot be a reform of any kind. The economy didn’t revive because of Kasab’s death. In fact we find ourselves poorer by around 53 crore rupees (an estimation of the amount spent on him during his time in jail). There was no employment generated due to his hanging (except, perhaps for the hangman).

Hanging him was easy as a pie. Operation X could be smoothly carried out by consensus between the Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Maharashtra State authorities and some senior officials.

Unlike FDI in the retail sector or other reforms proposed by the Congress, Kasab’s execution was a much-agreed issue. It is one of the very few actions taken by  the Congress and welcomed by  the BJP. People belonging to all states and of all religious groups –Biharis, Marathis, Hindus and Muslims wanted Kasab to die.

The issue is not centered over the fact that “a Muslim has been hanged on Indian soil”. Raj Thackeray’s comments threatening to brand Biharis as “infiltrators” and to force them out of Maharashtra also could not prevent the immigrants living in the state from celebrating Kasab’s death.

Indians can rise beyond all differences, even if it is the sense of victimization and having a common enemy that unites us. During the three-day rampage through Mumbai, Kasab targeted areas ranging from luxury hotels to railway stations. He waged a war against the Indian state and not the state of Maharashtra alone.

India is a nation with diversity. And in the end, we all love our nation.

Let us be proud of the fact that the law took its course, Indian authorities even provided Kasab a fair trial and performed his last rites as per Muslim traditions. We must be proud of being the world’s largest democracy.

Sakshi Tirthani

Image Source [http://graphics8.com/images/2012/11/21/21-Kasab-Indiaink/21-Kasab-Indiaink-blog480.jpg