Kasab’s hanging: India upholds rule of law

The hanging of Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving terrorist of the 26/11 terrorist strike in Mumbai in 2008 has amply demonstrated that India as a democracy was committed to upholding the rule of law. Kasab was hanged on Wednesday morning at the Yervada jail in Pune following a decision, which was kept under wraps by the Centre and the State government.

In fact, the way the execution was handled and the condemned terrorist was sent to the gallows is a tribute to our criminal justice system. The entire exercise ensured that the dignity of the condemned man was kept intact and he was hanged only after the judicial process was completed. There are many who criticize the government for spending Crores of rupees on his security during the past four years but all this has paid off. India can tell the world proudly that the death sentence was carried out to uphold the rule of law.

Kasab may have been a non-descript militant misled into terrorism by his handlers in Pakistan. He was no head of state or government or a big time ultra. Yet the way his life came to an end was far more humane if one compares it to how Iraqi President Saddam Hussain and Libyan dictator Gadaffi met their end. Both these leaders were abused and perhaps even hurled insults and tortured before their execution. There was no fair trial but a quick dispensation of questionable justice by hysterical opponents.

Kasab’s hanging also closes the chapter for so many families whose loved ones were killed in that senseless attack on innocent people by these Lashkar-e-Taiyba terrorists. For many of these families justice has finally prevailed and though the judicial process took virtually four years, it did in the end live up to their expectations. I do empathise with a section of our society, which believes that capital punishment must be abolished. But at the same time in instances such as the 26/11 attacks, death sentence is not only justified but drives home a pertinent point about the rule of law.

Many of us will recall that the assassins of Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and General Vaidya were hanged as also hardened criminals such as Billa, Ranga, Ujjagar Singh and Kartar Singh. Kasab’s fate could have been no different and the government does deserve a pat for keeping the whole affair on such a low key. No purpose would have been served if the hanging would have been publicly announced days in advance and a public spectacle of it was made. For a change the government acted in a way it should in other matters as well.

There are of course fears that Lashkar activists would strike in the country to avenge Kasab’s death. But they have always acted without any reason too. Our people and security forces should be vigilant in order to meet any such threat. It is three cheers for the rule of law.

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