Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving gunman of 26/11 massacre was hanged on 21st November 2011 at the Yerawada jail in Pune. The whole operation was conducted in a very silent manner within the jail premises, not even giving an iota of hint to the outer world.
Finally, the 25 year old from Faridkot village of the Pakistani Punjab, convicted for the murder of many innocent people in Mumbai, is dead after four long exhausting years.
The question put forward on the public domain now by some Human Right Groups and other Humanitarian Organizations is, “Is the death penalty justified in the world of today or more precisely, does the death sentence chalk out any solution to the main problem?”
If we go down the memory lane, the last mercy petition was dismissed in the case of Dhananjoy Chatterjee by the then president Dr.Abdul Kalam Azad. Charged with the rape and murder of a schoolgirl on March 1990, he was executed in August 2004.
Amnesty International, a Human Rights group, had launched a campaign back then against death penalty with the association of many NGO’s.
Kavita Srivastava of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) was one of the many few, including famous cine artist and social worker Nandita Das, against capital punishment for Kasab.
The rationale presented was if the sole purpose for provision of capital punishment is to instill fear and psychosis in minds of the violators of rule of law of this land then how the legal system of our country can be termed as humane and enlightened.
Will the hanging of Kasab bring down the real perpetrators and masterminds of 26/11 to the book?
Kavita was vociferous and strident in expressing that the President should have showed clemency and set a new paradigm to rest of the world that India is built on great moral and human standards.
The other imperative fact is that the day before hanging Ajmal Kasab, India had voted against the resolution of “abolition of death penalty” in the United Nations along with 39 other countries including US. Therefore, should it be termed as a sign of softening soft state stance of India against such dastard acts of hostility by the terrorists?
Most citizens of the country perceive the particular case in a completely different light. Government of India is quite articulate in describing it as a “rarest of rare” case; otherwise such a tradition of capital punishment is not followed in the country.
Though, the case took four long years but the course of law was duly followed throughout the procedure which shows high respect towards the judicial set up of the country by the Indian state. Even Imran Khan, chairman of Tehreek-e-Insaaf, a political party in Pakistan, was in full praise for the way trial was being conducted by the Indian state during the trial in an exclusive interview to Barkha Dutt of NDTV; although he retracted from his statement now after witnessing opposition from the prevailing militant groups in Pakistan; in the wake of Kasab hanging.
For many among the Indian intellectuals, the case could have been dealt with more solidity and difference. For them, Kasab should have been tried as a prisoner of war, as it was a clear case of “Act of War” against India than a mere operation of terrorist activity on the Indian soil.
Though this is an unrelenting debatable issue but the truth is that Ajmal Kasab is dead. This may breed dissatisfaction in the hearts of many Human Rights activists and Anti -Capital Punishment Forums but the sense of contentment on the face of families of Tukaram Omble, Vishnu Zende, Devika Rotawan,Hemant Karkare, Sadanand Date, Shashank Shinde and many other martyrs, speak a different story altogether.