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Letters to Editor

Justice at last

Sir — The sole surviving perpetrator of the Mumbai terror attack in 2008, Ajmal Kasab, was finally executed on November 21 (“Noose of steel”, Nov 22). Justice has been done after a tedious legal battle that lasted for a long time. Kasab’s imprisonment, security and upkeep cost ordinary taxpayers crores of rupees. Such huge expenses caused the nation further harm, which is the aim of terrorists like Kasab in any case. Kasab’s trial ought to have been speedy. The executions of all the criminals on death row whose mercy petitions have been rejected by the president should be carried out quickly. The cost of keeping them alive is very high, and a poor nation like India cannot afford such a drain. The government should pay heed to this. It should also remember that such criminals are a threat to the nation’s security for as long as they are alive.

Yours faithfully,
S.P. Sharma, Mumbai

Sir — The news of Ajmal Kasab’s execution at the high-security Yerwada jail in Pune came as a big relief to the citizens of India. The death of a human being is always contentious, especially when the person in question has been awarded the death penalty. But Kasab’s execution, which took place five days before the fourth anniversary of the 26/11 attacks, brought justice to the policemen and the civilians who lost their lives in the 2008 terror attack. Their families as well as the people of India are grateful to Pranab Mukherjee for rejecting Kasab’s mercy plea.

Afzal Guru’s mercy petition has been sent back to the home ministry. But Guru should speedily receive the punishment he deserves. Kasab received a fair, lengthy trial. His case passed from lower courts to the Supreme Court. This, along with the fact that he was able to submit a mercy plea to the president, shows that in India even a terrorist can expect to get a fair hearing. Kasab’s death should serve as a deterrent for all those who plot and spread terror.

Yours faithfully,
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

Sir — People cutting across religious and social lines are thankful that Ajmal Kasab’s death penalty was finally carried out. However, the portrayal by the media of the cases of prisoners on death row should be done very carefully. Articles that quote people as saying that Kasab “never harmed anyone” (“‘Proud’ aunt seeks body”, Nov 22), or that he “never misbehaved” and longed to be with his mother (“Mom & songs on wish list”, Nov 22) can trigger conflicting emotions in readers. Human beings have a soft side. Their emotions should not be manipulated to the extent that they begin to question the justice that has been delivered. The media need to report responsibly. The people of India demanded Kasab’s punishment, and their wish was fulfilled. That is what is important.

Yours faithfully,
Shalini Mitra Roy, Calcutta

Sir — Ajmal Kasab’s brutal killing of innocent people in Mumbai will be difficult to forget. His hanging — carried out secretly, and swiftly by Indian standards — was aptly timed. It silenced the voices that are heard every year around November 26, accusing India of being lenient in its treatment of terrorists. The execution was a positive move ahead of the winter session in Parliament. The United Progressive Alliance government can now counter Narendra Modi’s strident accusations that the Centre is weak and indecisive in the run-up to the Gujarat assembly elections. However, as long as capital punishment is legal in the country, the government must handle death row cases with sobriety. It must not allow petty politics to jeopardize these cases.

Yours faithfully,
J.S. Acharya, Hyderabad

Sir — Justice has been served for the families of the people who died in the Mumbai terror attack. Ajmal Kasab got what he deserved. However, Afzal Guru is still alive even though the apex court upheld the death sentence in 2005. It is high time the government expedited the process for his execution. Diplomatic pressure must be put on Pakistan to hand over the other perpetrators of the terror attack like Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi to India. For this to happen, India must not be viewed as a ‘soft State’. Pakistan’s covert support of terrorism must be brought to the notice of international fora such as the United Nations. One must remember that Kasab was a pawn in a much larger game of terrorism against India. The bigger criminals like Lakhvi and Saeed are still roaming free in Pakistan. They ought to be brought to justice in India.

Yours faithfully,
Ambar Mallick, Calcutta


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