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A dangerous trend

July 24, 2009

Last evening I was watching television news with my wife when the story of Ajmal Amir Kasab flashed on the screen and how he had confessed in court, exhorting the court to hang him if they found him guilty. My wife remarked that ‘they should not hang him!’ As an after thought she added, ‘Oh! But he has killed so many people!’ I was stunned for a moment.  I have found many people mouthing sympathy for terrorists. This was not a one-off instance. Here is a man who has fired indiscriminately, killing people he did not know, whom he had never seen. He may not be looking at all at the people when he was firing indiscriminately from his assault rifle. He was in India to kill as many people as he could. That was the brief he had and that was what he was trained for. The killer was doing his job in cold blood and the country was so stunned by the suddenness and the ferocity of the attack that everything came to a standstill. People were running for their lives in Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus that fateful evening. It was sheer luck that one of them got caught. More than luck it was one constable Ombale who kept on taking bullets on his body but refused to let the killer go. The public then rushed to nab the mad man who had gone on a killing spree. Hotels that are monuments were destroyed and innocent men and children massacred. And here we are discussing whether the one such killer that we have managed to catch should be hanged or not!

This is the reaction of the general public. One reason is that the media has made Kasab {from Kasai (Hindi/Urdu for butcher), he comes from a family of butchers and lived in Kasaibara, or the place where the butchers live} some kind of a hero. He was called the ‘baby-faced’, others called him Shahrukh Khan, the film actor. His cell was discussed in great detail in the media and it was reported that there was a special air conditioned wing built at a phenomenal cost to house this special prisoner. His daily diet was reported and it was said that this very special guest had demanded that non-vegetarian food  be served more often. The guy has some cheek! He is demanding special treatment for what – for committing the most heinous of crimes? Which other country would have gone through this most elaborate judicial process? It is good to be a working democracy, but there is a limit to what one can do in the name of procedure and laws. That Pakistan refused to admit him as one of their own for quiet sometime came as no surprise. That they have refused to accept that the other nine terrorists are also Pakistanis was also expected. What does surprise one is that Pakistanis keep demanding more information from the Indian authorities to be able to start any kind of proceedings against the people who sent these ten men to create mayhem in Mumbai. But then it could be a ploy to try and know as to how much the Indian agencies know about their activities.

The piece-de-resistance was what US Secretary of State said in Thailand where she went after her five day trip to India. She said “What I found so interesting about his confession is that he was a young man without much purpose in life, he was in a job he did not find satisfying and he was susceptible to the blandishment of terrorist organizations: This will make you feel strong and powerful, this will give you a meaning and purpose in your life; and he bought into that and joined this group that was trained for the Mumbai attacks,” (Source: Indian Express, 23rd of July, 2009: Educated Kasab would not have been a terrorist) It is one thing that the common people in India and across the world can succumb to media coverage and rhetoric, but for the Secretary of State to have given such a statement when the trial is on here in India was something that surprised many. Does Mrs. Clinton mean to say that Kasab should be let off because it was not his fault, that he was a man who had been swayed by the rhetoric of the jihadists who are so good at playing with the minds of uneducated young men in the name of religion? Does she know that the same Kasab has mouthed vitriolic against Kafir Hindus in court and the one reason why no journalist or for that matter anyone else is allowed inside the court, that is held within the jail, is because of what all religious extremist venom this young man spews in court? Does the Secretary of State know that the perpetrators of 9/11 and the London bombings were educated youths from middle class Muslim families who had been tutored such that they went on a suicide mission against their own people (in the case of London bombings). That the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks had license to fly airplanes which is something an uneducated person cannot get.

It is true that education can help ward off the scourge of terrorism to some extent. But to say that with education and a proper job the youth will cease to take to terror acts is being naive. The so-called Indian Mujahidin had young men from well off families, with well paying jobs resort to terror against the state and their own countrymen here in India. Osama bin Laden is a man of no ordinary means, who grew up in luxury in Europe. Al-Zawahari, his right hand man is also educated and well off. They head the dreaded al-Quaeda,, which the Americans are fighting with all they have. Passing off terrorists as men and women who were dissatisfied with their lives and were not educated enough to understand as to what they were doing is playing soft with a monster. I agree that education and jobs can help wean away people from such acts but it will be wrong to say that this is the panacea for this affliction that has hit humanity in the past few decades.

My fear is that a trained terrorist like Kasab will be given a lenient sentence for the ghastly crime that he has committed. Such sentiments are fueled when one finds the Secretary of State of the United States of America trying to understand the mind of a man who has killed innumerable people at random. Will Kasab get away with murder and slaughter of Indians? Even if he is given a death sentence it could well be decades before his sentence is carried out. For has not another terrorist found guilty by the Supreme Court for the attack on the Parliament not been executed till now. The man’s name is Afzal Guroo.

Update 15..09.2009: Times of India, Bangalore ed.: TN to release al-Umma Terrorists: ‘Ten prisoners belonging to the outlawed al-Umma group will be released on Tuesday to coincide with the centenary celebrations of former CM Annadurai’.

These terrorists were convicted in the 1998 Coimbatore serial blasts in which 58 people were killed. Many of these terrorists have served upto 11 of their 13 years of sentence. The judiciary in India is doing an exemplary job, though a tad slow at times, but the 13 years sentence was seen by many as too lenient for a crime of the magnitude of war on the state. And then to commute it to 11 years by a benevolent chief minister sends a wrong signal. I hope better sense prevails and such frivolous magnanimity is avoided. It helps no one and endangers the society.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stallz permalink
    November 1, 2009 9:26 pm

    I think you know at bottom of your heart Mrs Clinton is right. All she is trying to say is the footsoldiers are usually the uneducated, with little or no access to the choices that allow others to see a broader picture. It doesn’t mean he’d be unlikely to do it, just potentially LESS likely because he’d have other thngs to do in life. His primary motivation semes to be to make money, not to die for Islam. Kill Kasab and you kill merely a footsoldier. You need to strike at the head of the snake not its tail. That is all she is saying.

    • sharma24 permalink
      November 2, 2009 3:26 am

      Kasab has killed dozens of people, firing blindly at people he had never seen before, he did not know. This was war against the state. It was a ghastly act. How would any country in the west react to such a killer (I believe you are from the west)? What does the law say for such murder? Money was the motive to slaughter innocents? The man has been indoctrinated. We all are looking for the head of the snake, that is why billions are being poured into Afghanistan. But to leave the tail intact will be giving the snake wrong signals. Mrs. Clinton was sermonizing and that impresses no one.

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