Kasab gets Death. Yesterday, Kasab, “the killing machine manufactured by the Pakistan”, got death sentence on 4 charges: Murder, Abetment and conspiracy of murder, Waging war against the state and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. He was proved to be guilty on the Monday and looking at these charges there is no doubt that the death sentence was the only punishment that can be given to Kasab according to the laws of the land. It was not unexpected but was really made to look like a reality show finale by the media. The option of life imprisonment was hyped by different sections and suddenly every one was left to speculate. In the past the terrorists have got death sentences for terror attacks and 26/11 was the rarest of the rare cases of terror. So there was no doubt about Kasab getting capital punishment.
Before i move ahead, i would like to discuss how death was the preferable option to a life imprisonment. I discussed the topic with many on twitter. Though many were in support of the death sentence, some were against it. Here are the points raised by anti-death group and my answer to them.
1. Life Imprisonment is harsher than the death sentence.
Many senior lawyers subscribe to this view. But just two points two counter this point. One, there can be nothing more precious than someone’s life and that fact itself makes death sentence a harsher punishment than a lifer. Secondly, Indian law clearly says that death sentence is the ultimate punishment, so no point in arguing till the laws are changed.
2. Death of Kasab will make him a martyr in the eyes of other jehadis and the jehadis and Kasab himself will believe that he will reach Jannat. So the punishment won’t serve any purpose.
We must remember that punishment is given to say the convict that whatever s/he did was wrong. According to the level of the crime, punishment is given i.e. if the criminal can be reformed then s/he is given jail terms that can go up to life imprisonment. Death, as I said earlier, is the ultimate punishment and is given when there is no scope for the criminal to reform. So even if Kasab thinks that he will go to jannat, we know where will he go for his sins (of course if heaven and hell exist). Another point is that if the jehadis are happy to go to the jannat, then why they apply for mercy when they are given death? Why Kasab tried to mislead the court by his flip-flops if he wanted to go to the jannat? Regarding the message to the other terrorists, I don’t think a death sentence can deter them from being a terrorist. The way they are brain-washed, no one can change their minds till they see their own deaths.
3. Hanging Kasab is not the solution. We should hit the root cause of terrorism.
This arguement is really a very weak point. Just one question counter this: Why not do the both? Kasab should get the punishment for his crime. The way he killed the innocents, we can not spare him. At the same time, we will fight with the terrorism with stringent laws, better intelligence, better equipments and all necessary steps that is required to tackle terrorism.
4. Kasab will be another name in the list waiting for president pardon. So what’s the point in hanging him when it is certain that he will live for many years?
This logic sounds good but has nothing substantial in it. This is something like asking to stop using electricity fearing electric shock. Long list of persons waiting for presidential pardon is a problem, no doubt. But that doesn’t mean that we will stop giving punishment to the criminals. That issue should be dealt with by active government action and setting a time frame for the presidential pardon process. Even if the problem remains, Kasab case can be given priority considering the level of violence and brutality involved in the case.
Thinking politically, Kasab case is not like that of the Afjal Guru. Afjal Guru was from Kashmir and he had certainly some impact on a certain amount of vote-bank, but Kasab, being from Pakistan, doesn’t have such impact. So the government will have no problem in hanging him to show that it is not soft on terror.
5. We can not act emotionally and seek revenge. We should think logically.
By giving Kasab a proper trial, India showed that the punishment for Kasab is logical and we are not swayed by emotions. Probably, the demands of the families of 26/11 victims that “Kasab should be publicly hanged” or “should be cut in pieces” sound emotional but that is obvious as they have lost their dear ones and we the ‘unaffected’ ones can’t understand what has happened to them. But make no mistake, the demands will not be permitted by the court as the Indian laws do not permit such kind of brutality. Even those who demanded this also know this fact. What their words really mean is that the death sentence of Kasab should be executed expeditiously and should not go the Afjal Guru way.
6. Death sentence should not be given to anybody in India. It hampers the Human Rights.
This is a different issue and can be debated at different times. Presently. we have death sentence as the ultimate punishment in our laws and Kasab deserves the ultimate punishment.
7. Kasab can be used as a tool to pressurize US to act against Pakistan and Pakistan against terror.
This argument has some logic, but we all know even if Kasab is given death sentence is not going to die soon. The death sentence is now needs to be ratified by the High Court and then Kasab has the option to appeal against the sentence in the supreme court. These processes can take at least 2 years even more. During this time period Kasab can be used as the tool.
The whooping cost that the state has to bear to protect Kasab which is said to be Rs 2 lakh per day, leaves us without any option than to give death to Kasab who deserves more than that. The opposition to Kasab’s death is probably due to ideological belief of these people. All are free to think differently, but that belief should be supported by proper logic. The anti-death group may not be Kasab fans, but they need to understand the logic. May be that’s because they are the ‘unaffected’ ones. Please put yourself in the position of the victims like this small girl Devika Rotawan and then think if Kasab, who murdered the person who had given him a glass of water to drink, should get death. Probably, your conscience will give you the answer.