Kasab today, Sayeed tomorrow?

Last Updated: Wed, Nov 21, 2012 08:14 hrs

It's done. 

The man who was smiling as he gunned down scores of people, including three senior Mumbai policemen during the terrorist siege of that city four years ago, has finally been sent to meet his maker. 

I know the arguments against the death sentence. The first one is, 'What happens when you execute an innocent man?' It has been known to happen. And then comes: 'Who gave us the right to play God?' 

Yet I have always believed that serial rapists and child molesters deserve not just death, but a painful one. Add psychopathic Pakistani terrorists to that list.

Because in all these cases, the survivors carry that trauma around for the rest of their lives. The least they deserve is to know that the person responsible is not liable to be released from jail for good conduct. 

So what if this execution appears to be cold-bloodedly politically motivated? 

According to a Supreme Court ruling of 1983, only "the rarest of rare cases" merit the death sentence. These include pre-meditated murder and waging war against the nation. The court also is debating putting policemen convicted of faking 'encounter killings' and those responsible for 'honour killings', but it is yet to be made law. 

But if the government is expecting jubilant celebrations - translatable into votes next year - all around, it is likely to disappointed. 

New external affairs minister Salman Khurshid perhaps knew this when he declared that this execution was 'just the beginning.' 

To be fair, our government has, with American assistance, managed to extradite a few key players in the 26/11 terrorist strike, including an Indian, Abu Jindal, a handler who was present in the control room in Karachi during the attack. 

But the information gleaned from him only adds to the mountain of information our security agencies have collected proving Pakistani complicity in the attack, which is sent out regularly as dossiers which the Pakistani officials probably use as paperweights, if not something grosser. The fact that Pakistan refused to accept Kasab's corpse, and thus his Pakistani identity, speaks for itself. 

I doubt that the sneering references to 'the rule of law' existing in India, as opposed to Pakistan, will have much impact either. Denial is the name of their game. 

There are arguments that the execution destroys the only 'living proof' of Pakistani involvement. But that argument holds weight only if such proof actually had much impact in Pakistan. 

Which is why I think our government cancelling the visit of Pakistan's interior minister to ostensibly save him the 'embarrassment' of being on Indian soil during the hanging was a mistake. He should have been here. 

Instead, reports say we sent a letter to the Pakistan High Commission, and to Kasab's family in Pakistan through courier, and had confirmation that it had been received. 

No, I am not raining on the government's parade. Of course Kasab deserved to die. Let's not downgrade the importance, the significance of the event.

And of course his death will bring some solace, if not closure, to those whose lives were shattered during that two-day macabre dance of terror in Mumbai. Every little step helps. 

But the sight of vultures trying to get political mileage from this sickens me to the bone.  

Look at how the Shiv Sena in Mumbai is marking it as a tribute to their recently departed leader. 

Yes, Kasab deserved to die. He had it coming. 

Me, I'll only celebrate when the same thing happens to Hafiz Sayeed.

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