This morning's paper was full of gyaan on Ajmal Amir Kasab. Again. It reminded me of the week in November 2008, where we had only news of the terror attack in the news, in the papers, on the streets, everywhere! Yesterday was judgement day. Almost all of India knew he was guilty, since all of us were treated to terror television through November 2008! And now finally after a year and a half was the time to put a stamp on what was already known. And this stamp was important, since I guess the world wanted to see whether our judges are trained enough to pass a judgement based on evidence alone, without being swayed by emotion. I guess we have paid a very heavy price to prove this to the world!
First, this lone surviving terrorist has been in custody for a year and a half. At humongous costs to the taxpayer. With a special cell, special food, additional security personnel, everything needed to protect the terrorist from himself and his own people, the costs have been high and they have been mounting. Secondly, the terrorist has been going in a flipflop, confessing, denying, mocking, laughing and annoying courts, and his security personnel. The drain on the police has been enormous as well. They are being forced to be civil to one who has killed several of their own. They also have to protect him, feed him, and see his mocking face everyday, and these tasks are painful reminders of the past. Thirdly, what about the families of the victims? Imagine seeing the face of one who has robbed your loved ones from you being flashed across papers and the TV for a year and a half. Think about the trauma associated with realizing that a guy responsible for murdering hundreds of innocent civilians, some of whom were related to you still has the gift of life, despite having stolen that gift from your friends and family.
And finally, what is the way out? People say 'Hang him to death.' But wasn't this a suicide mission in the first place? If he is indeed given the death penalty, he will end up achieving what he set out to achieve anyway, albeit a year and a half late. Does it make sense to punish a pawn with death, while the real perpetrators still roam free? So should he be kept alive? Well, all of the above realities will then persist till eternity. What is the way out? I don't know, for sure. All I do know is that either way, at least in this case, terrorism has indeed won! We are filled with a helpless form of disgust, where the choices make no sense. A terrible outcome for one of the worst instances of heartless terrorism this world has seen. A pity that it had to be Mumbai at the receiving end again.