Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Hanging of a terrorist

On 20/11/2012 India was one of the 39 countries that voted against a United Nations General Assembly resolution for abolition of death penalty. India stated each nation had the sovereign right to determine its legal system. In India death penalty is given in rarest of rare cases and there are appeals against death penalty till Supreme Court and President has the power to pardon. Most of the 110 countries that supported the resolution are small countries while 36 countries abstained.
On 21/11/2012 around 7 a.m. I heard on CNN-IBN, President has rejected Ajmal Kasab’s mercy petition. Later on I saw the headline on The Indian Express – President rejects Kasab’s mercy petition.
At 8.18 a.m. I was surprised to see the words “Kasab Hanged” on CNN-IBN. I had expected the hanging to take place many days later. Soon all Indian news channels were reporting the hanging. On 16/10/2012 Sushilkumar Shinde had sent the file to President. On 5/11/2012 Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy petition. Sushilkumar Shinde was abroad. He returned on 7/11/2012. On 8/11/2012 he sent the file to Maharashtra. On 19/11/2012 Ajmal Kasab was moved from Arthur Road Jail to Poona’s Yerawada Jail. There was no publicity about the impending hanging. At 8.36 a.m. R. R. Patil made a statement.
For many the news was a pleasant surprise. For a few busybodies who oppose death penalty it was a nasty surprise. The execution was five days before the fourth anniversary of 26/11.
The news of hanging dominated news channels. It pushed out other events like FDI, Gujarat election, BJP’s protest against corruption, demand for Nitin Gadkari’s resignation. Salman Khurshid and Sushilkumar Shinde appeared on TV channels. Sushilkumar Shinde said Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, and cabinet colleagues did not know about the hanging that was to take place. It was a routine decision. Family members and relatives of people who died in 26/11 were interviewed. They included K. Unnikrishnan, Smita Salaskar, Divya Salaskar, and Vandana Chavan. Some thanked the President. For some it was closure of one chapter.
Some questioned the secrecy and timing of hanging. Secrecy was justified on the ground of security and preventing NGOs and private citizens from going to Supreme Court to get a stay order.
There were TV discussions about hanging. Some felt it took too long. There was question about when Afzal Guru will be hanged. Harish Salve said Ajmal Kasab should have been tried like a war criminal and the trial would have been over in three months. Ajmal Kasab’s hanging took less time than that of Indira Gandhi’s killers.
What is public knowledge by 8.30 a.m. is not Breaking News at 6.30 p.m. Idiots who run NDTV 24×7 should know that.

Updated: November 22, 2012 — 8:39 am

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