17 May, 2021

Hanging, In The Balance

Closure for 26/11, or a crucial terror link smothered? Kasab was an easy point to score, not so others like Afzal Guru.

Amit Haralkar
Hanging, In The Balance

The hangman’s noose has apparently satiated some of our appetite for revenge for the terrible crimes committed by a young man who so casually sauntered into Mumbai four years ago, a gun slung across his shoulder, shooting innocent citizens at random. That image of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab stays with us. In the nation’s collective imagination, we can now also see him hanging from a rope. Crime and punishment. Violence and retribution. Due process of the law. Justice delivered.

As we conjure up for ourselves the image of a medieval tradition in modern times, let us also see the picture with complete clarity, shorn of emotion. The Kasab hanging is also about politics. The man was quietly hanged and buried five days ahead of the fourth anniversary of the siege of Mumbai. It was announced to the world the day after Pakistani foreign minister Rehman Malik officially cancelled a scheduled visit to India. It happened the day before a stormy session of Parliament began. And it has come just ahead of the Gujarat elections, where the Congress would argue that it has some...

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