Mumbai, Nov 23: India might have been celebrating the execution of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, but human rights body People's Union of Civil Liberties has condemned 26/11 Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab's hanging. In a press release, PUCL also pointed out that Kasab was only a foot soldier and the masterminds of the 26/11 terror strikes are still at large. The human rights body has demanded for abolition of death penalty.
Kasab was hanged till death at Yerwada jail in Pune around 7.30 am on Wednesday, Nov 21. Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil confirmed the news on Wednesday morning.
"The Mumbai carnage of Nov 2008, more popularly abbreviated to a single term '26/11,' constitutes one of the most heinous and deliberate attempts in recent years to cause mass mayhem and terror in India. Kasab was the only member of the terrorist team sent from Pakistan apprehended alive; he was caught on film diabolically using his modern automatic weapon in a cold blooded fashion, killing numerous people," stated the press release.
"The hanging, and the trial and legal proceedings which preceded it, admittedly complied with existing laws which permit death penalty, and cannot be faulted as such. While it may be argued, as many do that the hanging will help in an emotional closure' to the families of victims of 26/11, there are others who point out that other key issues still remain to be addressed. Families of victims in specific, as also other concerned citizens, have pointed out that Kasab was only a foot soldier and not the mastermind, who still remain at large," Prof. Prabhakar Sinha, National President, PUCL.
"We cannot also lose sight of the fact the reality that the backdrop of the 26/11 incidents is also the festering and unresolved internal conflict inside Kashmir, which provides an easy emotive tool for demagogues to indoctrinate and turn youth to become cold blooded 'jihadi' killers. To them, the execution will not be a deterrence," added Dr V Suresh, National General Secretary (Elect), PUCL.
"In the surcharged emotional atmosphere in the wake of Kasab's hanging, even raising questions about the usefulness of hanging Kasab is considered to be 'traitorous', unpatriotic and anti-national. We in the PUCL nevertheless feel that this is a moment in our nation's history when we need to pause and ponder, and reflect on the values that we, as a nation, should uphold, particularly relating to crime and punishment, justice and equity. We need to be conscious of the fact that a nation consumed by outrage and filled with a sense of retribution easily confuses "punishment and revenge, justice and vendetta". We, as a nation, need to begin a dispassionate public debate on the death penalty without judgemental, indignant, righteous or moralist overtones," stated the press release.
PUCL says it firmly believes that mercy and compassion are key values of a humane society, which are also recognised in the Indian Constitution.
"We also hold that abolishing death penalty is not a sign of weakness," says a member of PUCL.