The UPA's move also comes at a time when the main opposition party, BJP, is in a shambles. After Arvind Kejriwal accused BJP chief Nitin Gadkari of corruption charges, the latter has been facing a series of attacks from inside his own party with senior leaders asking his credibility. The party is in no position to challenge the government on any issue for it does not have the moral high ground.
In this situation, hanging Kasab will give the Congress a chance to reveal its nationalist stance by reasserting a fight against terror. The BJP, which is otherwise a part of the saffron brigade that often indulges in Pakistan-bashing, will find little chance to raise its voice against UPA's indulging in corruption and 'shielding' those who stash black money abroad. President Pranab Mukherjee erased all allegations that were raised against his role as the former Union Finance Minister by playing the Kasab card so well.
When facing domestic crisis, play the Pakistan card
The mention of the Kasab card brings us to Pakistan, the same old trump card for the Indian rulers when they find themselves in distress. This is a utter display of hypocrisy. India and Pakistan are engaging with each other more and more in terms of liberalised visa regime and cricket tours besides regular meetings at various levels, but when there arises a situation of domestic crisis, the rulers across the borders turn the gun towards the other to gain public sympathy.
India today hanged Kasab and buried him in a haste because his termination benefitted the opportunistic politicians and tomorrow, Islamabad might do the same with Sarabjit Singh to project itself as a strong competitor to India. None will abide by individual right to life and other legal implications involved with it.
Dr Alok Chantia, president of All India Rights Organisation, for instance, said, "The Indian government gave respect to Section 21 of the Constitution for last four years, that is why he was alive in jail, but the government went totally against the same law after his execution. If Pakistan refused to take Kasab's body, then the Indian government should have contacted his family. The government should not have buried him in such a short time. As per the human rights laws, all should give respect to a human body even after a person's death."
Congress toughens anti-terror stand ahead of the crucial Gujarat polls?
The anti-terror and nationalist stance of the Congress is also a strategy aimed at the high-profile Gujarat election due in December. The Congress is traditionally accused of being soft on terror. One of the strategic blunders that the Congress-PDP government had done just before the 2002 Gujarat assembly election was to disband the Special Operations Group and release several militants. This was not a positive message for the people of Gujarat, particularly after the Godhra riots and attacks on Akshardham temple, and the BJP was considered a better force to deal with terror.
In 2007 also, the Congress failed in Gujarat for this time, the BJP successfully nailed it on the question of Afzal Guru. The Sohrabuddin encounter case also politicised to corner the Congress. This time, the Congress is preparing to get rid of the tag of the party that appeases Muslims before the crucial Gujarat polls.
Kasab's execution will give Congress a weapon to counter the BJP on issues like liberation of Masood Azhar, the Pakistani jihadist, after the aeroplane hijacking in December 1999, Akshardham temple attack or the assault against Hindu pilgrims in Amarnath.
Abu Jundal's extradition by Saudi Arabia in June was a major breakthrough for Congress as far as its anti-terror mission is concerned. Asking the Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik to defer his tour of India could also be a message that India wanted to convey to Islamabad as far as its anti-terrorism stand is concerned. Malik had said earlier this year that Islamabad was yet to have sufficient evidence against LeT founder Hafiz Saeed in the 26/11 attacks. Pakistan said it had received India's intimation on Kasab's execution and so did his family even a day earlier. Was Malik's visit deferred so that the sensitive issue did not snowball into a major issue during his stay in India?
Is India's anti-terror mechanism in place? Or are we
content with Kasab's hanging?
Kasab's execution shows political convenience prevails over everything else. Whether there is a need to do away with the death penalty or at least alter the norms pertaining to them, our political establishment is happy to sacrifice each and every ideal and institution for the sake of achieving popular ends. Why did not the Indian establishment use Kasab to understand more about the terror networks operational in Pakistan? It seems that there is a sheer lack of interest of the Indian state to fight terrorism. Our people and the media are overwhelmed by emotion at the moment but if the country has no real anti-terror security mechanism put in place, such happiness will not last for long. India might have found its own Osama, but the war against terror is far from over.