India Executes
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India Executes "Lone Survivor" of Mumbai Attacks

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On the morning of November 21, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government executed Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman in the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack. What is striking about the execution of Kasab, a Pakistani national, was that it was carried out in almost complete secrecy.

This is all the more remarkable when one considers that this is the first time in the history of independent India that a foreigner has been executed in the country. Politically speaking, Kasab’s hanging is a development fraught with deep foreign and domestic implications.

The government accorded budget-level secrecy to Kasab’s hanging and the news of his execution came as a complete surprise to all but a few top officials. In fact, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters that even UPA Chairwoman Sonia Gandhi was not informed of the execution beforehand.

To the public, the execution seemed unlikely even while the Indian government secretly began its “Operation Kasab” several weeks ago. Sources said President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected Kasab’s mercy plea on November 5 (though this was only made public recently) and signed the necessary orders. This was followed by Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and the government of the Indian state of Maharashtra, where Kasab was excuted, also signing the necessary orders on November 7 and 8, respectively. About a week later Union Home Secretary RK Singh formally told Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai in a letter that the decision on Kasab’s execution had been made while ordering that the convict’s family in Pakistan to be notified. Kasab himself was informed of the decision on November 12; 9 days before his hanging. On the night of November 19 he was moved from Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail to Pune’s Yerawada jail, which is authorized to host executions.

Kasab’s execution also had international consequences. For example, just days before the Indian government opposed a non-binding UN resolution against the death penalty that no less than 130 countries supporting the resoultion. 

A more delicate matter was how to handle the situation with Pakistan, which Kasab was a citizen of. India informed Pakistan of the impeding execution on Tuesday, the day before the execution, but Pakistan has not acknowledged this communication at the time of this writing. Indeed, Pakistani officials stationed in India refused to accept a formal letter from Indian officials about the imminent hanging, forcing the latter to fax a copy of it to Pakistan.

Comments
4
Abdul Malik
December 9, 2012 at 18:00

Kristal is biased against the Indian Muslim community. We do not need to prove our patriotism to anyone, Muslims too have shed blood for Bharatmata. No party, Muslim or otherwise (except so called 'Human rights groups') would oppose hanging of kasab. Just because kasab claimed to be a Muslim does not wash away his crimes. Indian Muslim of 2012 is not madrassa educated owner of the corner mutton shop. We too are well educated and civilized citizens of this great country. Yes there are elements but that i think is because still a vast number still lacks education hence lacks opportunities and the frustration shows. 

budha
November 28, 2012 at 15:47

It is unfair to suggest that any of the Indian muslim political parties would have tried to stall Kasabs execution .That shows your preposterous bias to wards that community.

Thomas_George
November 24, 2012 at 09:15

Just a few clarifications on what the article has omitted to mention-
1. Kasab is not a "lone survivor" of the Mumbai Attacks, the survivors were those who endured his gunfire and were lucky to be alive. The headline needs some handiwork. If it were "lone surviving perpetrator", it might actually make some sense.
2.  Kasab and his terrorist hit-squad killed 166 people tageting hotels, pubs, and a suburban railway station. Kasab is not a "gunman" nor a mercenary for hire. He was a Pakistani national born at Faridkot, indoctinated and trained  in terror camps in Pakistan, and sent in a suicidal commando-style attack to India's financial capital. So lets call him by his proper title- "Terrorist"
3. As long as the death penalty remains in Indian law books, India is not excessively worried about international implications. Neither is the United States for that matter, which executed nearly 40 people so far in 2012.
4. Kasab's handlers remain in Pakistan, free from any prosecution proceedings.

Kristal
November 23, 2012 at 06:29

While there may still be debate in India about the necessity of having to conduct this entire exercise under such a veil of secrecy, it must be understood that this already much delayed decision (to hang Kasab) cannot be held hostage to another round of delays all over agian. This time, by the media & other civil society groups. Its my personal belief that this secrecy enabled a quick resolution to this long dragging issue. The government did not give the time to Muslim political parties to put their weight behind & try and stall this process. Also, any untoward law & order issues did not arise, because most people were caught offguard. Besides, the media did not get the chance to harass Kasab's family, question investigative officers & politicians who might have made statements that could've complicated the entire issues and so on.
On top of all this, I believe that kasab himself had a chance to die peacefully by not becoming an "object of interest" tot he media! 

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