The hanging of Mohammed Amir Ajmal Kasab was not a full stop or an event warranting celebration, said actor Aashish Chowdhry on Thursday.
Mr. Chowdhry’s tweet on the issue on Wednesday came in for a flood of responses. Speaking to The Hindu on Thursday, the actor, whose sister and brother-in-law were among those killed in the 26/11 attack, said: “The kind of celebratory atmosphere that we saw dilutes the main issue at hand.”
It was important to understand that Kasab was merely an errand boy. He was handed a gun and trained when he was so young, said Mr. Chowdhry. Death came as freedom for Kasab, who was quite ill in jail and used to bang his head on the wall, he pointed out. “But it can’t be freedom for us if terrorism cannot be eliminated. While there is no hope in hell that it can be done away with, we can start by believing in togetherness,” the actor said.
Even if Kasab was caught and punished, there will be others. “I don’t want to rejoice at this point. Nowhere have I said that he should not have been brought to justice. His hanging was a logical end to that judicial process,” Mr. Chowdhry said. He said the time for rejoicing would come when innocent children would stop being taught to kill in the name of God and religion.
A father himself, Mr. Chowdhry said, he did not want children growing up hating a particular religion or wishing someone dead. “That’s very wrong; children are very impressionable and they are pure and innocent. We have to set an example for them.”
He felt one had to get to the root of the problem instead of seeking stopgap solutions. “If we don’t get to the root of what happened in Mumbai, we will be sitting ducks again.”
The actor, who visits Pakistan and has friends there, got a lot of messages after the 26/11 attack offering sympathy and saying that no one in the country supported this act of terror. “There are fanatics everywhere and they need to be curbed,” he pointed out.
Mr. Chowdhry tweeted: “I am not saying he [Kasab] shouldn’t have been hung. I’m saying he shouldn’t have been born... [And I don't mean literally!].” Hanging Kasab, he said, was like “having a haircut with one strand of hair pulled out and rejoicing over it as a fab new hairdo. That head’s no different, dude!!”
He warned that in these four years awaiting the verdict on Kasab, lakhs of new ‘Kasabs’ may have been born. “One should rejoice when there are no more Kasabs born,” he said, adding that he would not teach his children to rejoice at anyone’s death. “They will learn to be non-vindictive, non-fanatical and will love all.”
Mr. Chowdhry said Kasab was “brainwashed, driven to kill in the name of God. He didn’t know he was wrong.”
“I sympathise with Kasab. He also was once a small innocent baby, like my son, but unfortunately born around wrong people and wrong teachings.”