This refers to the editorial “Behind Headley's plea bargain” (March 20). It is deeply disturbing to learn that David Coleman Headley, the Pakistani-American terror agent responsible for the terror attack on Mumbai, may escape the death penalty. It is unfortunate that within a few months of the occurrence of a terror strike the focus slowly shifts away from it. This eases the pressure on governments and helps even hardcore criminals to get away with light punishment. All perpetrators of the Mumbai terror strike must be given the maximum punishment under the law. Do terrorists and their handlers have mercy on innocent citizens? Washington must demonstrate to the world its policy of zero-tolerance to terrorism.
N. Venkata Sai Praveen,
Headley's plea bargain has not only provoked media outrage in India but has made the case more complicated. It will enable Headley to avoid the death penalty and extradition to India. It is indeed a setback to India and a gross injustice to the victims of the Mumbai terror attack.
It is disappointing to note that Headley's life may be spared in exchange for valuable information. As for the report that the U.S. may allow the interrogation of Headley within its territory, one wonders whether it will serve any purpose.
All these days when the CBI wanted to quiz Headley, the U.S. did not give us access to him. But when Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist involved in 26/11, was caught by our police, the FBI rushed to India and we provided all the details it needed.
We need not be outraged at Headley escaping the death penalty. What is more important is that he has provided a lot of information about the Lashkar, his co-accused Tahawwur Rana and three other terrorists in his Plea Agreement. This will help our investigating agencies charge sheet him and question him though video-conferencing.
The Indian public and media are outraged at the possibility of Headley escaping the death penalty, thanks to his plea bargain. What about Kasab? Headley's link to the Mumbai attacks surfaced months after 26/11. But his trial is proceeding fast. Kasab's trial is on and I doubt if it will conclude by the end of this year. We cannot expect the U.S. to concede our demands on Headley. The Pakistani-American came to India several times but our intelligence agencies could not sense his mission. But for the U.S., we would not have known about Headley and his associates in India.