While it was heartening to note that David Headley, a key player in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, has been awarded 35 years in jail, New Delhi’s reaction — that it would have sought a longer term for him had he been tried in India — is amusing.
Had Headley been tried in India, he would have ended up becoming another statistic waiting endlessly for conviction. Even assuming he was convicted and sentenced to death after meeting the so-called “rarest of rare” criterion, he would have remained on the “mercy-plea-in-waiting” category for the rest of his life. At least in the U.S., he is assured of his status for the next 35 years.
Thirty five years in jail for Headley is glad news for Indians. The federal judge’s remark that he did not have any faith in Headley when he said he was a changed person is significant. Headley’s own revelation that he was directed by the ISI gives enough evidence of his direct involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. But one wishes he had been tried and punished in India.