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Updated: December 16, 2012 03:54 IST

Did society make Kasab a criminal?

C. V. Sukumaran
Comment (9)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Ajmal Amir Kasab. File photo.
Ajmal Amir Kasab. File photo.

‘Society made him a criminal and a murderer,’ says the former Supreme Court judge, Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, about the cold-blooded killer. (“A question of rights and wrongs”, Open Page, The Hindu, Nov. 25). And the Judge sees ‘injustice’ in his hanging. Kasab, along with nine cold-blooded fellow fanatics, kept the entire nation on tenterhooks for three days. He, with the others, came to India only to open fire indiscriminately and kill as many as he can before he dies, to fire at the unarmed innocent people with sophisticated weapons. He, together with nine others, killed 164 people! And a former Supreme Court judge tells us that “we are all guilty — all of humanity that abetted his killing and burial but could not reform him.”

I presume that the learned judge does not recognise the basics of fanaticism, bigotry and religious terrorism. They are ‘reformed’ people who sally forth to reform the world, by killing all others who don’t follow their belief. They see the gateway to heaven in killing the others who don’t believe in what they believe. They see salvation in killing those whom they consider infidels.

We kept Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar in our custody without hanging them for waging a ‘holy war’ against the nation and its people. On December 24, 1999, IC 814, an Indian Airlines passenger flight, was hijacked. The 174 passengers aboard and the entire nation were on tenterhooks for seven days, till January 1, 2000. The terrorists killed 25-year old Rupin Katyal, one of the passengers. He was stabbed to death in front of his wife. They were a just married couple. The demand of the (Harkat-ul-Mujahideen) terrorists was to release Zargar, Saeed Sheikh and Azhar.

And a great nation had to genuflect in front of the hijackers, five hardcore terrorists, and we escorted the three jihadists in our custody safely to Kandahar. Had we not hanged the 26/11 gunman, suppose the 1999 hijack episode repeats, what would have been the response of those who ‘have no doubt…that Gandhiji’s country should not have killed Ajmal Kasab’? Ask the young widow of Rupin Katyal or any of the passengers of IC 814 whether we should hang the terrorists or not. Ask them whether all of humanity is responsible for the dastardly and cold-blooded acts of the terrorists.

Govindachamy, a vagabond, pushed out a young girl from a running train, and dragged the unconscious victim to a bush and raped her. She was in a coma for four days and succumbed to her head injuries. The culprit has been awarded capital punishment and I believe he deserves it. Can we say that society made Govindachamy a criminal and rapist? I can’t answer the question. This question should be asked to the victims of rape. Or, at least, it should be posed to girls and women. It is easy for men to argue that Govindachamy “belongs to a poor family and he is a human being” and he should not be hanged. But will any girl or woman endorse it?

Coming back to Kasab, suppose he was not hanged. What will we do with him? He was a human being, there is no doubt. But is he a human being fit to be alive in a civilised society. Does a human being have the right to kill others to satisfy or justify what he believes in? If a human being commits such acts, doesn’t he disqualify himself to be called a human being just as the others who live and let live?

Threat to civilisation

When a human being disqualifies himself to be called so, he is called a criminal. And when a human being cold-bloodedly eliminates innocent human beings against whom he has no personal grudge and whom he has not even seen, he is not only a criminal but also a potential threat and danger to civilisation. I don’t see any point in the argument for clemency to such elements which undermine the very foundation of humanity. Those who put forth such arguments should clearly tell us what we should do with them, and how we should reform them, instead of offering the platitudes like ‘we are all guilty.’

(The writer’s email is

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A very thoughtful analysis by the author with which the entire nation is in total agreement. I am at a loss to understand the logic behind the eminent ex-SC Judge krishna Iyers statement that the humanity failed to reform Kasab. Is is humanly impossible to reform a criminal - not of an ordinary type but a hard-core one at that - who has been thoroughly indoctrinated that killing 'infidels' without rhyme or reason will ensure a safe place in heaven. And where is the guarantee that in case he is pardoned and set at liberty he will not resort to such a dastardly crime causing human lives hundredfold once again. This calls for a solution realistically on the basis of facts and idealism has no place in it whatsoever.

Posted on: Dec 17, 2012 at 22:11 IST

I totally disagree with the article. and I refuse to give any reason because i know how will you counter it. It is a matter of principle and it should remain so.

If ever i have to go through such trauma, I would prefer the culprit spends rest of his life in jail rather than having the easy way out of dying.

from:  soumya
Posted on: Dec 17, 2012 at 18:27 IST

Completely agree to this article.

from:  Madhu
Posted on: Dec 17, 2012 at 13:43 IST

By his excellent article with succinct comparisons,psychological
and logical approaches distinctly embedded,the author presents his
gist of arguments that deserves all appreciation.In all the instan-
-ces briefed,society was not at all responsible in turning them
criminals.Only the religious intolerance and arrogance are the main
causes for terrorism.Mere inferences will hold no good.Even the
scholarly judges falter in their observations with errors of judge-
-ment.Kasab with his grisly acts,terrorised our nation killing
innocent people.He was a hired mercenary killer to perpetrate the
felony for money.Showing any sympathies for him is an act of offence.He deserved for what he did.Any remorse on his execution
will only blight our nation with further terrorisms.Only unpatrio-
-tic elements of our society will defend such criminals.The politi-
-cal structure and secularism have weakened our nation.We have
become apple polishers and fawners.Kill all terrorists and save our

from:  R.Gopalakrishnan.
Posted on: Dec 17, 2012 at 13:13 IST

A well written article. I am still an advocate for abolishing death
penalty. But on being reminded of the fact that India had to bow down
to terrorists who hijacked a plane and secured the release of hard
core terrorists, I have started thinking.
Perhaps in the case of terrorists the death penalty may be justified.
But before doing that, ensure that the courts do their jobs properly.
The Lajpat Nagar case gives me heebee-jeebies. It looks like it is
not just the politicians who do not care for justice. A terrible
situation indeed.

Posted on: Dec 17, 2012 at 01:55 IST

I think Justice Krishna Iyer is seeing the bigger picture. Terrorists
are made rather manufactured, and especially if they are Muslim
terrorists, the politicians, the mullahs and the rich make sure the
poor remain poor. And the kids born in poverty are pushed into madrasa
school and trained ..., and only poor people are recruited with the
promise of money. So they are brainwashed and promised paltry sums of
money to carry one these dastardly deeds. Meanwhile the brains behind
are safe. They never try to make the societies better. So is the
problem in India. No one cares to make the society better and safer.
And the result is crimes ..., in order to make a country and in turn
the society, all of us have to invest in proper education, and
economic elevation ..., and the world will definitely a better place
to live in ..., a good economy and education to all are the key ...,

from:  radha vyas
Posted on: Dec 16, 2012 at 05:56 IST

To argue for Capital Punishment is wrong. It does not serve as a

from:  Nripinder
Posted on: Dec 16, 2012 at 05:52 IST

I find a sane voice in you against mad do-gooders. You have nailed it when you said that the do-gooders do not have a viable alternative. I don't know if in their parlance Hitler, Stalin and Polpot would qualify to seek a clemency apart from Kasaab...

from:  Lakshminarasimhan A
Posted on: Dec 16, 2012 at 05:50 IST

Wah! At last, a rebuttal to the flurry of articles especially that are published in The Hindu which go on saying how wrong we were in hanging the man who committed an atrocius crime. Punishment is given whenever an individual does something that is conceived to be a crime by the society. Forget crimes, even a child is punished if he doesn't do his/her homework. The world, as it is now, does not sustain a harmoniuos brotherhood. We live by the system that exists. In crimes like these, we cannot find a suitable method of punishment other than his expulsion. What alternative did we have? Keep him as a liability to our nation's security and public exchequer?

from:  Adithya K
Posted on: Dec 16, 2012 at 04:19 IST
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