It will be incorrect to compare the execution of Ajmal Kasab, Pakistani member of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), for his involvement in the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, with that of Afzal Guru, an Indian citizen from Jammu and Kashmir for his involvement in the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001, believed to have been mounted by the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), a Pakistani jihadi organization.
Kasab was a Pakistani citizen who was a member of the LET .He had voluntarily got himself trained by the LET for participating in the execution of the terrorist strike. He was one of the perpetrators who was seen carrying out the killings. The evidence against him was direct and documentary in the form of video recordings. There were no grounds for doubt and no mitigating factors.
In the case of Afzal Guru, the evidence produced by the prosecution before the court clearly showed he was a conspirator and an accomplice, who had facilitated the attack on the Parliament by voluntarily providing logistics assistance to the JEM perpetrators who carried out the attack. However, whereas Kasab was a perpetrator, Afzal Guru was an accomplice and facilitator, who did not actively participate in the attack on the ground.
The gravity of the JEM attack on the Parliament was as serious as that of the LET attack in Mumbai. Nobody can question the appropriateness of the death penalty awarded to him.
However, there were many mitigating factors in the case of Guru. He was an Indian citizen from an alienated province of India. He was not known to have been an active member of any jihadi terrorist organization of India . He had reportedly undergone training in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir as a member of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) in the early 1990s, but the JKLF has since dissociated itself from acts of terrorism. He had no previous record of involvement in any act of mass casualty terrorism in Indian territory. He was an accomplice and not a perpetrator.
Political wisdom and foresight demanded that these mitigating factors should have been taken into consideration while deciding whether it was a fit case for carrying out the death penalty or whether ends of justice would be served by commuting the death sentence to life imprisonment.
In the competitive pre-poll attempt to show who is stronger in dealing with terrorism, the government and the BJP seem to have overlooked these mitigating factors and used Afzal Guru’s execution as an unfortunate yardstick to establish their strong counter-terrorism credentials.
This is likely to prove counter-productive and aggravate the threat of terrorism instead of helping to bring it under control
B. Raman is Additional Secretary ( retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
B Ramanji was the first and last person who called ULFA as Hindu Terrorist....
Read what Wikipedia says about this man..
" He is a firm believer of Gandhi-Nehru dynastic rule, and has often proposed it as a solution to many of India's political uncertainties and socio-economic woes."
Read letters exchanged between Raman and Italian Waitress..
A very good synopsis, Mr Raman. At least some fresh air is blowing here.
You have gone as far as you can as an ex-official, thank you.
Glad the columnist's sober voice is joining those of liberal persuasion who might lack his domain knowledge and experience.
Mr Raman's lip sympathy is not warranted.He knows fully well how his IB to which he belongs carries out their sinsiter plots against Muslims to help the RSS/BJP cause,The cause of Hindutva.He knows well BJP itching for a war with Pakistan in order to come out winners in elections planned and implicated Muslims in the Parliament attack!IB's notorious role will be written in the history books of India with Raman as a co-facilitator.If ever the truth comes out that will another huge setback to BJP.Hence the secrecy.
This is similar to what the SIT under no other than Ragahavan implicated innocent Muslims in the Godhra train carnage which was the handiwork of VHP.If this truth ever comes out Modi and BJP will be gone.Longlive lies and atrocities.
The mitigating factors were examined by the Supreme Court and discarded, end of discussion. The stupidity of the mercy petition rule is that it is now seen as the right of an accused to be pardoned and not a discretionary power of the President. The President seems to have emerged as a super Judiciary. The earlier the courts clarify and more importantly restrict the mercy powers of the President, the better it is
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT