The hanging of Ajmal Kasab (it’s actually ‘Kasaab’, butcher in his native tongue) has closed one chapter on the sordid saga of the attacks on Mumbai four years ago. For the families of the victims of those ghastly attacks, the execution has provided some relief. Many have said they are now prepared to move on, some even want to spread the message of peace. It also bears reiterating that for the families that carry the wounds of 26/11, the hanging of Kasab carries an important message. But it is a fallacy for India’s government to assume that this shows their resolve to act tough against terror. And did we really use Kasab to our complete advantage? Pakistan’s establishment is still in denial and has disowned Kasab, as they had disowned their dead soldiers in the Kargil conflict as also in the earlier wars.
Kasab was a small cog in the wheel. The true masterminds of the 26/11 massacre are still at large in Pakistan, where they enjoy state patronage. These range from Hafiz Saeed, the founder and chief mentor of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), who continues to spout venom against India at public gatherings without censor, and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the LeT’s chief military commander, who has the dubious distinction of having fathered a child during his current jail tenure! Kasab knew these men—as David Headley and others have already stated—and he would have also known Sajid Mir, the plotter of the 26/11 attacks, as well as the ISI’s Major Samir, both still at large. Clearly, the complicity of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies was considerable, but its hawks are unrepentant on their terror tryst. We failed to exploit Kasab’s knowledge of these men. Televised interviews, with the international media in attendance, of Kasab identifying his handlers, would have done wonders for India’s case against Pakistan.
Perhaps then, international opinion would have forced Pakistan to move faster on the reams of evidence on the 26/11 attackers that New Delhi has handed over to Islamabad. In retrospect, India’s diplomatic efforts to get Pakistan to abandon terror as a policy tool has had little success. And despite Pakistan dragging its feet on the 26/11 investigations, the UPA has resumed bilateral talks, even though they delude themselves into believing it’s not a ‘composite’ dialogue!
And despite several crores, by some estimates, being spent on Kasab’s security and for the legal process of his trial and conviction, the one question that punches a hole in our claims that everything was by the book and above board, is: ‘Why weren’t Pakistan’s lawyers allowed to cross-examine Kasab?’ Some argue that circumstantial evidence, footage of Kasab gunning people down, and his admissions thereafter were adequate proof. However, Pakistani lawyers (many of whom toe the government line), denied an opportunity to speak to Kasab and record his statement, question India’s claims of due process.
While no objective observer of events would question Kasab’s hanging—which he certainly deserved—it is clear that India failed to fully exploit his capture.
Maroof Raza is a strategic affairs expert on Times Now; E-mail your columnist: razamaroof AT gmail.com
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.
Terrorism is a problem which is social. Children find guns, and kill other children and adults, perhaps fifty of them, at a time. The U. S. cannot do anything about this domestic problem, before it happens. The problem just doesn't have to happen. How can we prevent such incidents? The U. S. is saying, they expect these incidents to happen, when they take such elaborate measures to prevent them, but they expect these happenings from international sources. It appears, domestic incidents of this nature in the U. S., have become very few in number, compared to the past, because of 9/11, and international incidents have been controlled, also. Every act of murder, is seen as an act of terror, it appears, and the phenomenon of children doing what was described above, is an act, which seems to suggest that children want the adults to feel the effect, amplified.
The trouble with the tough narrative on terror is that it leads into a cul de sac. Either today or tomorrow, both nations have to sit down and find a peaceful solution to their problems.
This is the best article that I have read @OutlookIndia for quite some time.
I had given up on finding any common sense at all over here.
Thank You, Maroof!!
Outlook India : Then, There Was None
It’s a fallacy for the govt to assume that by hanging kasab, it showed its resolve to fight terrorism.
Maroof Raza ,as always,is correct in his assessment.But, let him enumerate the steps the GOI should have taken before Kasaab's hanging .
Pakistan still continues to be in the denial mode. Does the former President of India,Ms Pratibha Patil,have much to explain to the nation for withholding Kasaab's execution for so many years during her tenure? The delay only contributed to the cost of Kasaab's upkeep by spending on his boarding,lodging and ,most of all, the security cover. A sum of Rs 65 crores was reportedly spent.
A K SAXENA (A retired civil servant)
It appears, the Islamic identity was supposed to fight terrorism within. Apparently, the non-Islamic identity is helping the other side win, within Islam, and within the Islamic person. Kasab seems to epitomise this, and he gave up, that which he believed in, and became stridently against, what he did not believe in. It appears, he still believed in what he believed he did, before. I don't think, that religion defines, what he believed in. Apparently, he thought his action would be more valid in India, than in Pakistan. He didn't think, it would make a difference in Pakistan.
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