Thursday, April 30, 2009

Of Kasab, civility and the criminal justice system

The headlines in our media are reverberating with the news of the most important and expensive terrorist caught in the history of Independent India - Ajmal Amir Qasab, the lone terrorist caught in the brutal attack on humanity. Nothing more is left to be said about the Barbarian attack and nothing would ever suffice to describe it. It shows the ugly side of being human. Something we as a human race have subjected, only the meek and feeble race amongst us. The same treatment was being meted out that night, in culling of the human emotions and human flesh alike.

It does not make a difference that the 10 "jihadis" had not ever met a Jew in their life, but had been indoctrinated so viciously about Jews that for them, it had become a duty towards the Almighty, to kill them in Chabad House. So much for a set of 72 virgins? What if they found that the virgins were all Fat, Old and Ugly I ask?

Currently, the news is about how the most guarded terrorist in the country is smiling in the trial courts or for that matter his "demands" about having a stroll out in the verandah to maintain his mental stability or he wanting toothpaste and "perfume"... PERFUME?? did he ask for? FUMES my conscience...

Did he ever think of what is happening to the liberty and the mental status of the family of the numerous people he butchered that night? So many families destroyed and so many more people having lost their mental stability forever in the loss of their loved ones, bread winners or upon whom they were complete dependents?

The question that comes to my mind is, Is this required? What do we prove and to whom? To ourselves that we are a civil society and would uphold the justice system even for our most staunchest enemy? Or to save the blushes we had to incur as in the case of Mohammed Afzal Guru, the terrorist who admitted that he had plotted the parliament attack, who later argued that he had not been "tried" in a trial court in India, so he should be pardoned off the death penalty awarded to him? Or are we trying to show the world that we are a civilised society and the whole process of criminal justice system has been followed in nailing down the terrorist to his damned death, judicially?

How long the case would go on we are not sure. On the other hand, how much time did the Iraqi court take to hang Saddam Hussein? Justice delayed is justice denied, isn't it? Isn't the justice system supposed to do what its stands for, that is delivering justice? Isn't this exercise a futile one at that? Isn't it making a martyr out of a chap, who just went about getting influenced by anyone who promised him a bread and then wielded a gun to spray bullets upon any soul crossing him, be it any innocent citizen or an innocent policeman?

The ethics of practicing the legal system seem to be making the lawyer Abbas Kazmi take up the case and fight tooth and nail to pin down the arguments against his client. Now, upholding the virtue of truthfulness isn't an ethic that needs to be followed in the legal system? Isn't it included in the duties of a lawyer? Why do lawyers want their clients to win, using every loophole in the system that they can think of rather than in helping the truth to be out? Qasab is a juvenile and should be tried in the Juvenile court was an argument. Thanks to a medical conclusion that said he is 21, he will be tried as an adult... what if he had been 17? Would he have been meted out with the maximum of 3 years imprisonment as in all cases with regards to juvenile criminals? So much for killing people mercilessly... ???

No one deserves hatred in this world and least of all a guy who is being used as a pawn in a larger game of politics and religion. But, going through the complete judicial process, which leads to a petition for Presidential Pardon in the later stages and the media highlighting how comfortable our enemy is, while being held for leaving us in discomfort, only adds to our frustration.

A speedy trial and a balanced reporting by the media is all that is a must in this case. Instead of making him a celebrity and reporting which side he has been scratching, the media needs to focus on the hardships that he is going through. How he is defeated in all his purpose and most importantly how he has been used by his Masters in Pakistan and has been hastily abandoned. Denying even an acknowledgement of him being ever inside Pakistan, how he is all alone now. This would help in discouraging future Qasabs. THAT IS, actually, the need of the hour. That is what justice supposedly is for, to discourage future occurrences of a crime. Alas, it seems we are still asking for too much from the sensational-news starved media.

I do not care how he smells or whether he has bad breath or if he has been relaxing his leg muscles after a stroll outside and I DONT WANT TO CARE! What I care is how the string-pullers in Pakistan would be discouraged, when the other "jihadis" look out at the example of Qasab and discover how useless an ideology is being sold to them.

We had an excellent chance to make an example out of Qasab, but sadly we have made a wrong example out of him. At least until now.

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