What Congress wants from flash execution of Kasab and Afzal

Portray itself as a party that can take firm decisions and counter the rise of Modi


Ajay Singh | February 9, 2013

Shiv Sena supporters celebrate at Jantar mantar after the hanging of Afzal Guru
Shiv Sena supporters celebrate at Jantar mantar after the hanging of Afzal Guru

The Congress seems to lack the cognitive ability to discern that toughness in governance cannot be demonstrated only by flash executions of convicted terrorists. But that's exactly what it wants to convey through the hanging of Ajmal Kasab in November and Afzal Guru early this morning.  

Kasab and Guru were pronounced guilty by the highest court of the land and their mercy petitions were also rejected by the president. So, the only course left for the government was to hang them. If anything, it is a matter of shame that it took the government so long, especially in the case of Guru, to gather its wits and carry out what it was legally mandated to do. 

In recent AICC conclaves, there has been clamour within the Congress party to show firm resolve to counter terrorism emanating from Islamic fundamentalism. The urgency to give the UPA government an image of a firm regime also emanates from the perceived political threat from the emergence of Narendra Modi as a decisive and firm leader. 

There is nothing wrong if the government in its own wisdom decides to execute death warrants because that is the rule of law. But this rule must apply to all and at all times. During the eight years it was dragging its feet on Guru's execution, the UPA government did not tire of telling the country how legal processes and procedures take their own time and that governments have no control over the same. Yet, when it wanted to, the same processes moved with lightning speed and the executions were over in a flash. 

Playing with fire for political profit is an old Congress pastime. It created a Frankenstein for itself when it opened the locks of the Ayodhya temple, feeding the monster of Hindu fundamentalism that led to the demolition of the Babri mosque. It wanted to extract political mileage through communal politics and ended up getting itself scorched in Uttar Pradesh and putting the country through two decades of misery. Similarly, with the sudden executions of Kasab and Afzal, the UPA wants to send a message of toughness because it has been branded as perhaps the most indecisive government ever. 

It is a sad day for the country if the only way the government of the day can demonstrate its resoluteness is through execution of terrorists. 



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