They might have indeed succeeded but the fate did it in. Kasab died of Dengue and Shinde and Thadakka cashed on it by hanging his dead body!
A serving member and a former member in the Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council (NAC) were among the 203 petitioners to the President of India seeking mercy for Ajmal Kasab, the main accused in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which claimed 164 lives.
An RTI reply in this regard has revealed that Aruna Roy, who is at present a member of the influential NAC, and Harsh Mander, a former member in the body, were among the scores of others, including several journalists and social activists who filed mercy pleas for Kasab.
“Mander, a former NAC member, wrote to the President of India seeking clemency for Ajmal Kasab, who had been sentenced to death by a trial court as well as the Supreme Court. But President Pranab Mukherjee was gracious enough to reject the clemency petition as well as the strong recommendation by the NAC member,” Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy told reporters here on Friday. Kasab was hanged on November 21, last year.
Swamy distributed copies of the letter received under the Right to Information Act by one of his party members about details of persons who sent in mercy petitions to the President for Kasab. Both Roy and Mander figure in the 203-strong list.
Besides the two, another key social activist figuring in the list happens to be Nikhil Dey. “These are the kind of people sitting as members of the NAC to decide the fate of this country,” Swamy alleged. Mander, who was a member of the NAC till last year, had also courted controversy for his pleas to save Afzal Guru, one of the main accused in the 2001 Parliament attack case, from the gallows.
When contacted, Harsh Mander sent an article, ‘The Quality of Mercy’, that he had written after Kasab’s hanging in November last year saying it reflected his views on the issue. “I feel even more worried when the Supreme Court declares in a particular matter of a political crime of terror that the death sentence must be applied to ‘satisfy the collective conscience’ of the nation; or the clearly political motivations in the haste with which Kasab was executed,” Mander said in the article.
He, however, admitted that Kasab’s “trial was fair, his conviction just, his crime merciless and horrendous therefore many celebrated his hanging as fitting closure to a people traumatised by his offence.”
“But I was among those who believed that his hasty execution was an exercise in collective revenge unworthy of a humane people, and would have greatly preferred instead the applicationof public compassion,” he wrote adding even the most unrepentant criminal who wrongs us most grievously, still is worthy of our compassion.
For her part, Aruna Roy refused to comment saying she has been travelling for 10 hours and was very tired. She said that at the age of 67, a 15-hour work schedule had tired her so much that she was not in a position to give any reaction immediately and so The Pioneer should send her an SMS.
The SMS sent went un-replied. But later, Nikhil Dey spoke for himself and on Roy’s behalf too. Dey said he and Roy are against death penalty and wanted that instead of being executed Kasab should have been imprisoned for long. “We are not for death penalty. It is our long standing position that death penalty be abolished. We didn’t want clemency or mercy for Kasab, but wanted that he should be imprisoned for life,” he said, adding that generally Fidayeens want to kill themselves to project themselves as martyrs and death penalty would serve this purpose.