<p>Ajmal Kasab’s hanging, coming as it does on the heels of the fourth anniversary of the attack by terrorists from Pakistan on Mumbai (November 26, 2008, also termed 26/11) and a day before commencement of a stormy session of Parliament, has evoked positive reactions across the political spectrum.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has said it was a case of “better late than never”. It has also demanded the government expedite the execution of Afzal Guru, convicted in the terrorist attack on Parliament a decade earlier. For the harassed Congress-led UPA coalition, the decision comes as a shot in the arm as it braces for a no-confidence motion followed by an all-out attack by opposition parties on a host of issues.
The BJP says the decision will serve as a warning to terrorists and their mentors across the border. “The country expects our government to send such strong messages and give such punishment to those who have bloodied their hands with the death of hundreds of innocent people,” said Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, party vice-president.
It was Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who tweeted a reminder to the government on the other long-pending issue. “What about Afzal Guru, who attacked Parliament, our temple of democracy, in 2001? That offence predates Ajmal Kasab’s heinous act by many years,” he said on Twitter.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh told reporters, “I welcome it. Now, the government of India should pursue the case against the handlers in Pakistan. They should expedite the decision on Afzal Guru.”
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said, “A dastardly terrorist act was perpetrated. (With) An investigative process that culminated in a multi-layered fair judicial process, playing itself out right upto the Supreme Court, the law has taken its own course.”
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Gotta hand it to the Govts at the centre & in Mumbai for the mature way they handled this. Shows we can still keep a secret if we need to.”
Union minister and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah welcoming the decision, saying, “I think it is justice done, something the nation wanted for a long time. Finally, the man who had entered our country and killed so many innocent people has been hanged. I am glad the President refused clemency and finally he was hanged this morning.”
Shiv Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut said the party’s founder-supremo, Bal Thackeray, who passed away on Saturday, would have been a happy man today.