Should Kasab hang?

Kasab at Chatrapati Shivaji terminus

The Supreme Court has spoken and they say Kasab must hang. This has reopened the debate about the effectiveness of capital punishment as a deterrent. Almost everybody has an opinion on this.

Those against capital punishment argue that centuries of capital punishment has not stopped or reduced heinous crimes. They point to the 139 nations around the world that have given up capital punishment and hold up those nations as examples that must be emulated.

Those for capital punishment remind us about Kandhahar and talk about closure for the victims and their families.

Wherever you or I stand on this debate, the fact remains that given the current state of affairs anything less than capital punishment for Kasab sends out a very wrong signal. Kasab is accused of and has been found guilty of waging an unofficial and dastardly act of war on Indian soil. He deserves nothing less than the maximum allowed punishment under the Indian judicial system, which in this case happens to be a hanging. Giving him anything less than that will send out a message that there is something worse than sneaking into our country like a rat and murdering our people in broad daylight.

While I do feel that the conversation and debate around the effectiveness of capital punishment must continue, it is important to disconnect the debate from the Kasab issue. At no point of time should Kasab and his cronies get the impression that they are going to get anything than the maximum allowed under our laws. By tying the discussion with Kasab, we demean the conversation and polarize opinion based not on the pros and cons of capital punishment but based on what the speaker thinks of Kasab and his ilk of storeroom rats.


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