-Rajesh Tyagi/ 15 May 2010
On May 3, 2010, a special court at Mumbai, has convicted Kasab, a Pakistani national for his alleged role in Mumbai carnage of 2008, acquiring infamy as 26/11 of India, holding him guilty on five counts -attempt to murder, conspiracy to wage war, collecting arms with an intention to wage war against the nation, kidnapping in order to commit murder and causing explosion to endanger life or property, and has further sentenced him on 6 May 2010 to death penalty, rejecting his plea of mercy, alongwith several other lesser punishments for different charges.
The five Indian nationals accused of the conspiracy, however, have been acquitted of the charges by the Court. The special court had already issued non-bailable warrants against 22 absconding accused, most of them Pakistani nationals, including Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafeez Saeed and chief of operations of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Zaki-ur-Rehman Laqvi.
23 year old Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, is the lone attacker captured alive by the police, out of the ten attackers, in the terrorist attack of 26/11 on Mumbai, which had claimed lives of 183 people.
Judging by Indian standards, both the investigation and trial in the case had gone at an amazing pace. The whole investigation into the case, whose strings according to the prosecution were rooted across the border, and which ran into more than 11,000 page chargesheet filed on 25 February 2009, was completed within about two months. The trial itself starting in April 2009, on 86 charges, after appointment of Judge M.L. Tahiliani in January 2009 as presiding officer, was completed within one year.
The establishment in India has shown exemplary enthusiasm in the case to secure the convictions, as the elite hotel ‘Taj’ was made the focussed target in Mumbai attack.
While the trial was on, startling exposure was made in media of the links of the conspiracy behind the terror attack of 26/11 on Mumbai, to its chief perpetrator, the agent of US FBI David Headley, who reportedly had done discreet reiki of the region and had masterminded the whole carnage. More surprisingly, David Headley, was reported to be part of the five member team which had come to India and had interrogated Kasab in Mumbai after his arrest. With this exposure, the whole investigation done in the case had stood vitiated, as it failed to bring forth the crucial Headley link. But neither the trial was stopped, nor the prosecution made any move for re-investigation into the case, as per the law. Within no time, David Headley was taken by the US administration under its own wings, who then refused to hand over him to India for investigation. After exposure, US claimed that Headley had ditched them and had acted as double agent for Pakistan in carrying out the attack on Mumbai.
Notable is the fact that Kasab had categorically pleaded guilty of the main charges for which he otherwise could have been sentenced with death. On 20 July 2009 Kasab had pleaded guilty to all charges. With this, there remained hardly any need for a trial. In view of plea of guilty, a lesser punishment would have been imposed, keeping the capital punishment out of question. The Court, however, refused to accept his plea of ‘guilty’, and Kasab withdrew the plea, later, on 18 December 2009.
The defence counsel, Anjali Waghmare, appointed as amicus by the Court, was discharged soon after her appointment. The subsequent defence Counsel appointed by the Court for Kasab, Abbas Kazmi, who was instrumental in raising the plea of ‘guilty’ which tended to rule out the capital punishment, was discharged on the ground that he failed to co-operate in the trial. However, it was not clear what ‘cooperation’ from the side of defence was or could be expected by the Court.
In March, Kasab was recorded to have demanded the chargesheet in Urdu, in accordance with Court rules, as he did not understand either Marathi or English, but on June 2, Kasab was recorded by the Court to have ‘conceded’ that he understood Marathi! Trial of Kasab, for which prosecution has made tall claims of openness, was in fact conducted in isolated confines of the Jail premises.
The very moment the order of conviction and then again the sentence was pronounced by the Court upon Kasab, the prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, surprisingly appeared before the media, with printed booklets in his hand depicting on their cover page the conviction and then sentence of death awarded to Kasab. While legal avenues of appeal etc. remain yet to be explored, the Union Minister of Law, Veerappa Moily, appeared in media saying that Kasab would be hanged this year itself, thereby prejudging the whole issue and making mockery of the legal process.
Kasab was born on 13 July 1987, in Okara village in the Faridkot District of Punjab, Pakistan. His father makes a living selling dahi puri while his elder brother Afzal, 25, works as a laborer in Lahore. His elder sister, Rukaiyya Husain, is married while younger sister Suraiyya, and brother Munir, live in Faridkot with the parents. Village of Okara in Faridkot is quite poor with a remote feel, despite being close to a town. Most people have little education and live in acute poverty.
Kasab had briefly joined his brother Afzal in Lahore, who worked as a labourer, and then returned to Faridkot. He left home after his father could not afford him new clothes on Eid, and then took to petty crimes with his friend Muzaffar Lal Khan. In December 2007, Kasab was recruited by Terrorist groups in Pakistan, trained and assigned the task to attack Mumbai, on promise of payment of Rs. one and a half lakhs to his family, after the task was over.
In stark contrast of all accusation made by the corporate media, what Kasab told his interrogators is eye opener. His confessions recorded on video reveal that he had but a very limited understanding of jihad. He told interrogators "it is about killing and getting killed and becoming famous”. "Come, kill and die after a killing spree. By this one will become famous and will also make Allah proud”, is what the suspect said when police asked him what he understood about jihad.
According to the Interrogating officer, Ajmal Amir spoke Pathani Hindi and told the police that he threw up the moment he saw all the blood and gore. "Qasab said that he could not bear the sight of dead bodies and after creating enough havoc wanted to go back to Pakistan", the officer said.
"We were told that our big brother India is so rich and we are dying of poverty and hunger. My father sells dahi wada on a stall in Lahore and we did not even get enough food to eat from his earnings. I was promised that once they knew that I was successful in my operation, they would give Rs 1,50,000, to my family", said Qasab.
He shocked the police through his readiness to switch loyalties now that he was apprehended. "If you give me regular meals and money, I will do the same for you that I did for them," he said.
"When we asked whether he knew any verses from the Quran that described jihad, Ajmal Amir said he did not," police said. "In fact he did not know much about Islam or its tenets," according to the Interrogators.
Markedly, the death penalty to Kasab has been declared by the Indian Court on the close heels of issue of ‘black warrant’ of death penalty in Pakistan against Sarabjit Singh an Indian national and alleged spy for intelligence of India, charged and convicted for masterminding the serial bomb blasts in Pakistani cities of Lahore and Multan in 1990, killing 14 and injuring many. Sarabjit was convicted and sentenced with death, after being kept for 19 years in Jail by the Army.
He remained in solitary confinement for over 19 years in a small cramp cell without insufficient space for him to stand upright. Until the recent intervention of a human rights group from Canada, Sarabjit remained shackled in his cell.
Sarabjit was awarded the death penalty by the Anti-Terrorist Court of Pakistan in 1991, based on the original confession he had made before a Magistrate. His sentence was upheld by the High Court and later by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court rejected his mercy petition in March 2006 and upheld the death sentence. President Pervez Musharraf had rejected his mercy petition on March 3, 2006. On 24 June 2009, Supreme Court dismissed the review petition filed by Sarabjit.
Sarabjit, a resident of Bhikiwand, in Amritsar (India), was arrested by the Mujahid Force on Aug 30, 1990, near Kasur border, inside Pakistani territory, and handed over to the Intelligence Battalion in Lahore for interrogation.
On August 24, 2005 foreign office spokesman Naeem Khan said that ‘The alleged Indian agent Manjit Singh confessed his involvement in bomb blasts in Pakistan whose all evidences were presented in court.
According to the record, he was arrested red handed during crossing the border in August 1990 near Kasur. Nine days later, he was produced before a Magistrate as ‘Manjit Singh’, a man wanted for acts of terrorism in Pakistan. Before the Magistrate, Manjit confessed to his crime. Pakistan claimed he was working for the Indian intelligence agency RAW, when he was arrested in Lahore.
Sarabjit is video recorded to have told his interrogators that he had been trained by the Indian Military Intelligence (IMI) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to carry out a series of bombings in Lahore, Kasur and Faisalabad. He also confessed that he had been paid Rs. 36,000/- by RAW for the task. Fourteen people were killed and 89 others were injured in these blasts.
Shaukat Salim, a key witness of prosecution in the case against Sarabjit, whose father and other relatives were killed in the attack, was caught on tape retracting his statement on April 26, 2008, saying that he had made the statements implicating Sarabjit under pressure from the Pakistani police. However, in view of this media exposure, prosecution had dropped Shaukat from the list of witnesses.
Mentionable is the intriguing role played by Sarabjit’s lawyer Rana Abdul Hamid, whose non-pursuance of the case led to the dismissal of Sarabjit’s mercy petition.
Hamid did not appear during at least two hearings of the case in the apex court of Sarabjit's review petition. A three-member bench of the apex court had however dismissed the review petition and upheld Sarabjit's death sentence. The judges noted that Sarabjit's counsel had not appeared in court but they had studied his case and found "no ground" to review the death sentence.
The said Abdul Hamid was appointed as Additional Advocate General of Punjab province by the Government, during pendency of trial itself. This all tends to cast a strong shadow upon the claims of fairness of the trial.
The issue of legal representation for Sarabjit has been mired in confusion over several weeks with Rana Abdul Hamid and another lawyer Sheikh, claiming to be his counsel.
Sarabjit was ultimately handed over the death sentence, but his hanging was repeatedly postponed and consequently he remains imprisoned in the Kot Lakhpat jail, in Lahore, awaiting his execution.
In these terror attacks, on both sides of the border, in Lahore, Multan and Mumbai, hundreds of innocent people were killed, while governments of both countries openly blamed each other for having hand behind the attacks.
These allegations hold water in the settings of imperialist world, where the nation states all over the globe, remain at loggerheads with each other. The advanced Imperialist countries, on the one hand, unite to subjugate the backward countries, while, on the other, they fight each other for division of the rest of the world among themselves. The backward countries, in their turn have all converted themselves into cheap labour and raw material platforms in the service of global capitalism, controlled by the Imperialist countries. Huge profits, generated through fusion of Imperialist capital with these cheap platforms, are then shared between the Imperialist bourgeois and national bourgeois of backward countries.
Like the Imperialist Bourgeois of the world metro, compete among itself to grab the pie in the resources of human and other raw materials, the national bourgeois of different countries in the backward world, contest among them to grab more and more pie of the globally mobile productive capital. These contests among the countries, though go in line with established norms, laid down by the global capitalist agencies like the world bank and IMF, but frequently overstep the precincts of these norms. This overstepping, results into armed conflict between nation states, i.e. the War. Even when the circumstances, national and international do not permit such open conflict developing into a war, the national bourgeois advance their economic interests against each other, through a sort of cold or proxy war. The aim of this proxy war remains the destruction of economic built up, peace and harmony, of the rival state, so that its land does not remain a preferred choice for investment of global capital and the same thus could be routed to itself. This is what we know in the name of ‘terrorism’.
Peripheral national states with belated capitalist development, the backward countries ruled by the capitalists, are indulged into a cut-throat competition with each other, to attract more and more global capital to its territories. To do this, it is imperative to destroy the rival countries in the race, while simultaneously curry favour among the imperialist nations, who directly influence not only the distribution of the global capital, but also exert decisive influence in conflicts among the backward world. Both the capitalist governments of India and Pakistan, irrespective of the fact who remained in power in them, had been striving hard and competing each other in appeasing the Imperialist rulers, especially that of the United States.
The process of integration of the complex phenomenon of investment and production, termed as capitalist globalisation, confronts us, within the structures of world imperialism, i.e. the system of the nation states, both Imperialist and backward. The dog-fight among the nation states, ruled by the different national gangs of capitalists, to share the booty of the world capital, is responsible, thus, for the biggest ever misfortunes of the humanity, in our times, in the form of Wars, overt and covert. As the world economy goes into periodic cycles of recessions, pushing capitalism into virtual crisis, the fight among the nation states acquires especially high proportions and they step up the hostilities against each other, striving desperately for their own survival out of the crisis.
These capitalist nation states, the logistic pillars of imperialism, are the bulwark of all major destruction. They are ready made prisons for modern productive forces, which tend to expand globally, but are arrested, compressed and trimmed to accommodate within the narrow confines of these nation states. Not only the two world wars, were the direct result of this conflict between the globally ever-expanding productive forces and the system of nation states, but the continuing contest among them, reflected in overt and covert wars against each other, pushes the humanity to the edge of the prospects for a third world war.
However, frightened at the prospects of a world proletarian revolution, emerging out of the mechanics of the third world war, the capitalist rulers of the world, hesitant to go for an all out war, are carrying out covert wars to weaken each other, through physical destructions. Bombs and bullets, Grenades and AK-56’s, like the sons of the poor peasants and workers, are the blind pawns in this game of capitalists to mince the profits for them.
Notably, both Kasab and Sarabjit, belonged to very poor social background. They both had been charged and tried for the offences, from which they do not and cannot legitimately expect to gain anything substantial. They both are now to the way to gallows for a criminal war which is not theirs.
Legally speaking they had a very negligible small personal motive, but no stake in the gameplan out of which had stemmed the terrorist attacks in Lahore and Mumbai. While Kasab is accused to have indulged in the game for one and a half lakh rupees, Sarabjit is accused of doing it for 36,000 rupees.
Sarabjit and Kasab, have no interest of their own in this game, against each other, except an arrangement of food, clothing and shelter for their families.
The question arises thus, if Sarabjit and Kasab are the tools in the hands of real perpetrators of crime, who then are these perpetrators, what benefit they want to derive from these ghastly attacks and what is the real motivation behind all this bloody game?
Needless to say that the material interest behind the game, is of those, for whom Sarabjits and Kasabs hold the bombs and guns, whose cause they advance on the soil of rival nation-states, by staking their own life. They have to pay for the crimes, masterminded by others, while the real beneficiaries would claim with ease, “let the law take its own course”.
The real terrorists, who fight the covert wars with bombs and bullets killing innocents, in whose interest these wars are fought, then decide the fate of those who act as dead tools in their hands. Capitalist prosecutors then shout for the heads of these ‘terrorists’.
The hate towards the poor, in the minds of these elite bosses, cannot be expressed better than in their own words. While dismissing the Appeal in Sarabjit’s case, in 2005, the Judges in Supreme Court of Pakistan had observed unanimously that Sarabjit deserved to die and did not warrant any leniency. Further expressing this hate, the elite Judges observed that although Sarabjit Singh was convicted by the trial court only on one count of terrorism, he should have been convicted and sentenced separately for each murder in each case.
Shamelessly, these elite bosses disown these stooges, the moment they fall prey in the hands of the rival state. If Pakistan had dumped Kasab, India has done the same with Sarabjit.
Political settings in the background of the apparent terrorist attacks have been more and more highlighted by the vicious propaganda carried out in both countries through the corporate media and other organs of the establishments themselves. Before, during and after the trials they kept shouting to send the ‘terrorists’ to gallows as early as possible, making a virtual mockery of the whole exercise of investigation and trial.
One cannot be oblivious to the fact that apart from the essentially bourgeois elite establishments in India and Pakistan, hostile to each other and contending for regional hegemony, it is the great Asian game of imperialist powers in Asia, of which David Headley may be a small link. David’s involvement in Mumbai carnage and his shielding by the US administration, brings forth the role of US intelligence in flaring up the political rivalry between the two Asian states and simultaneously weakening them both.
Since the partition of India in 1947 and creation of Pakistan with communal identity, communalism and nationalism had remained two chief political weapons in the armoury of the elite rulers on both sides of the border. Instigating their people against each other, the establishments have succeeded in preventing the working class of the two countries to realize the unity of class interests between them and that against the capitalist and landlord rulers of these countries. By succeeding in sowing hostility between the religious communities of Hindus and Muslims, the elite rulers have succeeded in maintain their power and control over their workers and toiling people. The partition of India, masterminded by the British colonialists to draw a permanent divide between the working and toiling masses, thus continues to be a vital source of strength of the ruling classes of both countries.
Poor people are made scapegoats in this big game of capitalist bosses, and are left to bear the brunt of the conflict between the capitalist rulers of their countries! There are innumerable Kasabs and Sarabjits, on both sides of the border, languishing in jails under most inhuman conditions and many more can be easily lured to stake their lives, in exchange for meagre necessities of life.
Is it the poor pawns, who ought to be sent to gallows? Or they, whose interest they serve? Who is the real terrorist? Is there a hidden enemy of the people- a terrorist- other than both Sarabjit and Kasab?
The continuous striving of the capitalist nation states to control and extend their sphere of domination and permanent rivalry arising out of it among them, has made the world especially the backward territories a battleground for imperialist interests. The rivalry among the nation states is the fountainhead of all wars, open and proxy. The poor are being used as cannon fodder in this war fought solely in the interest of elite bosses. Till the capitalists rule the world with their power rooted in the system of nation states, the conflicts and wars, both overt and covert, are inevitable and the poor would be forced to pay for these conflicts through their sweat and blood.