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“Butcher” and “puppet”, Indian newspapers headlines scream over Kasab

posted 22 Nov 2012, 02:23 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 22 Nov 2012, 02:23 ]

Indian newspapers ran banner headlines calling Mumbai attacker Ajmal Kasab a butcher and a puppet as the front page coverage dominated the execution of the lone surviving attacker of the Pakistan-based squad that rampaged through Mumbai in 2008 killing 166 people.

NEW DELHIINDIA (NOVEMBER 22, 2012) (ANI) - Indian newspapers ran banner headlines on Thursday (November 22) to mark the hanging of Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of the Pakistan-based militant squad responsible for a rampage through Mumbai that killed 166 people.

Some of the headlines screamed "A puppet's life ends on a string", "Secret death, public celebration" as the execution took place days before the fourth anniversary of the assault on the financial capital.

Pakistan national Mohammad Ajmal Kasab was the enduring image of the bloody assault, which traumatised India and raised fears of copycat attacks on foreign cities. Pictures of the boyish gunman wearing a black T-shirt and toting an AK-47 rifle as he strode through Mumbai's train station were published around the world.

Kasab was executed on Wednesday morning amid great secrecy, underscoring the political sensitivity of the Nov. 26, 2008, massacre, which still casts a pall over relations between nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India.

India's leading papers celebrated with lines celebrating the end of the man termed as an 'butcher' and a 'puppet'.

The Times of India leader read 'A Puppet's Life Ends on a String', indicating that Kasab had merely been the executor of a conspiracy hatched by his superiors. Another leading daily, the Hindustan Times, read '26/11 Butcher Hanged'.

The decision to execute Kasab met with approval from all quarters. Senior lawyer Majid Memon said on Wednesday (November 21) that Kasab's case was an example ofIndia's legal system according the accused every opportunity to defend himself.

"We, at our expense, provided him a defence counsel. We gave him a full trial. We did not accept his confession to just summarily convict him. We have given sufficient opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses that were placed before the trial court. Then, after the conviction was recorded by the trial court, he was also given the opportunity for a first appeal and a second appeal in the High Court and the Supreme Court of India, and thereafter again, he was given the opportunity to approach the Honourable President ofIndia for a mercy petition. Everything has been done," Memon said.

Memon also voiced his agreement with the government's decision to keep its plans for the execution under wraps, saying that the move prevented a lot of trouble from happening.

"Secrecy had to be maintained for various reasons, for security, for law and order problems, because if it was publicized, then probably there would have been lots of noise, criticism. Even out of jubilation, there would have been some trouble. So, I think it was in the best interests of everybody that utmost secrecy was maintained," Memon said.

It was the first time a capital sentence had been carried out in India since 2004. There was celebration on the streets of Mumbai and other cities as news of the execution spread, but militant groups in Pakistan reacted angrily, as did residents of his home village of Faridkot.

People set off fireworks and handed out sweets in Indian cities. Some held up photos of Kasab with a rope noose superimposed over his head.

On Thursday, Pakistan's Taliban movement threatened to attack Indian targets to avenge the execution of Kasab.