Don’t Cry for Headley, India!

January 23, 2013

Unbound Breath

Photo Credit: 'AP'

Photo Credit: ‘AP’

Don’t cry for Headley, India. It is good for your feeble heart that you are not able to have him extradited. There would be a hundred compelling sentiments to get hold of the delinquent, a thousand compelling logics to twist his throat, but the question is, are you up to it? In a land where millions retire to the gloom of the night with ‘ash in their bellies’, millions were spent on safe-keeping of a butcher like Azmal Kasab. Indeed, some have doubted whether he was ever executed. They say it was the graceful embrace of Dengue that brought him death and the charade of his hanging was a massive gloss over the shame of not being able to avenge the hundreds slaughtered in the infamous 26/11 Mumbai attack.

Maybe you actually hung him up alive as he breathed, but why this epic hush up? That is fine if you believe to have unfurled Operation Neptune Spear II, but then really? Was Kasab’s execution as upscale a manoeuvre as the capture and summary decimation of Osama Bin Laden? Were you apprehensive of Pakistan launching a full-fledged nuclear fusillade just before the final act in case a schedule of his hanging was to be announced? Come on, give me a sign! Give me a photo of the dead man walking to the gallows! And please don’t computer-generate it. I hear they computer-generated an entire tiger in a movie called ‘Life of Pi’.

The formal head of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary and the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, the President of India represents the ethos of the nation. Recently, an outgoing premier restored life to thirty five grisly death-row inmates. That she could not restore life to one already dead of natural causes was deeply regretted. I am sure you are proud of your Presidents, random slips notwithstanding.

Not that you do not incarcerate your delinquents. But they are frequently out on parole, frolicking in bars and carousels, while their purportedly sick mothers raise toasts at high power gatherings. I am sure you understand me, yet if your memory fails merely because of the sheer multiplicity of such occurrences, I am speaking of Manu Sharma. And I talk of him because I have to quote one case. To be sure, there is a legion out there. Yours is a dangerous expanse. There be dragons!

David Coleman Headley is a state witness in America. Yet, the Chicago Federal Court is likely to slap a minimum 30 years prison term on him. Contrast this to the measly three-year terms awarded to the criminals who turn state witnesses in your land.

So Headley has done his job. 26/11 has come and gone and the dead are all forgotten to all except their family and friends. And Headley has helped getting Tahawwur Rana nailed. He has also provided critical information about Mazhar Iqbal, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba operative, and Ilyas Kashmiri, the leader of Harakat-ul-Jihad al Islami, among many other critical bits and pieces. And by the time Headely completes his term he will be 82. Well, he could still be dangerous and go on a shooting spree that is quite the trend in the west. And he may stage a 9/11 (II) and blow a couple of towers but then, hey, that will not be on your body!

Incidentally, do take care of the decapitated soldiers at the Line of Control. But more than that, do take special care of the security personnel whose entrails are being gouged out and the shells being stuffed with RDX inland.

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About umashankar

The question then is, am I a writer? It is true I wriggle a pen to colour my notepad, or tap at a keyboard to darken the pixels of my desktop screen. If the strings I weave paint a canvas to my readers, borrowing the hues of their own vision, maybe I am.

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42 Comments on “Don’t Cry for Headley, India!”

  1. Jay (@jksingh99) Says:

    Hi USP,

    Indeed, you’ve made valid points. India has a long, inglorious past of Justice delayed and Justice denied as well. Everything is corrupted, mainly the political system. If the political system itself is corrupted, how can we expect speedier case resolutions or Acts being passed or Amendments being made or Laws being enacted.

    People even abstain going to the court fearing that the case might drag on for years and all of their life savings would be spent on an endless battle. They would rather opt for out-of-court settlements.

    Cases such as these become sensationalized for a few days and then die a quick death. People forget and move on, they only realize the importance of these issues once they themselves have to face it.

    Regards

    Jay

    • umashankar Says:

      You have summed it up well, Jay. People can’t go the police and people can’t go to the court. What is worse, the cumulative national conscience has depleted alarmingly. We are heading towards multiple apocalypses. Thanks for your input.

  2. satish Says:

    Thought provoking post as usual–that may be your USP, USP:)

  3. Ranjana Shankar Says:

    Strong words…makes me think…how will we come out of this laid back attitude…

  4. Nomad Says:

    If someone even wanted to overhaul the whole justice system, and bring it at par with what would be acceptable in terms of the modern concept of rights, justice crimes and punishment, I don’t know if it would be doable logistically! The millions of pending cases! And that thought makes me despondent.
    I didn’t know of this rumor about Kasab, I say it is quite possible!

    • umashankar Says:

      That is so true, Nomad. We are well past the critical point of triggering a nuclear-like reaction. Look around, there are a thousand mushroom clouds. We are heading towards the judgement day.

  5. Amit Says:

    The only person who dies before time is the common man. We have mechanisms to safeguard every other type.

  6. debajyoti Says:

    what would US have done if a 9/11 conspirator was hiding in India? India never wanted Headley extradited.

    • umashankar Says:

      Well, US is US and India is India. We have all seen what US did in Pakistan, is doing in Afghanistan and did in Iraq. India, on the other hand, is faltering to lend respect to its security forces within its boundaries, leave alone the citizens, or the aam aadmi, or the aam aurat. To answer you question specifically, yes, the site of Operation Neptune Spear could very much have been India. You think it is hard to penetrate Indian territory? Think of 26/11 again.

  7. nabadip Says:

    Add bittu mohanty to the list of Manu Sharmas.
    You are right.I don’t think it would make sense to extradite Headley anyway.All we would do is feed him for a good 15 years and when the time of his death sentence comes near,the Pres will downgrade the punishment to ‘life’ imprisonment.
    Makes one angry.

    • umashankar Says:

      In fact, if you read the logic furnished by the highest altars of judiciary and the presidency for forgiving the beasts, you blood starts pumping in your brains. As for Headely, that is precisely what I fear too. Thankfully, US is never going to extradite him (or anyone) to India.

  8. meenakshi Says:

    Tough talk. Justice delayed is justice denied. Headley is best left in America only, Otherwise we will have to pay for his ‘boarding and lodging’ too.

  9. R.Ramakrishnan Says:

    Interesting perspectives & probably true. We shall never understand why the likes of Kasab was ” hanged” in such a hush hush manner. We certainly do not want to spend a few hundred crores more for Headley’s upkeep in Indian Jails.

  10. indrani Says:

    Great write up!

  11. arzvi Says:

    To the point. I always feel we Indians are different from other countries in one respect, which is both a boon and bane-Forgiveness. When we talk about Kasab and millions spent on their housing we should remember to add in a talk about our rulers, the ones who pave the way for costly housing of a criminal. Do we have any self-respect to elect those same leaders who have never done useful change to the system except for fact of amassing wealth and continuing nepotism within their ranks?

    We forget and forgive the corrupt,encapsulating the human-rights violation cases they were part of. After a decade we put them back to the pedestal(J.Jayalalita as CM). There are attempts from human rights groups asking for death punishment to be removed. Human rights activists can talk on behalf of humans, not these killing brain-washed animals who know nothing but destruction on behalf of their false-beliefs and pretenses concerning religion etc. Though I feel sad of the jihadists’ brain-washing and the they never got to learn the world around them subjectively I never have a doubt that they should be put out of that misery forever.

    My convoluted discussion again leads to the initial point – we decide who to enact the laws, we decide the brainless politicians who are pathetically slow and inconsiderate to the mood of the nation during these tough times, who have taken around 50 months to get a closure on the captured criminals. It is high time we show forgiveness only within our close family and friends and increase pride and self-respect when coming to elect the rulers. It hurts to even type the word ‘rulers’ considering what some of them said to the press in recent gang-rape case times. These are some of the times when I think India should have limited freedom-like China, and there is no such thing as perfect democracy, which is helped by the biased media like NDTV but I digress.

    Last but not the least – it’s life of Pi and not ‘pie’- it’s life would end with us devouring it with hunger in our stomachs.

    • umashankar Says:

      Arun, I am grateful to experience your controlled yet potent explosion. Indians seem to be perennially stuck between the devil and the deep sea when choosing their politicians who invariably outrage the modesty of the nation, nay, humanity, in turn. Borrowing your exquisite expression for the jihadists, the junta also should be ‘put out of that misery forever’, therefore. You are absolutely correct here: India is no country for democracy.

      Forgiveness is a strange beast. it can be both directly and inversely related to self-respect. And I am afraid, it is the latter that is at work in our case.

      Thank you for the tip on the typo; it has been corrected. I have read the Booker winner a couple of times and recently saw the excellently videographed movie too. Yes, I am getting sloppier! :)

      Thank you for your marvellous input!

  12. Akshay Kumar G Says:

    If we really wanted to extradite a terrorist like Headley we would have done it already, but can we expect our Government to be THAT competent? I seriously doubt it. And yeah, very true about Kasab’s so called execution. The secrecy and the suddenness of the whole process will forever remain suspicious. Instead of taking strong measures to protect our Jawans at the LoC, we take out the frustration on poor sports persons, very illogical and stupid. And we pardon rapists and murderers too. Incompetence galore everywhere. How can people of this country possibly have any faith in the system?

    • umashankar Says:

      You may be right about the calls for Headley’s extradition, Akshay. It may be lip service, after all. And ‘the secrecy and the suddenness’ was gratuitous at best. Soon, the Indian versions of the dictionary are going to drop words like ‘faith’, ‘justice’ and other such irritating noises.

  13. Jas Says:

    We are a host to criminal parasites and history proves that. I don’t know if anyone is the top office is even serious about getting him here.

  14. dNambiar Says:

    USP, that was powerful. All of it.
    The last Kasab-episode was really quite unbelievable. It had to be the dengue.

    Nice to see you back.

  15. sudhir srivastava Says:

    A very powerful post. India is a soft state and all political parties thrive on the policy of appeasement of a particular community. What we need is a leader of the ilk of Narendra Modi at the helm of affairs. You are right about the liquidation of Osama bin Laden. But We live in India where leaders like Digvijay Singh address him as Osamaji and Hafiz Sayeed as Hafiz Sayeed Saheb. Keep writing such pieces because it allows us lesser mortals to vent some of our pent up anger.

    • umashankar Says:

      It is natural for the mediocrity and the hypocrites to hate Modi. No surprises on that count. It is normal for DS to revere ‘Osamaji’ and ‘Hafij Sayeed Saheb’. They are paragons he can look up to. Don’t be shocked either when he addresses the deadly rapists and murderers as Rapist Ji and Murderer Saheb.

  16. inducares Says:

    Brilliant ! India is powerless at the top while individuals do not lag behind in spreading violence or committing heinous crimes .

  17. Purnendu Singh Says:

    By hanging Kasab they killed the pawn, they can never touch the real killers. We cannot expect much from a Home Minister who says ‘Sri Hafiz Sayid’

    • umashankar Says:

      Purnendu, given the state of affairs, the real killers are going to remain out of India’s clasps regardless of the pawn being alive or otherwise. As for ‘Sri Hafiz Sayid’, its best if the powers that be focused on Sri Rapist and Sri Murderer who roam the streets fearlessly first.

  18. matheikal Says:

    Headley is one of the devils we have to face in our life. Without people like him the world would be a nice place. India would be a paradise…

  19. The Fool Says:

    Exactly my thoughts. What are these incompetent idiots going to do even if they get him? Guess they are just posturing to our public in the confidence that USA won’t turn over Headley to them. If the Americans call their bluff, they will end up looking like idiots.

    • umashankar Says:

      Posturing it is, TF! Just as they waxed eloquent in the Delhi Rape Case and the decapitation at the border. Mercifully, they kept quiet when the Naxals did the unspeakable inland.

  20. themoonstone Says:

    Very nicely and correctly worded US. I also didn’t know this story about Kasab but that might explain his hush hush hanging and its sudden urgency ! Nothing much would have come of his being extradited here. He’s probably in much better hands now. At least they secured a conviction, whereas here it would be a case that would just go on and on for decades.

    • umashankar Says:

      Kasab may or may not have met his end in dengue. What is certain though is the questionable mystery around his hanging. Headley is surely in capable hands. Thanks.

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