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Death Penalty upheld for Bombay terrorist: The Church of England Newspaper, September 9, 2012 p 6. September 13, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of North India, Terrorism.
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Mohammed Ajmal Kasab entering the Bombay CST station on 26 Nov 2008

A two-judge panel of India’s Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of Mohammed  Ajmal Kasab, dismissing the 25-year old Pakistani’s appeal of his conviction on 80 counts of murder and terrorism charges arising from the 2008 terror attack on Bombay.

In the opinion handed down last week, Justices Aftab Alam and C.K. Prasad held that in “view of the nature of the gravity of his crime and the fact that he participated in waging war against the country, we have no option but to uphold his death penalty.”

Church leaders in India had been divided over the propriety of imposing the death penalty following Kasab’s 10 May 2010 conviction. Catholic leaders had urged clemency citing their church’s social teachings on capital punishment. However, the Church of North India’s general secretary told reporters the sentence was just and that Anglicans did not oppose in principle capital punishment.

Kasab was one of ten heavily armed terrorists who attacked a rail station, hotels, a Jewish center and other Bombay landmarks on 26-29 November 2008 in a rampage that that left 173 dead and 300 injured. A closed circuit television camera captured Kasab carrying a sub-machine gun in the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal where 52 people died.  Kasab was captured by police on the first day of the assault while the other nine were killed in gun battles with police.

Following the 2010 conviction, the Rev. Enos Das Pradhan, General Secretary of the Church of North India said: “We welcome the judgment. It is a message to everybody that the rule of law prevails.”

While Christians differed on the morality of capital punishment, he believed it was ethically just.  It also served as a deterrent to crime, he argued.

However, the head of the Roman Catholic bishops’ Commission for Justice, Peace and Development, Fr. Nithiya Sagayam, said the Catholic Church was opposed to capital punishment.

“Capital punishment does not solve any problem. It will only make things worse,” he argued.

Kasab may ask for reconsideration of the court’s ruling or petition President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee for clemency.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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