Two deaths captured media attention this week. One is that of Mr. Bal Thakeray, founder of the Shiv Sena party and another is that of Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, Muslim terrorist gunman.
Mr. Bal Thackeray, one of the most conflict-ridden figures in Indian politics, passed away earlier this week. As per Indian media estimates, around 1.5 million people attended his funeral. Hundreds of thousands of people crammed the streets of Mumbai to have a glimpse of the funeral procession of Mr. Thackeray. The body of Mr. Thackeray was draped in the Indian flag and his eyes were clad with his trademark sunglasses. In 1966, he quit his career as a cartoonist with the daily Free Press Journal to form Shiv Sena, a political organization with a viewpoint that the Marathis have the first right over Mumbai. Mr. Thackeray became controversial in 1992-93 due to alleged involvement of Shiv Sena leaders and party members in organizing attacks on Muslims. Again in 2002 and 2008, he encouraged the Hindus to take a stand against Muslims. However, he was never convicted of any offence related to riots.
“Allah kasam maaf karna. Aisi galthi dobara nahi hogi.,” were the last understandable words spoken by Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab. He was hanged till death on Wednesday morning at Yerwada central prison near Pune. In 2008, Kasab along with other 9 gunmen entered Mumbai by boat carrying automatic weapons and hand grenades. On the night of November 26, 2008, they drastically struck at various locations across Mumbai and killed 166 people using the weapons they carried. Kasab, a baby faced terrorist belonging to a terror outfit LeT, spraying bullets at a crowded Mumbai railway station became the face of the carnage. He was caught alive, whereas the rest of the gunmen were killed during encounters. At last, he was hanged in secret just days before the fourth anniversary of the attacks. He had no final wishes except that his mother be informed of his death.