A month of secrecy, planning

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab was hanged today but the contours of the plan, executed with utmost secrecy, to bring to an end one significant aspect of the judicial process regarding the 26/11 attack may have been drafted more than a month back.

Secrecy was paramount, given the clear political fallout and diplomatic ramifications, with a select few within the political leadership privy to developments and officials as well as other players brought into the loop — strictly on a need-to-know basis — gradually at subsequent stages. "The element of secrecy was critical. The government was clear that it should neither be glorified or turned into a media event," said minister of state for home R P N Singh.

Joining the dots now, what seems to be of much significance is the series of meetings President Pranab Mukherjee had with the top political leadership in and around October 16, ostensibly related to discussions on the impending cabinet reshuffle but where other important issues too were obviously discussed. He held meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi that day and the same evening, the Ministry of Home Affairs forwarded a recommendation to Rashtrapati Bhavan recommending that the President reject Kasab's mercy plea, sent in September. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde also called on the President on October 18; so did emerging power-mover Rahul Gandhi.

The impact of Kasab's hanging is not difficult to fathom. The 26/11 attack symbolised an attack on India's nationhood and celebrations all over the country on learning of Kasab's execution underscored the deep-rooted anger in the public on the issue. The timing of the decision could not be ignored either —the UPA government has been under continuous attack over a host of issues including corruption and price rise and the Opposition was now gearing to put it on the mat over FDI in multi-brand retail in the winter session of Parliament beginning tomorrow.

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