Indian Twitter users hail hanging of Mumbai gunman

People hold placards of Ajmal Qasab with a noose superimposed over him, during celebrations in Agartala, India's northeastern state of Tripura
Image caption Ajmal Qasab's hanging was widely celebrated on the streets and online in India

The execution of Mumbai gunman Ajmal Qasab was welcomed by Indian Twitter users. Within an hour of the news breaking, #Qasab became the top trending term for Indian users. Commentators praised the government for carrying it out without fanfare.

Announcing the hanging, the head of CNN-IBN news channel, Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted: "For once, I am delighted to be giving 'real' breaking news. Mercy petition was rejected on 8th nov, execution at 7.30 am."

The government's decision to give no prior warning about the hanging went down well with many, including the chief minister of Indian-administered Kashmir, Omar Abdullah: "Gotta hand it to the Govts at the centre & in Mumbai for the mature way they handled this. Shows we can still keep a secret if we need to."

Shiv Aroor, deputy editor at Headlines Today news channel, agreed: "Hat tip to Govt for finishing Qasab off quietly, and not sparking a media hoopla by leaking his execution date. Well done."

Commentator Niti Pai said the execution was "well-handled politically".

"If you are going to execute someone, this is the way to do it. No chest beating. No noisy debates. Follow the law of the land. Well done GOI [Government of India]," added Rahul Kanwal, the managing editor of Headlines Today.

'Foot soldier'

However, not everyone was convinced that the government had completed the job.

"Closure? What closure?" tweeted Sachin Kalbag, the executive editor of Mumbai-based newspaper Mid-Day. "Frankly, there is no closure until we get Hafiz Saeed," referring to the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a Pakistani charity and alleged front organisation for militant group Lashkar-e Toiba, which accused of masterminding the attacks.

Film actress Celina Jaitly was concerned that the "source of the ideology of the fanatics who turn young men into terrorists is still alive". ‎

Image caption Qasab's execution was celebrated with fireworks in Ahmedabad

Other users also pointed to Pakistani-based militants as a lingering threat.

Rahul Kanwal tweeted "Qasab eliminated. He was a foot soldier. Generals still roam free in Pakistan. True justice will be served only after Hafiz & co are caught."

A security expert and correspondent for news channel NDTV, Nitin Gokhale, agreed, adding his advice to the Indian government to "put pressure on Pak to act against Hafeez Saeed. Let not mombatiwallhas [peace advocates] say 'move on'. Real justice still elusive."

But Shiv Aroor said: "There's no 'closure' even when Hafiz Saeed is dead." The deputy editor at Headlines Today news channel added: "If you haven't lost someone in 26/11, let's stop talking about closure, please."

Death penalty debate

A few dissenting voices about the use of hanging were heard, such as that of influential journalist Malini Parthasarathy, who tweeted: "Qasab hanged. How does legal sanction for retaliatory murder redeem the savagery of what is in essence an 'eye for an eye' act of revenge?"

Yet most contributors agreed that the death penalty was needed to satisfy the public. Prominent film-maker Mahesh Bhatt tweeted that "granting clemency to terrorists would produce a loss of public faith in the justice system, which is a pillar of any democratic society."

Twitter user Ramesh Srivats was in two minds: "I'm not particularly fond of the death penalty. But still. As it sometimes happens in advertising - Bad idea. But good execution."

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