Death for Kasab 18 months after 26/11 (Roundup)May 6th, 2010 - 8:30 pm ICT by IANS
Mumbai, May 6 (IANS) Nearly 18 months after India’s most wounding terror strike, Pakistani national Ajmal Amir Kasab was Thursday sent to the gallows for his role in the killing spree that took the lives of 166 people with a special court ruling in a much-awaited judgement that he had forfeited the right to live.
Special Judge M.L. Tahaliyani gave him death on four counts — waging war against India, murder, conspiracy to commit murder and indulging in terrorist activities.
“To be hanged by the neck till death,” he intoned after reading out each count, putting Kasab in a queue of over 300 people in death row across the country and triggering a wave of jubilation with most people demanding that his sentence be executed promptly.
The 23-year-old, the lone gunman captured alive among the 10 Pakistanis who had sneaked into Mumbai on the night of Nov 26, 2008 to unleash 60 hours of mayhem, broke down as Tahaliyani read out the sentence.
Kasab, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative born to poverty in a village in Pakistan’s Punjab province, was also awarded life-term on five other charges of the total 86 counts he had been convicted for.
Winding up proceedings in a seven-month fast track trial, the judge said Kasab needed to be sentenced to death. “The penalty must be proportionate to the crime and, if it is not, it will be a mockery of justice and the common man would lose faith.”
He added that Kasab’s “depravity” had been seen at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) where he fired indiscriminately, regardless of “age or sex” — his conviction Monday was based on CCTV footage showing him striding across the busy terminus with an AK-47 and a backpack.
Amid pin-drop silence in the courtroom in the special Arthur Road central jail, Tahaliyani broke into Hindi to explain to Kasab why he had been given death. “Aapko gale se dum nikalne tak phaansi se latkaya jaayega (You will be hanged by the neck till life ebbs out),” he told the Pakistani terrorist.
Rejecting the defence plea that Kasab acted under duress from “LeT masters”, the judge added in his indictment that Kasab had himself “knocked the doors of the LeT” and was “anxious to attack India”.
“I don’t want to say anything,” was what the terrorist told his lawyer J.P. Pawar after the ruling.
As celebratory firecrackers were heard in India’s entertainment and financial capital after the verdict, union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said in the upper house Rajya Sabha that investigators were able to “reconstruct the path (of the 10 attackers) from Karachi to Mumbai”.
Stressing that the conviction was on the basis of evidence not Kasab’s confession, Chidambaram said: “We did not create a Guantanamo Bay. We did not create a military court. Kasab was tried in a normal civil court, except that the judge was designated a special judge.”
Justice has arrived at a “most appropriate conclusion”, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna added.
“We completed the entire trial with dignity, examined over 600 witnesses and completed it on time, though some people accused us of delays,” a triumphant Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said.
Death to Kasab would “heal the wounds of the survivors and family members of the victims”, he told reporters.
As if in echo, Vaishali Omble, the daughter of the late Assistant Sub-Inspector Tukaram Omble, said: “My father’s sacrifice has paid off.”
“I am very happy today that Kasab was awarded death sentence,” added Vaishali, 18 months after her father died holding Kasab in a clinch while the terrorists emptied bullets into him.
That was shortly after the terror assault began in the heart of India’s financial capital on Nov 26 night.
The 10 terrorists targeted sites across the city like the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, the nearby Hotel Oberoi-Trident, the Cama Hospital and the Chabad House, a Jewish prayer centre, and Leopold CafÃ©, a hangout popular with Indians and foreigners.
In its conviction Monday, the special court held Kasab guilty on 86 counts and also listed 20 Pakistanis, including Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders Hafiz Saeed, Abu Hamza and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. It had acquitted the two Indians - Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed.
In its first response, the Pakistani Foreign Office said legal experts were analysing the detailed verdict. Spokesperson Abdul Basit said Pakistan would record its reaction after the review.
Kasab’s sentence will now have to be upheld by the Mumbai High Court, where he can challenge the death sentence. The Supreme Court and a presidential mercy will be open to him after that.
- Kasab is a danger to society: Judge - May 06, 2010
- Kasab will hang, Supreme Court says (Roundup) - Aug 29, 2012
- Father's courage paid off, says braveheart Omble's daughter (Lead) - May 06, 2010
- Kasab: He first took to crime, then to jehad - Aug 29, 2012
- Kasab gets the noose for 26/11 attack (Third Lead) - May 06, 2010
- 26/11 attacks: Bombay HC to decide on Kasab's death penalty - Feb 21, 2011
- High court to decide on Kasab death sentence Feb 21 (Second Lead) - Feb 07, 2011
- Brutal, perverse, depraved Kasab a threat to society: Judges - Feb 21, 2011
- Mumbai terror attack footage to be screened in apex court - Feb 22, 2012
- Kasab to hang for 26/11 terror strike (Second Lead) - May 06, 2010
- Kasab weak, weary ahead of 26/11 verdict - Feb 20, 2011
- Mumbai Special Court to pronounce Kasab sentence today - May 06, 2010
- Timeline of case against Kasab - Aug 29, 2012
- Kasab guilty of 26/11, Indians absolved (Second Intro Roundup) - May 03, 2010
- Kasab to appeal death sentence in Supreme Court - Feb 23, 2011
Tags: ajmal, ak 47, arthur road, central jail, chhatrapati shivaji terminus, common man, conspiracy to commit murder, depravity, gallows, jubilation, killing spree, lashkar e taiba, lone gunman, mockery of justice, murder conspiracy, pakistanis, pin drop, punjab province, special judge, terrorist activities