All eyes were on Monday riveted on the Arthur Road Jail, which was virtually turned into a fortress for the anti-terror court’s verdict in the trial of Pakistani gunman Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab and two Indians for their alleged role in the 26/11 terror attacks.
Around 1,000 policemen were deployed outside the bomb-proof and bullet-proof court located inside the prison, while a battery of mediapersons and curious onlookers waited outside since this morning.
There was a minor commotion when a group of eight college students raised slogans demanding death penalty for the accused. All of them wore black T-shirts, with “’dadagiri’ against terrorism” emblazoned on them.
They were immediately bundled into a police van and taken away.
Special Judge M. L. Tahaliyani arrived in the court around 10.45 a.m. He was followed by special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and the advocates representing the accused.
Checkposts were set up at strategic points along the Sane Guruji Marg which leads to the prison near Saat Rasta in south Mumbai while lane adjacent to the prison wall was closed for traffic.
Patrolling was intensified and sand bunkers erected behind which armed policemen stood guard.
Since the trial began about a year ago, Kasab has been lodged in a bullet and bomb-proof cell inside the jail especially designed to protect him from any attack. This cell is connected to the court by a tunnel which no bullet or bomb splinters can penetrate.
The Pakistani gunman is guarded by a 200-strong contingent of Indo-Tibetan Border Police.
The jail is divided into two sections - one housing the court and Kasab’s cell and the other having 11 barracks, a jail hospital and an egg-shaped cell meant for high-profile inmates.