Relatives of 26/11 victims want Kasab hanged immediately

Hailing the Supreme Court’s verdict confirming the death sentence imposed on Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving gunman of the 26/11 terror attack, the Mumbai Crime Branch, which investigated the case, said this further exposed Pakistan’s involvement in exporting terror to India.

Joint Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy said here on Wednesday that the interrogation of Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, a key Lashkar-e-Taiba operative who was present in the Karachi control room at the time of the 26/11 attack, proved that Pakistan had a hand in exporting terror.

“State actors helped in exporting terror. Abu Jundal was present in the Karachi control room at the time of the attack. He attended many training camps there. He took training from senior LeT operatives. Kasab has recognised him as the person who taught them Hindi,” Mr. Roy said.

“The verdict of the Supreme Court is an important milestone in the fight against terrorism. We are now prosecuting the mastermind — Jundal. We are collecting strong evidence against him,” he said.

He refused to talk about the acquittal of Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed Shaikh. “We will have to study the judgment.”

‘Historic judgment’

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam hailed the judgment as ‘historic.’ “Pakistan will now have no option but to proceed with the trial against the perpetrators of the terror attack without delay,” he told The Hindu.

Mr. Nikam had played an important role in Kasab’s prosecution in the local court here.

“This is the first time that we have shown to the entire world through our legal channels how India is subject to terrorism and how terrorism is being sponsored by Pakistan,” he said.

‘Separate guidelines for mercy pleas’

Mr. Nikam said: “It would be premature to say anything about the mercy petition. If Kasab prefers to file one [before the President], it [the implementation of the judgment] may take some more time. I appeal to the Central government to lay down policy guidelines for disposing of the mercy petitions of terrorists and those other than terrorists.”

The relatives of the victims of the ghastly attack were, however, unanimous in demanding immediate implementation of the judgment.

“He should be hanged immediately. Only then will there be a sense of justice. My mother still cries after she hears Kasab’s name or watches anything related to the 26/11 attack on TV. She remembers our father and his death at Kasab’s hands. Usko chhodna nahi chahiye. Aur kitna posenge? [He should not be let off. For how many days will the government take care of him?],” Tanvir Rampure, 28-year old son of Abdul Ajij Rampure, an onion vendor from Solapur district of Maharashtra, told The Hindu.

Mr. Rampure had travelled from Solapur to Mumbai to see his sister off as she left on a Haj pilgrimage.

Prateek More, son of sub-inspector Prakash More who was attached to the LT Marg police station and was killed during the firing at Cama Hospital, welcomed the verdict.

“He should be treated as a special case. No mercy should be shown to him. Time will be wasted if he is allowed to file a mercy petition before the President. The government has already spent crores of rupees on him,” he said.

Eknath Ombale, brother of slain policeman Tukaram Ombale, whose efforts helped in capturing Kasab alive, said it was high time the government hanged the terrorists immediately. “Had Afzal Guru been hanged immediately, 26/11, 13/7 would not have happened,” he told reporters here.

Will he also be given a serial number? Sena

In his reaction, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said the UPA government did not have the courage to carry out the death sentence imposed on Ajmal Kasab. He demanded swift implementation of the Supreme Court verdict.

Mr. Thackeray expressed concern that the verdict would be left pending like in the case of Mohammed Afzal Guru, who was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in 2004 for his role in the attack on Parliament in 2001.

“Will Kasab too be granted relief in the form of a serial number after the SC has pronounced his judgment,” the Shiv Sena leader asked, saying the collective sentiment of the country against Kasab should be respected for once and the gunman executed immediately.

Echoing similar sentiments, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gopinath Munde urged the Centre not to make an Afzal Guru of the Kasab judgment. “He was waging war against the country and there is enough evidence to establish Pakistan’s hand in the 26/11 affair.”

While Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan hailed the Supreme Court judgment, Home Minister R.R. Patil said he would ask the Centre to ensure that it was implemented as soon as possible.

“Not only the State or the country, but the entire international community too is keenly observing the outcome of the case,” the Minister told reporters, noting that the Crime Branch and the Anti-Terrorism Squad were successful in highlighting the role of terror outfits such as the LeT.

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