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Mother of a slain daughter identifies Kasab

Source: PTI
June 11, 2009 18:46 IST
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Emotional scenes were witnessed on Thursday at a special court conducting the trial in November 26 terror strikes in Mumbai when a woman, who was injured at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, broke down recalling her six-year-old daughter died in her lap after being shot at by terrorists.

"Meri beti Afreen mere godh mein tadap rahi thi, khoon beh raha tha. Phir usne dum toda aur mein behosh ho gayi (My daughter Afreen was writhing in pain in my lap. She was bleeding and then died. I lost consciouness)," Nafeesa Qureshi, a 25-year-old homemaker from suburban Bandra, said.

Asked if she could identify the gunmen, she pointed to arrested terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Kasab and said, "He was one of them."

However, there was no reaction from Kasab. Qureshi and two others, a Home Guard and a Railway Protection Force head constable, who were eyewitnesses to the terror strike at CST, deposed before the court on Thursday and identified Kasab as being among the duo that were shooting on the night of November 26, 2008.

On Wednesday, four other eyewitnesses identified Kasab as being involved in the attack on CST which claimed 52 lives and injured over 90. Qureshi said she was travelling to Aurangabad with her husband and daughter on November 26 and due to a delay in the train schedule they were sitting in the waiting hall. Her husband had gone out to bring eatables while she waited with her daughter, Qureshi said.

"Suddenly at 2130 hours, I heard a loud explosion. I saw two persons firing in all directions," Nafeesa said.

"My daughter was hit on the back by bullets while I sustained bullet injuries on the left leg. The next moment my daughter died and I fell unconscious," she said, adding she regained consciousness three days later at a hospital.

During cross-examination when defence lawyer Abbas Kazmi asked her details about the terror strike, Qureshi said, "Sahab ek baat suno. Meri aulaad chali gayi, uska kya? (Sir I have one thing to say. My child died, what about that?)"

Kazmi opposed the presence of Qureshi's husband in the court saying it would prejudice her. However, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the witness' reaction was natural and unintentional and it was unnecessary for her husband to leave the court.

When asked by Kazmi if she identified Kasab due to police pressure, Qureshi said, "Main jhoot kyon bolungi? Agar aapki beti mari hoti toh aap aise hi poochte? Meri beti gayi hai, main jhoot kyon bolun? (Why should I tell lies? If your daughter had died, would you have asked such questions? Why should I tell lies?)"

RPF head constable Jhillu Yadav said he was posted outside the Central Railways General Manager's office on the night of the incident when he heard sounds of firing and saw people rushing out of the terminus.

On hearing two terrorists were shooting in the terminus, he ran from a passage into the waiting hall and saw one person, later identified as slain gunman Abu Ismail, sitting on the ground loading his rifle, Yadav said.

"There was a police booth nearby and I saw a policeman with a rifle. I told him to fire at the person," Yadav said. "When he did not, I snatched his rifle and tried to fire at the person holding the gun but could not since the rifle had jammed," he said.

"At that time, another gunman came to accompany the person loading the rifle and they fired at me but I took shelter behind a pillar and was unhurt", Yadav said, adding that in retaliation he threw a chair at them.

After firing at him, they went towards the suburban rail section of the terminus, Yadav said. When asked by the court, the head constable identified Kasab as the individual who joined Ismail.

The third eyewitness Home Guard Dhananjay Haribhau Gawli also said he had seen Kasab at the time of the attack. "I was helping people escape when the terrorists came towards me and I hid in the public toilet at CST," he said.

When asked by the court if he was scared, Gawli said "Not me. Look at him (Kasab), he is scared." All the three eyewitnesses also identified Abu Ismail as the second gunman at CST when shown a photograph on a fake college identity card recovered from him.

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