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Kasab gets death for 'waging war' against India

Last updated on: May 6, 2010 19:45 IST

Kasab gets death for 'waging war' against India

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Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist in the 26/11 Mumbai carnage, was on Thursday sentenced to be hanged till death.

Kasab shall be hanged by the neck until death," Special Judge M L Tahaliyani said while reading out the sentence awarded to the 22-year-old terrorist.

The death sentence will be subject to confirmation by the Bombay high court. If ratified, Kasab, a foot soldier of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba, can also appeal against it in the Supreme Court, and then appeal to the President for mercy.

Kasab was awarded death penalty on five counts -- attempt to murder, conspiracy to wage war, collecting arms with an intention to wage war against the nation, kidnapping in order to commit murder and causing explosion to endanger life or property.

Kasab, who wore a white kurta-pyjama, sat stoically through the proceedings in the specially created court room in the high-security Arthur Road jail.

After pronouncing the sentence, the judge asked Kasab to stand up and explained to him the verdict in Hindi.

Reportage: Prasanna D Zore in Mumbai

 


Image: Kasab at the Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus
Photographs: Kind Courtesy: Sebastian D'Souza/Mumbai Mirror
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"Pakistan ke LeT se milkar saazish ki uske liye maut, khoon kiya uske liye maut aur bharat sarkar ke khilaf jung cheda uske liye maut, .aapko marte dam tak sazayen maut di jayegi (For conspiring with Pakistan-based LeT, for committing murders and for waging war against India, you will be hanged till death)," the judge told Kasab.

When the judge read out the sentence in Hindi to Kasab, he showed no remorse or any reaction. Asked if he had anything to say, Kasab waved his hand to indicate 'nothing'.

Kasab, who smiled once to himself, remained quiet throughout the proceedings. But in the end he seemed to have a minor altercation with the guards around him, ending it by holding his head as if to say 'don't trouble me'.

It took the judge one hour and 15 minutes to read out the sentence.

"In the court's opinion, Kasab has no chance to reform. Keeping such a terrorist alive will be a lingering danger to the society and the Indian government," Tahaliyani said while pronouncing his verdict.

The judge cited the example of the Kandahar hijack case, in which arrested terrorists were swapped for the passengers held hostage. "If Kasab is kept alive, this situation may occur again," he said.

The judge said Kasab had joined terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba voluntarily and offered himself to be a mujahideen (holy warrior).

After the sentence was read out, Tahaliyani explained to him in Hindi that he had been given death penalty on four counts and asked whether he wanted to say anything.

But the Pakistani terrorist simply shook his head, after which he was taken away by the police back to Arthur Road Jail.


Image: Special Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam shows a copy of the verdict to the media outside the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where the trial of Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the suspected lone surviving gunman of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, is being held.
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters
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"Keeping Kasab alive would be a lingering danger to the society and the Indian government. The possibility of Kasab reforming is completely ruled out by the barbaric manner in which he had behaved. When the planned attack was delayed, he was very anxious to attack India. There are too many aggravating circumstances and the court has no option but to impose the death penalty," he said.

Flashing the victory sign, public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam expressed happiness over the capital punishment.

"I am happy because my effort to bring relief to the families of those killed by terrorists has met with success," said Nikam, for whom Kasab was the 38th person to be given death penalty in a case handled by him.

Kasab's lawyer K P Pawar said he would not criticise the judgment but his client has the right to appeal against it.

Kasab was on May 3 convicted of almost all the 86 charges.


Image: Bharatiya Janata Party activists stage a mock hanging of Kasab during a demonstration in Mumbai on May 4, 2010
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters
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Justifying the death penalty for Kasab, the court observed, "The life of any person who wages war against the country stands forfeited".

The judge also said that Kasab had felt no remorse for his actions and hence there was no chance of rehabilitation or reformation. He observed that Kasab was mentally prepared to attack India and had voluntarily joined LeT in Rawalpindi and offered himself to be a Fidayeen (suicide killer).

While reading out the sentence, he observed "the terror acts were meticulously planned with use of modern equipment and techniques and necessary precautions were taken to see that the attack was a success".

"There are no words to explain the extent of brutality. There are no circumstances to create a balance in favour of the accused and he does not deserve lesser punishment," Judge Tahaliyani observed.


Image: Paramilitary troops patrol outside Arthur Road Jail May 3, 2010.
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters
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While remaining non-committal on whether he would move a superior court in appeal, Kasab's lawyer K P Pawar said, "I will be given an opportunity to meet him. Then I will ask him and then it (whether to file an appeal) will be decided."

Prosecutor Nikam urged the court to levy compensation for damages to property during the terror siege to the tune of Rs 155.73 crore. Asked by the judge who will pay it, he shot back that the LeT should shell out the fine.

The court, however, said it was disinclined to consider Nikam's plea after which he did not press for it.

Crime branch chief Himanshu Roy said the judge has correctly convicted Kasab and awarded the death penalty.

"We welcome the sentence. I feel it was a very important probe. Those thinking about terror activities against the country will also have an adverse impact," he added.

On May 3, Kasab was pronounced guilty under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Explosives Act, Explosive Substances Act, Railways Act, Passport Act, Customs Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Additional inputs by PTI


Image: A resident places a billboard of Kasab outside a residential building near the Leopold Cafe, one of the sites of last year's terrorist attacks
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters
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