Mumbai, Feb 21 (IANS) Bursting crackers and shouting slogans, Mumbaikars Monday welcomed the Bombay High Court’s decision upholding the death sentence of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab for his role in the 26/11 attack. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan termed it a triumph of democracy.
Several people were seen sharing the news with each other while some burst crackers outside the court premises, and others shouted “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. They were unanimous in saying Kasab deserved death and the punishment should be expedited.
Soon after Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice R.V. More announced the verdict, Chavan said it was a triumph of democracy and the judicial system.
“We will appeal to the Supreme Court against the acquittal of Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed,” he said referring to the acquittal of two Indians accused in the 26/11 attack.
Kasab, the sole surviving terrorist of the November 26-29, 2008 attack, appeared before the court through video-conferencing from his cell in the Arthur Road Central Jail.
Some people felt that too much time is being taken to hang him, only making a mockery of the judicial system.
“He should have been summarily shot a long time back. The government is making a mockery of the Indian judicial System,” said Jose Kottanani, a media professional.
Agreed a survivor, Bhisham Mansukhani, who was at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel when the attack took place. “Why even spend on the security of the terrorist,” he wondered.
Former chief minister Ashok Chavan also expressed his happiness at the verdict.
Socialite Shobha De claimed the attack and Kasab’s trial is already at the back of the minds of people. “All I can see is people excited about the cricket World Cup. Not many people are bothered about Kasab’s death sentence,” she said.
“People, apart from the family of the victims and the survivors, have moved on,” she added.
Family members of those slain during the attack were glad that the trial court’s judgement was upheld.
“My father’s soul will now rest in peace forever. I believe this is the apt punishment for Kasab and the likes of him,” said Deepak Bhonsale, son of assistant sub-inspector Balasaheb Bhonsale who was killed that day.
He wished it “would not take long” to put the verdict into action. “Hanging should be at the earliest,” he said.
Ragini S. Sharma, the widow of another slain railway officer, Sushilkumar Sharma, said: “The verdict is a no shocker. This is what Kasab deserved.”
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, speaking to reporters in New Delhi, said the trial should not have taken so much time.
A total of 166 people were killed in the mayhem let loose by Kasab and nine other Pakistani gunmen during the 60-hour Mumbai terror attack.