26/11 trial: Kasab’s sentencing tomorrow
Mumbai: After convicting the Pakistani national Md Ajmal Amir Kasab for his role in 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, the special trial court is set to pronounce the quantum of his sentence on Thursday.
The prosecution had on Tuesday sought death penalty for Kasab describing him as a killing machine manufactured in Pakistan who had total disregard for life.
Terming Kasab`s case as the rarest of rare, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the anti-terror court, "Such a monster should be given death penalty.... He is an agent of devil himself.”
Special judge ML Tahaliyani reserved his judgement for tomorrow after public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and defence counsel KP Pawar wrapped up their arguments on the quantum of sentence to 22-year-old Kasab, who was held guilty of mass murder and waging war against the nation yesterday.
Addressing the media after presenting the case before judge Tahaliyani, Nikam said there were eight solid reasons to hang the lone survivor from the terrorists who attacked Mumbai in 2008.
“Kasab’s actions were pre-planned and pre-meditated and he killed without discretion or distinction, young or old, Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Christians,” he said.
"Kasab killed people with design, without mercy. He and Abu Ismail were responsible for killing 72 people, including 14 policemen, and the victims were helpless, defenceless and there was no provocation," Nikam said. Among the victims were eight women and seven small children, besides 14 policemen.
Nikam further argued that Kasab did not only kill, but he "enjoyed the killing", which shows his unscrupulous attitude and total disregard for human life.
Not only that, Kasab felt sad he could not kill more at the railway station as there was lesser rush of commuters than expected, Nikam said, adding that this showed that “Kasab is worse than even animals.” Quoting from Kasab`s confession, Nikam pointed out that the terrorist was disappointed that they were delayed by an hour in the voyage by sea and missed the huge peak hour crowds at CST that evening.
Further, he said that Kasab and Ismail killed navigator Amarchand Solanki of the ship Kuber which the terrorists used to land in Mumbai. “Solanki was killed mercilessly for no reason. He was butchered to death by Kasab whose name means butcher,” Nikam contented.
Calling Kasab a "killing machine", Nikam said that such machines were manufactured in Pakistan. He asked the court to not consider his innocent looks and presented the photographs that show him sneering at the CST station.
Another reason to give him the death penalty is that he was a part of the group which came to just kill innocents without any reason and ended up taking away the lives of around 160, injuring hundreds others.
Nikam said that in Kasab`s case, it was not just the murder but the way in which the murder was committed, and that the accused had the "urge to kill" that shook the collective conscience of society.
This makes it "the rarest of rare cases", not merely in terms of the number of deaths caused, but also the manner of causing the deaths and the high degree of cruelty make it an exception, he said.
"Such a monster should be given death penalty...He is an agent of devil himself. If Kasab is given lesser punishment, India will become a soft target for every self-styled terror group," Nikam said.
"There has been a high degree of cruelty and Kasab had total disregard for life. Kasab is a killing machine and such machines are manufactured in Pakistan," he added.
Seeking death for the 22-year-old lone surviving gunman involved in the brazen attacks that left 166 people dead, Nikam said, "Kasab has lost every right to live. He was not happy after killing 72 persons and wanted to kill more."
He said he told the judge that here was no room for mercy or even a life sentence. "If death is not awarded, it would be a mockery of justice," Nikam said.
Give Kasab a chance: Defence
While Nikam cited nine Supreme Court judgements to show that the case fell in the rarest of rare category in which death penalty was necessary, the defence lawyer pleaded for leniency to be shown to the Pakistani terrorist on account of his young age and lack of previous criminal record.
"He (Kasab) is young and chances of him reforming are likely. He should be rehabilitated," Pawar said.
In a complete volte face from his contention during the trial that Kasab was innocent and was picked up by the police several days before the 26/11 attacks, his counsel said," He was blinded by religion and committed the crime under extreme mental and emotional disturbance.
"He is a human being and should be given a chance to reform."
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