Day after Kasab verdict, business as usual at CST
Mumbai: A day after he was sentenced to death, it was business as usual Friday at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) where Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab and an accomplice slaughtered more than 50 innocents during the Mumbai terror attack.
Moments after a special court Thursday awarded the capital punishment to Kasab, the only one of 10 Pakistani terrorists to be taken alive, crowds at the perennially crowded station had spontaneously clapped and cheered. Some lit lamps in memory of the people killed at the spot Nov 26, 2008.
But Friday was just like any other day.
A mass of humanity thronged the railway station, one of the busiest in Mumbai, to board trains that ply on a 140-km route connecting the city to Raigarh and Thane districts. Those getting off the arriving trains quickly headed to the exits, everything happening in clockwork precision.
Vendors busily served breakfast and refreshments to customers. Fishermen carried huge baskets of fish on their heads, ducking now and then to avoid running into other commuters.
However, Kasab's fate was a point of discussion, at least for some.
"We are disappointed that Kasab still gets to appeal in the high court and the Supreme Court," said commuter Ashmita Pillay.
Pillay is one among a large number of people who will be happy if Kasab, a native of Pakistan's Punjab province, is hanged without any delay.
Kasab and fellow Pakistani Abu Ismail went on a killing spree, firing away from their AK-47s and hurling grenades, killing those on the platform without any provocation.
After over 50 people had been killed in and around the railway station, Kasab and Ismail calmly walked out and kept killing whoever they saw until they ran into a police picket where Ismail was killed and Kasab captured.
It was at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus that a photographer clicked away Kasab in action -- evidence that was used in his trial.
Johny Gomes, a regular commuter, still remembers the day when Kasab landed at the railway station.
"I had missed the train to Thane and was headed to the rest room when I heard what I thought were crackers. But when I went there I saw two bodies. I realised instantly there had been a terrorist attack.
"I ran and got into the driver's coach of a train. When he told me the train had been cancelled, I ran towards the exit and boarded a bus. I took a taxi later to reach my home," Gomes said.
Anukul Bhavsar, another commuter, added, "As for Kasab's death sentence, I am glad he has to die."