Mumbai, India: February 21, 2011 â€“IR Summary/NDTV -
The High Court Bombay has confirmed the verdict of death penaly of Ajmal Kasab, who was sporting a stubble and wearing a white kurta-pyjama, watching via video-conference. He made no reaction after hearing the verdict. The judges said that Kasab had a “scheming mind” and wanted to “destabilize India.” However, Kasab can appeal to the Supreme Court of India.
The court held Kasab directly responsible for killing three of Maharashtra’s senior-most policemen as they tried to protect Mumbai during the first few hours of the war unleashed by Kasab and nine other young Pakistani men who sailed into the city from Karachi in November 2008.
Kasab – the only terrorist caught alive during the 26/11 terror attacks – was sentenced to death last year by a trial court in Mumbai for waging war against India. 166 people died during the attack. Kasab stays in a special bomb-proof and bullet-proof cell at Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail. For security reasons, he was given the option of participating in hearings in the Bombay High Court via video-conference instead of being brought to court.
The Bombay High Court said Kasab was directly responsible for seven deaths during 26/11. Among them were three senior policemen who died in the line of duty. Hemant Karkare who was the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief was shot outside Cama Hospital along with Additional Commissioner of Police (ACP) Ashok Kamte and encounter specialist Vijay Salaska.
The judges said that Kasab has a “scheming mind” and wanted to “destabilize India.”
Kasab’s lawyers had argued that the death sentence should not apply because of his young age. But the judges said, “The diabolical and brutal nature of the crime over-rides the age factor.” They also rejected the argument that a death sentence would turn Kasab into a martyr and inspire other terrorists.
The judges highlighted the bravery of the National Security Guard (NSG) commandos and policemen who fought the terrorists during 26/11. “We would be failing in our duty if we did not acknowledge the great sacrifice of the policemen and commandos who gave their lives,” the verdict said.
Legal procedure needs the High Court to ratify a death sentence given by a lower court. But in addition to signing off on the earlier verdict, the Bombay High Court also considered – and dismissed today – Kasab’s appeal against his death sentence. More