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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Survivors of 26/11 speak on Kasab's execution

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, November 22, 2012
First Published: 01:59 IST(22/11/2012) | Last Updated: 02:09 IST(22/11/2012)

‘Execute other terrorists soon’
Dr Prashant Mangeshikar received news of terrorist Ajmal Kasab’s hanging on Wednesday with a tinge of scepticism. “I was happy, but I was not sure if he had been hanged or if he died of dengue,” said the  Gamdevi resident.

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“Though politicians are making statements, it is difficult to accept them without proof,” he said.

Mangeshikar was at the Taj Mahal hotel with his family on the fateful night of November 26, 2008, but they were lucky enough to escape unhurt. “We survived three bullet attacks, and the incident left us with a good deal of mental strain,” he said. Mangeshikar’s former wife, who was with him during the incident and has since moved to Singapore, was happy with the news.

Praising president Pranab Mukherjee for expediting the process of Kasab’s execution, he said: “Credit goes to the president as well as the home minister. Now that the ball is rolling, other terrorist must also be executed soon,” he said.

Mangeshikar has moved after from the traumatic incident. “I remarried and got two dogs. I am happy now.”

- Mugdha Variyar

‘Kasab was just a pawn’
Rajita Kulkarni was at a restaurant at the Taj when terror struck on November 26, 2008. Nearly four years later, on Wednesday, she reacted to news of Kasab’s hanging with a mixture of equanimity and impatience, as she considered the bigger picture.

“It [Kasab’s hanging] should have been done sooner,” said Kulkarni, now 42. “It was an open and shut case. The state spent crores on Kasab. But it’s better late than never.” However, the hanging doesn’t really bring the larger issue of the attacks to an end, she said. “He was just a pawn. We should deal with the jihadis, but what about the masterminds? We need to resolve what is going on behind the scenes.”

Kulkarni, who saw the terrorists close at hand and spent the night of 26/11 trapped in the Taj, later wrote a book of poems on the nightmarish experience. Her reflections were not limited to Kasab’s death; she was more concerned about the merits of capital punishment as a whole. “He deserves the highest punishment, but should this be the highest punishment? That is something to think about.”

- Bhavya Dore


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