Ajmal Kasab, hanged in India for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, had never demanded mutton biryani and the story was manufactured to stop an emotional wave in favour of the Pakistani militant in the media, the public prosecutor in the case said on Friday.
Ujjwal Nikam, the high-profile public prosecutor, said during a counter-terrorism conference that he had merely said “Kasab has demanded mutton biryani”, a sentence which became the fodder for many sensational stories in the media to the effect that the government was serving the delicacy to a terrorist.
It became such an issue, he recalled, that the then Maharashtra chief minister and opposition leaders visited the Arthur Road jail to check if Kasab was actually being served mutton biryani.
Pakistani national Kasab was the lone member of the terrorist group who was captured alive during the November 2008 attack on the metropolis which left 166 people dead and many more injured.
Kasab was hanged in November 2012, nearly four years after the attack.
Going into the genesis of his statement, Nikam said during one of the court hearings, Kasab had wiped his eyes.
The media immediately flashed a breaking news, “Kasab ki aankhon mein paani (Kasab’s eyes are moist).
“There were panel discussions on news channels: he is remembering his sister, Kasab is an innocent boy, he’s a young boy, so he is repenting his crime.”
“This kind of emotional wave and atmosphere was needed to the stopped. So, after that, I gave a statement to the media saying Kasab has demanded mutton biryani in the jail,” he said.
What Nikam left unsaid was that after that remark there were many reports in media on Kasab’s “tantrums” in jail.
As he took the audience through the nitty-gritty of the trial, Nikam recalled that Kasab called him ‘Badshah’.
(With PTI inputs)