While the Maharashtra government justified capital punishment to the lone surviving captured terrorist of the 26/11 carnage, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, his lawyers argued that he should not be made a martyr by awarding him a death sentence.
Kasab's lawyers argued before the Bombay high court that their client should not be made a martyr by hanging him. At the same time, special public prosecutor justified capital punishment saying he had committed heinous crimes against humanity by participating in the terrorist attacks on the city on November 26, 2008.
"Kasab was not the brain behind the attacks and he had not taken an active part in the conspiracy to destabilize India with terror strikes... It would suffice if he was given life. A death sentence would make him a martyr," argued Kasab's lawyers Amin Solkar and Farhana Shah.
Arguing against the capital punishment, Kasab's lawyers said that at the most he was a contract killer and not the mastermind behind the attacks.
He was probably brainwashed by his handlers, they argued. They further said that Kasab had come to Mumbai to die and by awarding him the death sentence; the court would make him a martyr.
Solkar argued, "Do not hang him, give him life imprisonment for this alone would serve as a deterrent to others who may be planning to become 'fidayeens' (human bombs)." To which justice Ranjana Desai remarked, "Do you think by giving him a life sentence we would be able to prevent terrorist attacks in the future? What message would you like to give to society?"
Opposing their arguments, Nikam said that only the death penalty would justify Kasab's act of mercilessly killing innocent people. Kasab also wanted to kill innocent people at Cama Hospital but, it was prevented as the nurses had locked the gates, Nikam said.
The division bench of justice Desai and justice RV More concluded hearing the arguments in confirmation of death sentence to Kasab as well as his appeal against his conviction.
The court will start hearing the appeal filed by the government against the acquittal of two other accused - Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed.