Survivors and families of those who lost their lives in the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai reacted with a mixture of dismay and resignation at the news of the punishment for terror mastermind David Headley. A Chicago court on Thursday convicted Dawood Gilani, also known as David Headley, to 35 years in prison.
“Everyone involved in the attacks deserves the death sentence, and since Headley was the mastermind behind the attacks, he should be hanged,” said Sarika Upadhyay, 36, who was injured at Leopold Cafe on 26/11. “No government should waste money on keeping such terrorists in prison for 35 years.”
Many expressed anguish at the sentence and equated Headley with Ajmal Kasab, the lone gunman captured during the attacks who was hung in November last year. “Headley was the main culprit who sowed the seeds for the attack and is just as responsible as Kasab for the death of so many people,” said Karuna Waghela, 35, who lost her husband in the attacks. “We will get justice only when he is brought to the country and hanged.”
Others said he should have been put behind bars for a longer period. “Such people should be punished till the end of their lives,” said Kalpana Shah, whose husband died at Oberoi hotel. “These people can’t change.”
Headley was responsible for scouting out locations and visited Mumbai several times on an American passport to capture video footage of target locations. Entering into a plea bargain with American investigators meant prosecutors pleaded for a reduced sentence for Headley.
“India should have got access to Headley, and he should have been tried here,” said Gopalkrishnan Nair, 38, who witnessed the attacks while manning his store near Leopold, and whose brother was injured. “The terror attack was committed here, the crime was committed here, and so he should have been brought to justice here.”