The state government expects the special court to deliver the harshest punishment — death sentence — for Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab (22), the Pakistani Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) operative captured during the terror attacks.
“Not just the government, families of the citizens and police officials, who were killed in the attacks, also want the harshest punishment for the accused,” Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said on Monday.
Lauding the judiciary and the police, Chavan said: “The judgement has proved beyond doubt that the attacks were Pakistan’s proxy war against India.”
Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said India had taken all steps to ensure that Kasab got a fair trial. “It was not as if Kasab was caught and hanged or shot. Our democracy has given him a chance.”
Politicians across party lines, judging public sentiment, are demanding that Kasab’s sentencing take place without delay.
NCP minister Jayant Patil said: “In this case, the President must make an exception to legal procedures if Kasab moves a mercy plea and hang him as soon as possible. It’s only then that people will feel justice has been done.”
Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam said, “Sentimentally, I feel he must be hanged immediately. There are 28 people on death row, Kasab will be 29th. Mumbaiites don’t want to wait for justice. But, in legal matters, emotions may not work.”
BJP leader Gopinath Munde said: “By convicting Kasab the special court has granted justice to the whole of Mumbai. It is now imperative that he gets the harshest punishment.”
But parties held the state government responsible for the acquittal of the two suspected local LeT operatives, Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed.
Chavan said the judgement is being examined and a decision on appealing against the acquittal will be taken soon.
“The government is responsible for letting Ansari and Ahmed off the hook. There is a need to amend Article 72 and Criminal Procedure Code 121 so that if Kasab appeals, it is disposed of faster,” said BJP leader Kirit Somaiya.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said though Kasab had been convicted “a lot more has to be done to stop such incidents [terror attacks].”