Although the 26/11 terror attack trial was completed within 17 months of the attack, it was an unending ordeal for those living and staying within the vicinity.
The heavy police deployment, the barricades on roads and a mediapersons millings thronging the area. And this ordeal will not end any time soon if Kasab appeals against the verdict.
Unless the state government decides to transfer the convict to Nashik or Pune as is being proposed.
Dinesh Patil (25), who lives in the Ganesh Nagar Chawl behind Arthur Road jail and has to commute every day to Marine Lines for work, was reminded of Kasab’s presence every time he stepped out of his chawl.
“We had to pass through the police deployment and had to show our identity cards to be allowed in and out. Those who were living on rented space had problems getting an ID card and twice some of the residents were beaten up by the police,” said Patil.
Worse, said Patil, was when there was a medical emergency in the chawl but the police insisted on checking each and everyone before letting the residents take the ailing person out.
Tempers rose and there was a face-off between the residents and the police which was later hushed up by senior officers.
The residents are not unaccustomed to police deployment in the area.
In 1993, the designated TADA court was set up on the Arthur Road jail premises for the trial of the 1993 blasts case.
The area that was a normal Mumbai road encroached upon by handcarts and parked vehicles and pavements by makeshift homes and hawkers almost overnight became a fortress.
Star-struck people crowded the roads each time actor Sanjay Dutt, an accused in the case, entered or left the jail premises. “But it was nothing like the problem we faced since Kasab was brought to Arthur Road jail,” says Sandeep Kolte (32), who works in a printing press on the main road.
The police wouldn’t allow vehicles on the road because of which they were forced to physically carry materials to the shop.
Sneha Parikh (38), an accessory designer, who regularly visits the place to get accessories in the area, said the police presence was daunting initially but one learnt to take it in one’s stride as in this otherwise nondescript place there is skilled labour can still come quite cheap.