The state government may be happy with the death sentence for Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole terrorist captured alive during the November 26, 2008, attacks, but the acquittal of two co-accused has left the authorities with a sense of partial failure.
The state government has decided to appeal against the acquittal of Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, Indians accused of being members of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and surveying installations in Mumbai before the attacks.
“When we discussed it with our lawyers, they gave us a positive opinion. So, we will appeal before the higher court to get Ansari and Ahmed punished,” said Chief Minister Ashok Chavan after the announcement of the death penalty for Kasab.
Chavan said the government needed to wait for the sentencing before announcing the decision to appeal.
When asked if the state would try to get Kasab hanged at the earliest, Chavan said he would want to do so. “We will try and get the verdict ratified by the high court as early as possible. We will also ask the Supreme Court to fast-track the appeal [by both Kasab and the state].”
Chavan said the government and judiciary were able to show the world that Kasab was given a fair trial. “Every rule was followed,” Chavan said.
Political parties were united in demanding that the sentence be executed as early as possible.
Mumbai Congress president Kripashankar Singh and Nationalist Congress Party spokesman Madan Bafna demanded that Kasab be sent to the gallows at the earliest. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena spokesman Shirish Parkar, too, demanded the same.
The Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also said government should avoid delays.
Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut said: “We don’t want Kasab to become another Afzal Guru [convicted for the 2001 attack on Parliament, but not yet hanged]. The home minister should fulfill his promise of burying Kasab in Indian soil.”
“If the hanging is delayed with an eye on vote banks, it would be an insult to the innocent lives lost in the terror attack and the martyrs who laid down their lives fighting the terrorists,” said state BJP chief Sudhir Munguttiwar.
Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said: “The sentence will make every Indian happy. The case may have taken some time, but it is now cast-iron. It may go to the high court and Supreme Court, but a change in the sentence is unlikely.”