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Mumbai attacks accused: School dropout to gunman

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab is a school dropout said to have taken part in the bloodiest episode of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

india Updated: May 03, 2010 14:52 IST

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab is a school dropout said to have taken part in the bloodiest episode of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The 22-year-old Pakistani national is accused of being one of two heavily armed gunmen who opened fire and threw hand grenades at the city's main railway station on November 26, 2008, killing 52 people and wounding more than 100.

Biographical details are sketchy but those that have come to light show that Kasab was born and brought up in Faridkot, in the Punjab region of Pakistan.

His father, Mohammed Amir Iman, ran a food stall in the village and his mother was called Noor, according to the local electoral roll.

Kasab dropped out of school in 2000 and worked as a labourer in the eastern city of Lahore until 2005, according to his initial confession to police, which was widely published in India.

He first pleaded not guilty last April but in July made a shock confession, admitting being one of the 10 gunmen trained, equipped and financed by the banned, Pakistan-based Islamist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

He then reverted to his initial denial in December and said police had framed him after coming to Mumbai -- home to India's popular Hindi-language film industry, Bollywood -- "to see cinema".

Kasab appeared relaxed in the trial's early stages, dressed in either a T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms or a traditional kurta-pyjama, joking in the dock with his two Indian co-defendants or smiling at lawyers and reporters.

But he seemed increasingly sullen, withdrawn and even asleep as the trial progressed, prompting fears for his mental state.

He has alleged several times that his prison food has been laced with drugs and asked to be allowed out of the solitary confinement in which he has been held since his arrest nearly 18 months ago.

Kasab has reportedly said he joined the LeT to get weapons training after deciding to embark on a life of crime but there have also been claims that his father duped him into doing it for money.

The prosecution has characterised Kasab as a shrewd and calculating operative while security experts said his poor, rural background and lack of education made him more susceptible to grooming by extremists.

His former lawyer suggested he might even have been brainwashed into carrying out the attacks.

One Faridkot farmer reportedly said that Kasab used to return to the village and talk of "freeing Kashmir" -- the Himalayan region controlled partly by India but claimed in full by Pakistan.

First Published: May 03, 2010 14:51 IST