Ajmal Amir Kasab, the 21 year old butcher from Pakistan is killing us with a thousand cuts even today. Each time he laughs in court, cracks a joke or claps in glee looking at that Ak-47 automatic assault rifle that killed Assistant Sub Inspector Tukaram Omble and other innocent Mumbaikars my blood boils.
RS 2,500 PER DAY TO DEFEND KASAB
And then this news that you and I, the Indian tax payers will be paying Rs 2,500 per day to defend that terrorist makes me so angry. The trial may cost Rs 30 lakh or perhaps Rs one crore or more will depend on how long the trial lasts. And this is just the money paid to the counsel to defend him (why when the official allowance is Rs 900 per day). Think of the cost of security at Arthur Road jail, salary of the Judge, Special Public Prosecutor, the entire judicial apparatus involved and more important TIME loss.
It is not just the money. It is the sense of sheer frustration. The world saw this unrepentent terrorist spray bullets at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus on 26/11. There is CCTV footage, eye witness accounts and his confession made before a judicial magistrate.
KASAB IS MAKING A MOCKERY OF OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM
He and Abu Ismail then hijacked a police vehicle, killed police officers (again there is an eye witness), then hijacked a Skoda (more eyewitnesses there), killed a brave police officer ASI Ombale (still more eyewitnesses). He may be charged with killing 166 people in Mumbai. But you can hang him only once. Whether he has killed one or 166 - he will die only once. Let's please not let him make a mockery of our judicial system and remain an undertrial for years and years.
1.000 WITNESSES, 12,000 PAGE-LONG-CHARGESHEET
There are over 1,000 witnesses in the 26/11 Mumbai attack case. The chargesheet runs in to 12,000 pages. We cannot go through the motion of giving him justice by examining all the witnesses, going over all the documents and then letting his lawyer cross examine every one and deny the motion of admission of all documents.
My lawyer friends tell me to examine a thousand witnesses even at the rate of two per day it will take several years to go through the motions. Then Saturday, sunday, national holidays. He will enjoy all of it. My colleagues who are covering the trial tell me he eats well (has put on weight) and in the court room he is very casual about the proceedings. He has to be reprimanded almost every day by learned judge ML Tahilyani. Despite a daily hearing the number of witnesses examined has barely reached two digits.
He is guilty. Hang him for God's sake. Don't let every terrorist think India is a great tourist destination for them. When we say Atithi Devo Bhav (treat guest like God) it does not apply to terrorists. Let's not forget that.
We are only going through motions of justice. Justice may be done to Kasab but this prolonged trial is injustice to all those who have suffered in Mumbai. There are those who say we have to show to the world we are a fair country. Do it in 30 days. Examine all the witnesses needed in one case and then punish him.
For God's sake try him for the murder of any one person. And hang him. He is rubbing salt on our wounds. Every day when we read he laughed in court, he demanded perfume, he wanted the money he came to India with, he cracked a joke with fellow undertrials, I think of the burning Taj, I hear the cries of the people that night and the days that followed and can smell death in the air all over again.
Why should I, and hundreds, thousands like me suffer because of a terrorist. Again and again.
Our judicial system is to defend the innocent. He is a terrorist. He should not be allowed to exploit the loopholes in our judicial system.
A senior police officer friend of mine in Mumbai said we are becoming like the eunuchs protecting the harem of the Mughals, with a sword in our arm, thinking we are brave. If we are actually brave, let us use our might to bring the terror masterminds to book. Zakiur Rehman Lakvi, Hafiz Mohammad Syed and the ISI bosses without whose help this operation would have been impossible. That would be a real trial. This is just a feeble effort to make ourselves feel better.
the world will not think much of us even if we prolong the trial for 10 years and then let him go through the motions in Supreme Court and then wait for the President to confirm it. He might just become another Afzal Guru. An election issue. The US has called India a weak country with archaic laws and poor investigation skills - unable to deal with terror. Let us not let them have the satisfaction of saying we told you so.
I hope the first task of the new Lok Sabha is to ensure no terrorist can misuse our judicial system. Ever!