Mumbai: Three years after Ajmal Amir Kasab and his accomplices struck the country's financial capital, the survivors of 26/11 terror attacks are still waiting for the day when the convicted Pakistani gunman will be hanged.

"Why is Kasab not hanged yet? What are we waiting for, another 26/11 type horrific attack? Kasab and his accomplices went on a rampage and shook every one of us. Why the government is not doing enough. Whenever I read anything about Kasab it just annoys me," 13-year-old Devika Rotwan said.

On 26/11 anniversary, India reminds Pakistan fight against terror cannot be selective.

External affairs minister S M Krishna said, “We call upon Pakistan to bring perpetrators and conspirators of 26/11 to speedy justice.”

On the ill-fated night of November 26, 2008 Devika's father Natwarlal was waiting at the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) here with his daughter and son Akash for a train, when two terrorists opened fire at the railway station.      

Shot in the right leg, Devika, who was the youngest eye-witness to depose in the court, had to rely on crutches for a long time.
    
"I am fine today but still I face difficulty while walking. My studies are going good. But in the last three years, we have shifted our house four times as neighbours often complain and fear for their lives due to our presence," the eighth grade girl, said.
    
For Kalpana Shah, who lost her husband Pankaj in the attacks at The Oberoi Hotel, it has not been easy to forgive and forget.
    
"I do miss my husband everyday. I will miss him throughout my life. The loss has been inevitable," Kalpana, who runs the Tao Art Gallery here, said.
    
"It has been three years...justice has not been delivered... Kasab is still alive. Justice is getting delayed and lots of money is being wasted on him," she said.
    
Sentenced to death by a special anti-terror court, Kasab is lodged in a special cell in the city's Arthur Road jail, the construction of which alone cost the state exchequer over Rs. 5.24 crore. Bharat Waghela, who owns a chemist shop near Leopold Cafe, one of the first sites to be attacked, lost his brother Subhash on that day. His hope for justice has now stymied.
    
"I think the Kasab case would go the Afzal Guru way. The same process keeps on getting repeating for every accused and even in this case its the same. Even though a special fast track court was set up, the fate of Kasab is still hanging," Bharat said.
    
"I do not understand why he has been kept alive even till today. People saw him killing innocents. It is disheartening that he hasn't been punished for his crime," he said.
    
Jewish couple--Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and Rivika's cook Qazi Zakir Hussain alias Jackie, a Muslim, who was there at the Chabad House, when two terrorists pulverised the Jewish centre mourns the death of his employers even as he wonders why Kasab is still around.
    
"Good people like my employers - Rabbi and Rivika get killed and the evil ones like Kasab are having a good time in jail at the expense of the common man," Jackie said.
    
"Even Pakistan has said that Kasab should be hanged, then what are we waiting for," he questioned.

Kasab death penalty: Expedite process, say lawyers


Meanwhile, hanging 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab may be sooner said than done. While some from the Mumbai's lawyer fraternity said a fair process is vital, other feel that death sentence cases such as these should be speeded up.

“I feel a high profile terrorism case such as this should be fast-tracked, not only in the special court or the High Court but also in the Supreme Court,” said Mahesh Vaswani, a Bombay High Court lawyer.

“A special department at the President's office can take care of the mercy petitions in the same manner,” he added.

Anil Singh, Chairperson of the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa, agreed and said any further delay in the case is pointless. Vaswani, however, also said that a lifetime imprisonment will be a befitting punishment for Kasab. 

“He should be imprisoned for life. It is a better punishment than death itself. He should be made to realise every single day of his life that he has taken many innocent lives,” he said.

Kasab was the only one of 10 Pakistani terrorists who attacked Mumbai November 26, 2008 to be caught alive. Striking at prominent locations in the city, they killed 166 people.

Kasab has been found guilty of killing at least 59 people in the 26/11 carnage. He has been charged with murder and waging war against the Indian state amongst other crimes.

He was sentenced to death May 6, 2010 by special judge ML Tahaliyani. He then appealed to the Bombay High Court, which Feb 21, 2011 upheld the death penalty following which he appealed in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court Oct 10 this year stayed the execution of the death sentence. It directed completion of pleading by November 30 and that the appeal be listed for final hearing January 31, 2012.

Eminent lawyers say in case the Supreme Court also upholds the death penalty, Kasab can file a mercy petition which will be sent to the President.

Special Public Prosecutor for the case Ujjwal Nikam said everybody has the right to a fair trial and that a due judicial process is called for in a democratic country.

'It is due to this man that we could trail the terror links to Pakistan. This happened due to our systematic judicial procedure,' he said.

Criticising reports published in a certain section of the media, Nikam also said the government was not spending as much as it was projected.

“Some say Rs.50 crore has been spent on Kasab while others quote another figure. However, there is no official confirmation on any of the figures and I don't think the government has spent that big an amount,” he said.

Abbas Kazmi, Kasab's former defence counsel, subscribed to the view.

He stated that most lawyers have not charged more than Re.1 as their fees to defend him.

“What expenses have been incurred on him must be only slightly higher than what is spent on other criminals,” he said.

Kazmi also emphasised that the law will be the same for everyone.

“We cannot have parallel laws or double standards. Hurried justice is buried justice. Like other criminals, Kasab has the right to go through the same procedure,” he said.

“Moreover, the fact that we were able to establish Kasab's terror links to Pakistan and Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik vouched for hanging Kasab is worth the expenditure,” he added.

Niranjan Mundargi, an eminent criminal lawyer, however, said now that the Pakistani links of Kasab have been established, he should be hanged at the earliest.

“This surely has been one of the most fast-tracked cases in our judicial system, but any more delay will only do more harm. The process needs to be expedited even more from the president's office,” he said.

Agencies