Ajmal Amir Kasab, the surviving terrorist of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack was hanged today at Pune's Yerwada Jail at 7:30 am in the morning. Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde confirmed his execution. The country was impatiently waiting for his execution and today we can say justice has finally been served to the 26/11 Mumbai victims. We revisit the trial for the lone captured gunman that has been dragging on for almost four years now.
On November 26, 2008, a series of planned terrorist attacks took place in Mumbai that killed 166 people and injured hundreds of others. The attacks were carried out by ten armed gunmen who targeted the busy CST railway station, two five star hotels, a maternity hospital and the Jewish Chabad house. Kasab was the only gunman to be captured alive.
Citing ethical concerns, several lawyers refused to represent Kasab and the Bombay Metropolitan Magistrate Court's Bar Association even passed a resolution stating that none of its members would act as counsel to the accused. The homes of lawyers who expressed interest in representing Kasab were attacked by right wing activists for their 'acts of betrayal'.
Advocate Anjali Waghmare was finally chosen to represent Kasab but was later removed, when it was discovered that she had already agreed to represent a victim from the 26/11 attacks. Because this presented a case of conflict of interest, she was removed and replaced by advocate Abbas Kazmi
In November 2009, Abbas Kazmi was asked to stop representing Kasab after Judge M L Tahiliyani observed that he was 'not co-operating' with the court in the interest of justice. He was replaced by K P Pawar, and Kazmi even went on to star in the fourth season of reality show, Bigg Boss, but was the first contestant to be eliminated.
Kasab was sentenced to death by Tahiliyani on May 7, 2010. The trial had taken place at a special court set up on the premises of Arthur Road prison in Mumbai where a special, high security cell had been created for Kasab.
On February 21 this year, the death penalty for Kasab was upheld by the Bombay High Court. Advocates Amin Solkar and Farhana Shah had been selected by Maharashtra State Legal Services department to represent Kasab and had fought the case for nearly nine months before the verdict was pronounced.
After the decision was taken to challenge the High Court's verdict, the Supreme Court appointed top counsel Raju Ramachandran as Kasab's advocate.