26/11 attacks survivors welcome hanging of Ajmal Kasab
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Kasab was hanged to death at 7.30 am at Yerwada jail in Pune early morning, after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy plea earlier this month.
"I am very much happy that Kasab has been hanged. But I would have been happier if this would have been done in public. It is a good news that a terrorist has been hanged...Wish this should have been done on the anniversary of the attack this year," 13-year-old Devika Rotwan, who was shot in the right leg in the terror attack, said.
Devika, who studies in class IX now, had gone to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) with her family and was waiting for a train, when two terrorists opened fire.
Bhisham Mansukhani, who escaped the attack at the Taj Hotel, said, "I am taken aback! It is surprising! I feel the death penalty is more of a political thing. I think by executing the death penalty the government is trying to earn brownie points and use this as a tool to brandish this during elections."
Mansukhani was on the roof-top of the Taj Mahal hotel in Colaba in south Mumbai on the dreadful night of November 26.
"By hanging Kasab, the government is trying to show that they have delivered justice, but to me this seems to be a political thing," he said.
Dr Kuresh Zorabi, whose bakery opposite Chabad House (Nariman House) in south Mumbai, was splattered with bullet holes in the 26/11 attack, said, "It is surprising and shocking, but at the same time I am little disappointed that all this was kept secret. This is difficult to digest for a second. I am thrilled that Kasab has been hanged. This will serve as a lesson to terrorists that India can take strict action against them."
Though Zorabi is content that Kasab has been hanged to death, he hopes that other perpetrators of the 26/11 attack, who are in Pakistan also meet a similar fate.
"I wish even those 26/11 perpetrators in Pakistan also hanged to death. It is a long way for India and it is going to be difficult. India must learn from the US, how they went and killed the dreaded terrorist Osama Bin Laden," Zorabi said.
During the second anniversary of the attack, Dr Zorabi had painted the message 'We condemn the 26-11-2008 terror attack' on the front wall of his bakery 'Rex' and encircled the 92-bullet marks on it, in remembrance of the ghastly incident.
His pockmarked bakery wall is a testimony to the brutal killing of the Jewish couple -- Gabriel Holtzberg and Rivika -- and four others, when terrorists struck at the Colaba site. Moshe, the then two-year-old son of the Holtzbergs, was saved by his nanny Sandra Samuel and the family's handyman-cum-cook Qazi Zakir Hussain. Moshe now lives in Israel with his maternal grandparents.
For terror attack victim Sarika Uphadyay, "It is definitely a time for celebration...it is like Diwali! We have been waiting for this since the past four years and finally it has happened. Feeling sad that this was kept as a secret."
Sarika was at the Leopold Café for a dinner with her friend Anamika Gupta, where Kasab and his other accomplice opened fire. "I am finding it hard to digest that he is hanged to death. He and his accomplices had brought the city of Mumbai to a halt, killed so many innocent people...I think he should have been hanged in Mumbai and not in Pune," she said.
Anamika, was hit with three bullets in her abdomen and was recuperating in hospital for 40 days.
"I wish he should have been hanged on the coming 26/11. It would have been a fitting tribute to all those policemen, who gave their lives to save all of us," she said.
Kasab, along with nine other Pakistani terrorists had landed in south Mumbai on November 26, 2008 night after travelling from Karachi by sea and had gone on a shooting spree at various city landmarks, in which 166 people were killed.
While Kasab was captured alive, the other terrorists in his group were killed by security forces during the counter-terror operations.