Citizens flock to jail road with anti-Kasab slogans

As soon as he switched on the television set and saw the "breaking news" on Ajmal Kasab being hanged on Wednesday morning, 58-year-old Ali Khoja rushed to the Yerawada jail, which is located just a stone's throw away.

"I was about to have my breakfast, but I decided to rush to the jail road out of satisfaction that finally the killer has been hanged," said Khoja. "Even my wife Yasmeen said I should...so I spent no time in rushing here."

Moments after he landed outside the jail premises, Khoja was joined by a band of citizens who were raising slogans against Kasab, hailing his hanging and distributing sweets. "It is a great day for Indians. A terrorist who had tried to challenge our nation has been rightly hanged," Ali said.

While Ali was among those who stayed nearby, there were several citizens had come from far-off places like Pashan, Kothrud, Sahakar Nagar, Wanworie, Wakad, Chikhli and Kiwale. Among them were a 16-year-old student and his 70-year-old grandfather. Some came by bus, others by two-wheelers or even autorickshaws. "I did not get a direct bus, so I came by an autorickshaw," said M Joshi, stressing that he did not mind paying a high fare.

For a change, it was not political parties hogging the footage on television channels. Citizens were clearly to the fore, going full throttle in front of the video cameras and in the vicinity of jail premises. Slogans like Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata Ki Jai rent the air as groups of citizens holding banners and waving Tricolour descended on the road outside the jail. Though the police tried to shoo them away, people kept coming back.

Till late afternoon, except for the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, other political parties stayed away from the jail road and instead carried out what they described as "celebrations" of the hanging in central parts of the city. MNS workers distributed saffron pedhas.

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