'Ajmal Kasab was intelligent, had picked up Marathi during trial'
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Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, who was hanged today, had during the 26/11 trial surprised the Judge, policemen and court officers with his humour and grasping power so much so that he picked up Marathi and even conversed in it with everyone around him.
His quick grasp of local language Marathi in the court had caught the attention of all those present during the 26/11 trial in the specially made court at Arthur Road prison.
"Nahin, Nahin, Taap Nahin (No, No, I don't have fever)," he had once said in Marathi in the court three years ago when the staff enquired from him whether he was unwell.
Ever since the trial began in May 2009, Kasab, a fourth standard dropout of an Urdu medium school, had been keenly observing the proceedings and picked up bits of English and even Marathi as witnesses, lawyers and the judge spoke in those languages although the evidence was recorded in English.
"Tumhi Nighun Ja (You may leave)," were the first words in Marathi which Kasab learnt as Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam would utter these to him after the court proceedings.
Not short on humour, Kasab used to say sometimes "Tumhi Nighun Ja" to Nikam during the lunch recess before both of them burst into laughter, breaking the sombre monotony of the court proceedings.
The lone surviving terrorist of 26/11 Mumbai attack was often heard wishing "good morning" to Special Court Judge M L Tahaliyani. On occasions when witnesses deposed in English, the judge would ask him "have you followed?", drawing a nod in assent from Kasab.
"Kasab was very intelligent and had good grasping power. His military training by the 26/11 conspirators in Pakistan probably has something to do with it," Nikam said.
The gunman's mood, Nikam said, fluctuated between the docility and testiness. "On Raksha Bandhan, he had inquired from his lawyer whether some girl would come to tie a Rakhi on his wrist, while on another occasion he threw tantrums for mutton biryani to be served to him in jail," said Nikam.