Kasab attack was war against nation, Maharashtra tells SC

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New Delhi: The Maharashtra government Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the 2008 Mumbai terror attack by convict and Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was an attempt to wage a war against India and its people and not just the government.

Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the state government, told the apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice C.K. Prasad that the Nov 26 attack was an “attempt to wage war against the country and its people and not just the government”.

He said this to counter amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran, appearing for convict and Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, who contended that the conviction of Kasab was vitiated as it lacked that essential ingredient that differentiated waging war against the government from waging war against the country.

As Subramanium said that the Mumbai terror attack amounted to waging war against the country, Justice Alam said: “This is exactly what we had been saying to the amicus curiae.”

The court was hearing Kasab’s plea challenging the upholding of his conviction and award of death penalty.

Kasab was convicted and awarded death sentence by a Mumbai trial court May 6, 2010. Besides other charges, he was convicted for waging war against the nation. The Bombay High Court upheld the verdict Feb 21, 2011.

Asserting that “no nation or society could be cut over and over again”, Subramanium told the court that last year’s July 13 serial blasts in Mumbai in which 27 people were killed also had the signature of the same terrorist outfit involved in the 2008.

“We have to see the object of the attack … it had hit the vitals of our society,” senior counsel said.

“Since we have not been aggressor, we feel concerned when such things happen to us,” he said, adding that the attack was an attempt to violate the society.

It was a well “thought out operation that was planned over the years and preparations for which were made at multiple places”, Subramanium told the court adding that “they all knew that they have come to wage a war against India”.

Subramanium told the court that the way ship M.B. Kuber’s navigator Amar Chand Solanki was killed showed the “primitive and cruel” manner in which Kasab and his nine other terror associates went about executing their job.

M.B. Kuber was a fishing ship that was allegedly hijacked in the sea by Kasab and his accomplices to reach Mumbai shores.

Pointing to the footage that captured the killing spree of Kasab and his terror group, Subramanium told the court: “It was cruel even to watch. The conversation that they had clearly showed that it did not matter to them who was who. All were chicken who had to be done to death.”

Countering the contention of amicus curiae Ramachandran that Kasab was not provided with legal assistance till the time he made his confessional statement, Subramanium told the court that “legal aid was provided to him right from the word go”.

Subramanium told the court that “at no point of time he was tortured or illtreated, and no constitutional right given to him was violated”.

He said that “death is a permissible means of punishment”.