The morning began with a sequence of emotions for the victims of the November 26 terror attacks in 2008. Some were woken up by excited relatives, others saw the news flash on their television sets. Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist apprehended and tried in the 26/11 terror case, was hanged to death in Yerawada jail at 7.36 am.
Tears flowed down the eyes of Vaishali Tukaram Omble, as she heard the news. The man who snatched her beloved father Tukaram Omble from her, four years ago, was finally put to death.
Omble was the Assistant Sub Inspector of Police instrumental in capturing Kasab alive. Omble died that night at Girgaum Chowpatty, shot to death, as he held on to Kasab's AK-47 as the latter tried to speed away in his getaway car. Kasab turned his deadly rifle on Omble, but the courageous policeman did not let go. It was Omble's courage and sacrifice that led to the arrest of Kasab.
He was honoured with an Ashok Chakra for his act of bravery.
Reacting to the execution, Vaishali said, “I miss my father dearly. Nothing can bring him back. We miss him, every single day. All I want is for him to come back.”
Omble’s brother Eknath mentioned that the Ombles were happy with the government’s decision to hang Kasab. However, he added that it would have been a befitting tribute to the martyrs of 26/11, had the hanging been made in a public ground. “He should have been hanged in public,” said a teary eyed Eknath.
Kasab’s hanging was the first execution since 2004. Sources revealed that Kasab, who had been lodged in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail was shifted to Yerawada on November 19. The schedule and the travel plan were kept under wraps, and even when Kasab arrived in Pune, no one was given wind of his arrival.
Closure for many
Encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar, ACP Ashok Kamte and ATS chief Hemant Karkare were shot dead near Cama hospital by Ajmal Kasab and his partner Abu Ismail on November 26, 2008.
Salaskar’s widow Smitha said, “We were waiting for a long time to hear this news. For four years, every day I was waiting to hear that Kasab was punished. I used to think that probably I would die and Kasab would still be unpunished. But now I am satisfied.”
She added, “Honestly, I was losing hope of ever seeing justice being done. But now I would like to thank the President Pranab Mukherjee and Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for having done justice. Thank you.”
Divya Salaskar, daughter of Vijay Salaskar said, “We have not been celebrating Gudi Padwa and Diwali since 4 years. I am proud of my father. Justice has been done, finally.”
Remembering her husband, Smitha said, “It’s very difficult for a wife to overcome such strong memories of a good husband. He was a great man. I miss him every single day. I miss him a lot.”
Smitha also added that the capture of Kasab was a huge achievemtn by the Mumbai police. “Catching him alive was very important. Mumbai police has done the best job in the investigation. Pakistan was exposed after Kasab was caught alive.”
“I am relieved, and feeling better now,” concluded Smitha.
Senior advocate Majid Memon said that Ajmal Kasab was offered a fair trial and that the course of the law was followed in this case.
“He was given a fair trial. He was given legal aid by the government of India when Pakistan refused to acknowledge him or offer him legal counsel. The entire course of law was followed and Kasab was extended all the options available in the law.”
Memon, added, “He was given the opportunity to appeal to the High Court and subsequently to the Supreme Court. He was given the opportunity to appeal to the President. So he was given all opportunities that are offered in the legal course of law. The trial was fair and the evidence was examined and cross examined in detail. The honourable court convicted him and he was given the sentence as per the law.”