Kasab plays psychological game with lawyers

Last Updated: Mon, Jun 22, 2009 06:52 hrs

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Mumbai: The lone surviving gunman behind the Mumbai terror attacks, Ajmal Amir Kasab, has been reprimanded by lawyers for laughing during the court proceedings, and recently a lawyer asked him to be serious or else he would call Dara Singh.

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Kasab is the gunman captured alive during the terrifying three days beginning November 26, 2008, when 10 men arrived in Mumbai by boat and attacked 10 sites, killing more than 170 people. His trial, on charges of terrorism, criminal conspiracy and waging war against the state, began two months ago.

He has drawn reprimands from the lawyers for laughing, although they have also nicknamed him "the short one" and occasionally joke with him.

On Thursday, when he was laughing at their banter, prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam turned to him and said: "Don't laugh. Be serious. Otherwise I will call Dara Singh," a reference to the legendary Indian wrestler often invoked by parents to keep their children quiet. Kasab laughed even more.

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Last Monday, 27 photographs taken at the station on 26/11 were shown to the court, including a widely published image of a man identified as Kasab in cargo pants and a black T-shirt, toting a blue backpack and holding an AK-47, The Washington Post reported.

A police official said that Kasab hung his head low in court and that tears welled over. The judge asked him whether he was crying, but Kasab did not respond, just wiped his face. Nikam dismissed the reaction as "crocodile tears."

"Kasab is a trained commando. No question of remorse. He plays the psychological game. He smiles, looks innocent or pretends to shed tears. These are tricks to get media sympathy," he said. Abbas Kazmi, Kasab's attorney, said his client is becoming "increasingly gloomy" and has "a sense of hopelessness written all over his face."

When the trial began in April, Kasab, speaking through his attorney, pleaded not guilty and sought to retract his confession, saying it was made under duress, the paper said.

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The trial is conducted mostly in English and Marathi, the official language of Maharashtra state, neither of which Kasab knows well. He often looks bored or bewildered, but when witnesses recount the horrors of that November night, he appears to try hard to follow.

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