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Guest Blogger Vinita Deshmukh on Kasab’s Verdict

We’ve handed over our bloggers’ chair for the day to Vinita Deshmukh, a senior Indian journalist, activist and the editor of the weekly tabloid Intelligent Pune. Vinita Deshmukh has co-authored the book-To the Last Bullet, along with the Vinita Kamte, the wife of Mumbai Additional Commissioner of Police, Ashok Kamte, who died fighting the terrorists in the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai.

Ajmal Kasab has been awarded the death sentence. Well, it would have been surprising only if he had been given anything less than death. Going by the standards of the Indian judiciary, the case you can say was closed fast.  Though this is only the Special Court’s verdict and the High Court, Supreme Court and perhaps the mercy petition is yet to go by.

But considering the leaps that technology has made, the verdict was indeed snail paced. The video clips of the 22 year old Kasab showering bullets from his AK47 at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus; all clad in jeans, sneakers and the knapsack was proof enough for the court.The killings in Mumbai are considered to be the worst of the so called Fidayeen attacks -  such as those on the Indian Parliament or the co-ordinated bombings of Mumbai train stations.  And popular sentiment found it could concentrate its hatred on Kasab - caught on camera with his machine gun moments before he opened fire on a random public at the CST station.  From the station, he ran with his accomplice Abu Ismail, to the Cama Hospital and opened fire on patients and police.

Additional Commissioner Sadanand Date was injured in this attack and three constables lost their lives. The gunmen then freely walked into the Rang Bhavan Lane alongside and killed three more officers: Anti-Terrorist Squad chief Hemant Karkare, Additional Commissioner, Eastern Region, Ashok Kamte and Inspector Vijay Salaska.

The events of 26/11 have touched a deeply emotional chord in Mumbaikers and there has been public unrest at the cost of the gunman’s imprisonment and trial  estimated at Rs200,000 per day, (US$ 4500).  Unsurprisingly, there has been little opposition to Kasab’s recently awarded death sentence.

When I wrote the book `To the last bullet’ for Vinita Kamte, I was anguished that her voice was not being heard by the Mumbai Police and the Home Ministry.

Firstly, her ardent requests to the Mumbai police authorities to let her know the sequence of events that led to the death of her husband, Ashok Kamte, fell on deaf ears. Despite being the wife of a senior IPS officer, she was compelled to use the Right To Information Act (RTI) to procure all call log records; which revealed conversations between the Control Room manned by the then Joint Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria and the police officers on Ground Zero on the night of 26/11.

She along with her twin sister Revati had to burn the midnight oil for nights on end to scrutinise and analyse the call log records only to find serious goof ups by the Control Room which kept the three officers in the dark of the movement of the two terrorists. This led to a triple tragedy that could probably have been avoided.

Mrs Kamte has heard many excuses from the police about the death of her husband and his colleagues: `The three officers went in a hurry” , “We don’t know how they went together’, “They did not understand the gravity of the situation”.  “To the Last Bullet” is the story of the journey of Mrs Vinita Kamte undertook to find the truth behind the maze of mistakes and cover-ups behind the death of her husband.

And the widow of the hero of this tragedy believes that the killer  Ajmal Kasab got a fairer public hearing than she did.

12 Comments on “Guest Blogger Vinita Deshmukh on Kasab’s Verdict”

  1. #1 girish deshpande
    on May 8th, 2010 at 6:24 am

    well said, vinita! flew from the heart and a clear mind. the important thing is for the growing Indian middle class to see the direct connection between the quality of the political class (the ‘ruling’ class as they feudally call themselves) and the state of the nations governance (administration, executive & judiciary). it is only when this empowered segment wakes up to this reality and looks at it as a purely selfish cause for a better quality of life for their own selves and families, and involves itself in the political process, can the quality of life of the last standing Indian be improved. Get Involved!

  2. #2 Kishore Sidhwani
    on May 8th, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Vinta has summed it very well for all of us.It reflects the feelings of the relatives of the victims and scores of citizens who watched the 3 day attack with fear and helplessness.

  3. #3 neeta d
    on May 8th, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    if we vote we get the govt we deserve. if we dont vote we still get the govt we deserve! the Indian middle class has got into a habit of buying itself out of failing systems. no water, buy it. no electricity, fit an inverter. no good govt. school, send kids to private schools, no garbage clearance, emply an ngo…and so on. and this is exactly what the wily, rotten to the core political class wants! but for how long can we go on like this? it pains me to see that even after 26/11, the voter turnout at ground zero (south mumbai) was a pathetic 40%! and this when there were two professionally qualified candidates as options..a medical doctor and a harvard graduate. Wake Up, Indians. Get professionals to positions of governance. Support PPI. http://www.ppi.net.in

  4. #4 Nitin
    on May 8th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Very well said mom!!

  5. #5 David Berridge
    on May 9th, 2010 at 5:07 am

    The emotional traumas experienced during and as a consequence of these terrorist attacks are more than understandable. What must also be considered in the limitations of official information is the sensitivity of vunerabilities which still may be present in the capabilities to handle another such attack should it have come within a short period after the original assault. Much is still being analyized and learned to save as many lives as possible in future should such a need horribly occur. The victim’s families can find some degree of minimal solace that those lives taken in this terrorist barbarism will lead to better preparations for the future.

  6. #6 K B Kale
    on May 10th, 2010 at 3:12 am

    It is unfortunate that the gifted journalists like Mrs Vinita Deshmukh never go for the jugular even when they have many leads and have the ability to dig deeper and go for the kill.

    I have read the book “To the last bullet”. It is a great original work by Mrs Vinita Kamte which has been embellished by Mrs Vinita Deshmukh.

    So a wife has done her duty towards her slain husband. But it has opened a Pandora’s box and each lead that has been shown by Mrs. Kamte is crying to be taken up by journalists like Mrs. Deshmukh to the logical end either by pronouncing the wrong doers as victims of misunderstanding or by pronouncing them guilty, bared in front of the readers and punished for their failures.
    Journalists should keep the two columnists from Washington Post as their role models. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein didn’t stop after scratcing just the surface of the Watergate scandal but kept digging in. They persevered till they forced President Nixon to resign.
    I hope Mrs Vinita Deshmukh the jounalist doesn’t stop at surfacial scratching of this big event, but keeps digging till she sends the people who were responsible for the poor show by Mumbai Police, once considered on par with Scotland yard, on 26/11.
    K B Kale

  7. #7 Wg Cdr Sudarshan Pathak (Retd.)
    on May 10th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Well done Vinita. As you’ve rightly pointed out, by Indian judiciary’s standards, the verdict of the special trial court has been delivered at express
    speed. Hope the execution of the judgement takes place with equal alacrity.

  8. #8 Vivek Kulkarni
    on May 13th, 2010 at 3:51 am

    Dear Vinita,
    The law always cries for EVIDENCE. They had a Film depicting the entire episode, even then time taken to pass the verdict was one year plus. All the same fast by Indian Judiciary standards.
    Recent announcement of Kasab to be hanged by 2010 end will give enough time for the terrorist groups to plan their strategies to release Kasab. (Kandahar episode)
    Why do we commit the same mistake all over again ?
    Our next move is to foil any such terrorist plan to get Kasab released. Our Govt does not have the attitude nor the guts for quick action and disposal.
    I am using a new phrase FAST TRACK EXECUTION . EVEN THE RETIRED HANG MAN IS WILLING TO COME OUT OF RETIREMENT FOR THIS EXECUION
    Mount Public pressure on Govt

    Vivek Kulkarni

  9. #9 K B Kale
    on May 14th, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    How about Afzal ‘Guru’ (why ‘Guru’ for heaven’s sake?)?
    Have we forgotten that he has been convicted to be hanged by Supreme Court and enjoying his time bcz our Govt unfathomable reasons of delaying the decision to ‘advice’ our President to reject his mercy plea.
    Mercy for what, I ask. He attacked our Parliament!

  10. #10 Gucci Shoes
    on Jun 3rd, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Cheers for publishing this it was essential for a paper I am currently writing for my thesis. Thanks

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  11. #11 Gucci Shoes
    on Jun 8th, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Thanks for writing this it was note for a paper I am currently writing for my thesis. Thanks

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  12. #12 Anil
    on Jun 10th, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    I must say that before commenting on anyone’s life we should read bhagwatgita and should keep ourself to his place….if you would have born in talibaan than you had also done the same thing….as this is being tought to them since their childhood….a cute kid who should play with toys but being given gun to shoot others….

    it was his misfortune that he got born in talibaan…..(really unlucky guy)

    keep yourself in that place and think…..

    I pray for kasab to give him knowledge (gyaan) and spread love and peace to the entire world……

    Remember: NO ONE IS BORN TERRORIST

    still there are many babies who had taken birth their may be today or couple of days back….think of it ….try to take them out of that environment instead of waiting for them to get trained and kill other and them punish them death sentence…..

    think what we have did for those …..NOTHING…..

    we are just commenting on 22yrs old guy….who got training to kill others since his childhood……

    pray for him and for everyone that they should get good family and knowledge and should spread peace and love everywhere…..

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