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26/11 victims hail verdict

Rahi Gaikwad

MUMBAI: Even as families of 26/11 victims welcomed the verdict, it was yet another day bringing back the memory of loved ones and of that fateful night with renewed force.

Officers laying down their lives during the terror strikes received a special mention in Monday's order of the Bombay High Court.

“Before we part with the judgment, we must mention some brave policemen and one NSG commando, who have laid down their lives for the people. Some of them were seriously injured while dealing with the terrorists. We will be failing in our duty if we do not acknowledge their sacrifice. We close this judgment by expressing our deepest sense of gratitude to them,” the court said.

Speaking to The Hindu, Vaishali Ombale, daughter of Tukaram Ombale, who died while intercepting Kasab, said: “We thank the court for remembering the sacrifice of [the policemen], but we will be truly thankful if there is no delay in putting Kasab to death.”

“We always keep a close track of the [legal] developments. For us it is very painful to see [Kasab] live peacefully after all this time.”

She stressed that the Lashkar handlers in Pakistan should also be punished along with Kasab.

Devika Rotawan, (12), who was shot in the leg during the firing at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, was a key eyewitness in the 26/11 case; she is filled with anger each time Kasab's face stands before her eyes.

“Kasab should be hanged. I will trust the [legal system] more only when he is hanged. He is in jail and the people are in difficulty. What is the point of keeping him alive?”

Distress has stalked her family. After her Devika's lengthy recuperation, her brother Jayesh is seeking treatment at a civic hospital and is bedridden. He is set to be operated for spinal tuberculosis. “Assurances of a house and funds for his treatment turned out to be hollow,” said their father.

Shyamsunder Chowdhury is still paralysed from an injury received during the attacks, which deteriorated over time. His wife Baby wants to know why Kasab has been kept “safely” while her family suffers. “He has lost all humanity. He is smiling and I am dejected. I don't understand. What have I done? He will go to the Supreme Court and that will take another three years.”

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