The Supreme Court verdict upholding the death sentence of Ajmal Kasab in 26/11 Mumbai attacks case on Wednesday led to a vociferous demand for the execution of the Pakistani terrorist at the earliest from parties, kin of the victims and other quarters in the country.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said government, on its part, will ensure that if Kasab files a mercy plea, it is disposed of in minimum time and asked Pakistan to punish other perpetrators who have taken shelter on its soil.
"...Now, he should be given complete sentence quickly. Punishment should be executed quickly," Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh said reacting to the Supreme Court verdict on Kasab's appeal against his conviction and sentence.
BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "Those who wage war against the country and kill innocents deserve no mercy.... Kasab should be hanged without any delay ... enough of biryani for him."
Describing Pakistan as "a terror factory", he said the government "must take all steps to destroy" terror infrastructure and sought a separate set of laws to deal with terror-related cases.
"No leniency should be shown against this kind of a terrorist. They have tried to destroy the peace of the nation, so he (Kasab) should be hanged as fast as possible," Naqvi said.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid described the judgment as "inevitable" and rejected suggestions of delay in the final verdict saying a country governed by rule of law cannot mete out street justice.
"I had seen the Bombay high court judgment. It was a very, very complicated judgment for the judiciary to have given. They must have worked very hard on it. That's been upheld by the Supreme Court. I think most people who do analysis of law would say this was an inevitable endorsement that would have come," he told the media in Delhi.
Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who led the case against Kasab during the trial process, said the death sentence awarded to Kasab should be executed as soon as possible so that it gives a strong signal to the terrorists that law takes stern action against such acts. He also demanded that the prosecution against perpetrators of the 2008 terror strikes should now be expedited in Pakistan.
"The (prosecution in Pakistan) should not delay the trial on the ground that India has to furnish evidence because conspiracy behind the terror attacks was hatched in Pakistan and it is for them to prove the same," Nikam said, adding the apex court in India has also held that criminal conspiracy behind the attacks was hatched in Pakistan.
Eknath Ombale, the brother of assistant sub-inspector Tukaram Ombale who died fighting terrorists during the 26/11 terror attacks, said if Afzal Guru had been hanged 10 years ago, then 26/11 and 13/7 incidents would not have happened. "We are very happy with the verdict. We are now waiting for it to be implemented," he said.
"The truth has come out before the world. I request the government to implement the sentence," he mentioned. "Had Afzal Guru been hanged 10 years ago, maybe 26/11 and 13/7 wouldn't have happened," he said.
"All Indians are awaiting the moment when Kasab will be hanged," Ombale said.
The Mumbai Crime Branch, which probed the 26/11 terror attack case, termed the verdict as "important milestone" in fight against terrorism.
Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who defended Kasab in the apex court as amicus curiae, said he "bows" to the ruling. "I bow to the verdict of the court. As amicus curiae, I was given an opportunity to advance every convincing arguments, I could.... Let us all take pride in our judicial system," he said.
Hailing the verdict, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said that he will ask the Centre to ensure that it is implemented as soon as possible. "The entire international community was watching the outcome of the case," the minister told reporters. "Our agencies were successful in highlighting the role of terror outfits like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba," he said.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad dismissed the plea of 25-year-old Kasab challenging his conviction and death sentence confirmed by the Bombay high court.
The bench rejected his contention that he was not given a free and fair trial in the case.