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The man whose car Kasab stole, speaks

Last updated on: November 26, 2012 11:02 IST

'I'm happy for those who have finally found closure'

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Vaihayasi Pande Daniel in Mumbai

It doesn't matter how they did it. The end result is what matters, says Sharan Arasa, reacting to the news of 26/11 Mumbai terror convict Ajmal Kasab's execution. He spoke to Rediff.com's Vaihayasi Pande Daniel

Sharan Arasa still drives the silver Skoda Laura that was snatched from him by Pakistani terrorists on the night of November 26, 2008.

One of the carjackers was shot dead by the Mumbai police later that night. The other lethal carjacker was captured and hanged on November 21.

Arasa got a new lease of life that night. He was perhaps the only person that Ajmal Kasab and Ismail Khan did not shoot that night, although Kasab briefly held a gun to Arasa's head.

The hotelier -- he and his family run Hotel Arasa in Andheri, north-west Mumbai -- tells Rediff.com's Vaihayasi Pande Daniel he is relieved that Kasab has been executed:

I learned about the execution at 10, 10.30 am (Wednesday). One of my friends called and told me about it.

I was surprised. At the airport (he flew to Mangalore later that morning) a lot of people were discussing it. People were saying it is a little too late. But they were happy it was ultimately done.

I am happy it is done. I have not gone through much loss. I know people have gone through much more and for them I can't imagine how (it feels that) it has been almost four years and now it comes through.

The legal system requires that you go through proper procedure, which is probably understandable. A common citizen would not understand all that. He just feels it took so long. People who have lost family members would obviously feel that.

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Image: Police examine the Skoda after Kasab was captured
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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'People are just glad that Kasab has been hanged'

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It wasn't an incident I am likely to ever forget.

Someone taking a car from me at gunpoint... someone who ultimately turned out to be a terrorist.

Someone who was the reason for so much bloodshed had met me and I was one of the few people who was lucky enough to escape, coming so close to him.

Mentally, there was a little bit... not trauma exactly... but it was a little disturbing. But I got over it. I can't imagine how people who have lost family members, near and dear ones... I can't imagine what they are even going through.

I got closure when the high court verdict came out. I was just hoping that the President doesn't give him a pardon. But once the high court gave the verdict it was pretty much done for me (closure).

A lot of people did not expect it. People did not know he had applied for the President's pardon and that the President had rejected his plea.

People are just glad that this thing is over.

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Image: The Skoda car Ajmal Kasab and Ismail Khan stole at Nariman Point, south Mumbai
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
Tags: , Kasab

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'Can't blame government; they couldn't leave any legal loophole'

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I don't know how much of a statement the government has made -- to the rest of the world -- that we won't tolerate this kind of nonsense, because it dragged on for so long.

But you can't blame them because they couldn't leave any legal loophole. I think it is understandable. But the common man would not understand all this and it would be a little difficult.

Someone whose sentiments are attached to it will feel: 'Why did it take so long when it was an open and shut case?'

I wasn't exulting, which I think is happening. My first reaction was: 'Thank God, it's over.' It carried on for so long. I am glad it is over.

People can be at peace right now because of this decision taking place. So I am happy for them.

I am happy for the people who have finally found closure.

They (the government) spent so much money on his security, which I don't think was required. If they had a reason for providing him so much security, then they had a reason to do this quietly. They didn't probably want to give attention to the thing.

I am glad they didn't really back away from it (the execution). It didn't matter how they did it, ultimately they did it.

The end result is what was more important. The method used shouldn't affect people much.

Would it have made people more happy to (actually) see him hanged? I don't know what difference it would have made. He has been hanged and paid for his crimes.

I still have the car (the Skoda that Ajmal Kasab and his partner Ismail Khan stole from him that night).

(My encounter with Kasab has taught me to be) to be more careful. Don't take too many risks. People have got to be a little more careful.

You can't expect the cops to be there (all the time). We citizens have to be a little more responsible. A little more attentive. Do our part.


Image: A view of the area at Chowpatty, south Mumbai, where Ajmal Kasab was captured
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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