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'Only God can decide if hanging Kasab was right or wrong'

Last updated on: November 21, 2012 15:41 IST

'I'm happy; Kasab's execution didn't bring back sad memories'

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Vaihayasi Daniel Pande

Father of a GT Hospital sweeper, who was shot dead by Ajmal Kasab on the night of November 26, 2008, never expected the terrorist to be executed.

Budhabhai Jethabhai Waghela, formerly a sweeper at the GT Hospital, was puttering around his tiny tenement near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, south Mumbai, by himself.

His wife was away, visiting their village in Anand, Gujarat.

He happened to switch the television on.

And there it was -- the startling news that Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving terrorist of the 26/11 attacks, had been hanged.

"I liked this news. I felt happy," he says grinning. "When I turned on the television they were saying that his hanging had taken place at 7.27 am in Yerawada jail. Mera bachcha khana khaya aur pani piya aur uske upar firing kiya. It is good they have hanged him."

His son was having a meal; his last as it turned, on the night of November 26, 2008, when the Pakistani terrorist strolled by and shot him dead.

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Image: Budhabhai Jethabhai Waghela, who lost his son in 26/11 attacks, watches the news of Kasab's execution
Photographs: Vaihayasi Daniel Pande/Rediff.com

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'Only God can decide if hanging Kasab was right or wrong'

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No, Kasab's execution did not bring back any sad memories. "I am always thinking about my son," he says pointing to a picture. "I have his photo here. I do his puja."

A photograph of 23-year-old Thakur Waghela, a sweeper at GT Hospital too, has a special place next to a little temple with many framed images of various gods and goddesses.

The television is still on. "Mera view mein yeh log baat karega, par karega nahin (I thought they would keep talking about hanging him, but would not hang him.)"

"Four years had gone by! But it has happened today. (Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar) Shinde, (Maharashtra Home Minister) R R Patil have all said it is done. And that it happened at Yerawada jail. Whether it is right or wrong that the uparwallah (God) will decide."

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Image: Waghela, with a picture of his sons. Thakur, right, who was killed in the terror attack, while his older son died of an illness in 2004
Photographs: Vaihayasi Daniel Pande/Rediff.com

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'I did not get any compensation, help me get a job'

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His daughter-in-law Karuna no longer lives with him. With the funds she received from the state and central governments as relief she has moved, with her son Dhawal, 13, and daughter, Roshni, eight, to a new home in Sion, norgth-central Mumbai.

Karuna was given a job at G T Hospital. The children are now studying in good schools, says Waghela.

"It would be nice if my daughter-in-law called us to her new home for a meal. I have not even seen the room they have shifted to. I don't know why. times have changed since they shifted four years ago."

On November 26, four years ago, Waghela was on night duty. Fortunately, his grandchildren were away in Titwala, he says.

There is still a bullet mark on the wall of the home where Waghela has been living for 40 years, ever since he moved to Mumbai from Gujarat.

Waghela survives on his pension. No, he didn't get any funds from the government; it all went to his daughter-in-law. "He was our son. But like an earthen pot that breaks he's gone. I am surviving, but if you can help me get a job I would be grateful."


Image: Waghela points to the mark on the wall of his house caused by the bulllet fired by Kasab
Photographs: Vaihayasi Daniel Pande/Rediff.com

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