Countering defence lawyers’ argument for lesser punishment to 24 convicts in the Gulberg Society massacre on the ground that even terrorists have been given opportunity for reformation and rehabilitation by the Supreme Court, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Friday told the special court that Yakub Memon, Afzal Guru and Kasab were terrorists or supporters of an alien country, but this case should be treated as “bhai ne bhai ko mara (Brothers killed brothers).”
SIT counsel R C Kodekar, while seeking the harshest punishment, said the convicts were either neighbours, friends or at least known to the victims. He said “instead of saving the victims, they got indulged into ghastly act by betraying their trust.”
“There is a difference between a terrorist act and an act of murder by neighbours. Yakub Memon, Afzal Guru and Kasab were either terrorists or supporters of an alien country’s notions. In this instant case, I can say that bhai ne bhai ko mara. They were friends and neighbours of the victims,” said Kodekar.
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“There is a perception arising in the society… a message is required to be sent out so that such incidents would not be tolerated,” Kodekar said. He added that “Indian cultural believes in peaceful coexistence..which is the greatest in the globe. Indian culture doesn’t believe in revenge and retribution. The special judge P B Desai noted these submissions.
Kodekar, while emphasising that the case falls under the rarest of rare category, said the arguments of defence lawyers that “there was a reaction following Godhra train carnage case” is not material. He said, “The intention of the convicts was to kill people from people from minority community.” He further added that “the mob had surrounded the society while chanting Jai Shri Ram and kill Muslims, therefore harshest punishment should be awarded if not death.”
The victims’ lawyer S M Vora also argued for maximum punishment but no capital punishment. The judge stopped him from making further submissions, saying that similar submissions were already made by Kodekar and unless he has something new he should not continue. When Vohra insisted the judge asked him if he feels that SIT has not done its job properly.
“The arguments cannot continue endlessly. It has to end somewhere. I will fix the date for judgment on quantum of punishment on Monday,” said Desai after stopping Vora midway during his submissions. Upset with the proceedings Vohra told media outside the court that SIT should have put the case in a more effective way. He alleged that the SIT and its lawyers failed to highlight the conspiracy angle during the trial.
The court has asked the SIT to produce documents of convicts who have spent time in jail as an undertrial. On Monday the court will announce the date on which quantum of punishment to 24 accused will be pronounced.