Kasab to be moved to solitary confinement

Already one of the most well-guarded prisoners in the country in decades,Ajmal Amir Kasab,the lone terrorist caught alive in the 26/11 attacks,is set to be moved to a solitary confinement cell.....

Written by Mustafa Plumber | Mumbai | Published:February 28, 2009 11:42 pm

Already one of the most well-guarded prisoners in the country in decades,Ajmal Amir Kasab,the lone terrorist caught alive in the 26/11 attacks,is set to be moved to a solitary confinement cell inside Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail premises where security measures are being stepped up to unprecedented levels.

The prize terror catch has been lodged in the high-security “anda cell” barracks — so called for the oval shape of the structure — inside the Arthur Road Jail along with some notorious criminals and high-profile underworld figures since February 17 after he was shifted from a lock-up at the Crime Branch headquarters.

But with the chargesheet in the 26/11 case filed this week and the trial expected to start on March 9,authorities do not want to take any chances with his security as there are threat perceptions from outside as well as within the jail with fears that underworld characters could be used to eliminate Kasab.

The new solitary cell that is being readied for Kasab will be next to the special court that has been set up to try the case inside the jail. The ground floor cell was used as a canteen for lawyers and journalists covering the 1993 bomb blasts trial but its walls are now being reinforced to resist bullets and explosives,official sources said.

The upgrade of the 225 sq ft cell by the state Public Works Department is estimated to cost about Rs 1 lakh. It will have a small toilet in one corner and two small holes near the ceiling for ventilation. While six CCTV cameras are expected to watch Kasab inside and movements outside the cell,nearly 200 guards all no older than 35 with sophisticated weapons will be deployed around the cell in shifts through day and night.

Kasab’s cell will not have metal in any form and he will be served food in disposable plastic plates and cutlery. A high-rise wall with steel doors and concertina wire topping is also being built around the cell to separate it from the rest of the barracks. Jail Superintendent Swati Sathe said she could not reveal Kasab’s security details but confirmed that he would be highly protected to prevent any harm to him.

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