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Kasab gets special cell as his 11-yr-old victim finds home

The 26/11 terror attacks trial is now set to begin on April 15 with preparations almost complete for a special explosive and bullet-proof court and a special cell for lone arrested terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab at the Arthur Road Jail.

26/11trial to begin as scheduled on April 15

The 26/11 terror attacks trial is now set to begin on April 15 with preparations almost complete for a special explosive and bullet-proof court and a special cell for lone arrested terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab at the Arthur Road Jail. Kasab will be shifted to the special cell,built 20 metres away from the special court,on the same day. The teams of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police,which will guard Kasab,will also take charge on the day.

The trial has now been delayed by around two months and judge ML Tahilyani had extended the judicial custody of the three accused — Kasab,Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed — through video-conferencing. Jail sources said Kasab,being kept in the anda cell now,will be shifted to the special cell on the day and around 75 hardened criminals,including gangsters DK Rao and Abu Salem,who were earlier shifted to Taloja jail will be brought back to the jail.

Arthur Road Jail superintendent Swati Sathe said the court will be ready by Wednesday. “Final touches are being given and the trial can start on the next date at the special court inside the prison,” she said.

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Sources said the jail department has spent around Rs 2 crore for the special cell and court. This was done after fears that Kasab could be eliminated by Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives in a fidayeen attack or by using gangsters lodged inside the prison. The Public Works Department (PWD) had begun the work around January-end.

The special court will be protected by a wall,which will act as a shield against any rockets or hand grenades being hurled. The cell,meanwhile,is a special bullet and explosives-resistant solitary cell. The Mumbai Police has also made special biometric passes for mediapersons,court staff and defence lawyers,without which the entry will be barred.

On Wednesday,special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam is expected to open the case for the state. Nikam will inform the court about the the terror attack and the conspiracy behind it. Kasab’s lawyer Anjali Waghmare and her assistant lawyer K P Pawar will also get to meet Kasab for the first time.

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2 months on,Rotawans shift to Bandra chawl

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Her new home in a Bandra slum is no bigger than a cycle shed but 11-year-old Devika Rotawan has not stopped smiling since she moved into it two days ago. For two months after she was hit by a terrorist bullet during the 26/11 attack at CST,Devika,her 13-year-old brother Akash and father Natwarlal were forced to make the station their home as they didn’t have a house in the city.

After several weeks of sleeping on the platform,dodging leering strangers and protecting Devika’s crutches from being stolen,the Rotawans have ‘come home’ to a rented room at Bandra’s Sant Dyaneshwar Nagar chawl.

“Chota hai magar accha hai,” said Devika,the relief and excitement evident in her voice as she watched her father carefully unfold the copy of the rent agreement document. On Thursday,Natwarlal Rotawan had paid a Rs 20,000 deposit and Rs 1,800 for the room before moving in with his children.

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“This is our new address; Sant Dyaneshwar Chawl no 36,room no 15,Bandra East. We used to live in Bandra when our mother was alive but after papa’s dry fruit business went kaput we shifted several houses and often visited our native village in Rajasthan.We were waiting for a train to Pune at CST as our eldest brother stays there,but then I got shot. After being discharged from JJ Hospital following a month-long treatment,I landed back at CST and we stayed there for two months,as we couldn’t find a place to stay,” said Devika.

The mere mention of their mother brings a palpable gloom on the faces of the children and their father. “Bandra brings back fond memories of their mother. She and I had set up a loving home for our kids at a small flat in BKC’s Tata Colony and after she died,my business began to suffer. I was forced to give up the flat and since then we stayed in several houses,but have never experienced the same happiness again. My wife died at Bandra and in a way I am closer to her now,” said Natwarlal Rotawan.

The family feels that it can actually start living life ‘normally’ again now that they have a roof over their heads. “We had a nomadic lifestyle for the past two years,which also took a toll on the children’s education. There are two schools near this place and after the summer vacations,I plan to enrol both Devika and Akash in the New English School. I plan to start a kesar business soon and hopefully in a span of six months,we would be able to move to a larger house in Bandra,” said Rotawan.

During their two month-stay at CST,their conversations would all be about finding a house or going back to their village,but now it’s ‘mundane’ issues like the price of kerosene or the proximity to the nearest public loo that forms a part of the family’s discussions.

Rotawan feels his children have begun to experience childhood again. “In the past couple of months,circumstances had made my children mature beyond their years. In the past couple of days,I have seen my children’s smiles reach their eyes again. Instead of worrying about life and death issues,their only concern now is how they will spend their time in this small room.”

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“The next thing on agenda is to get them a carrom board,” said Rotawan with a smile.

AISWARYA A

First published on: 12-04-2009 at 03:00:18 am
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