The sole surviving gunman suspected of participating last year's terrorist
attack in Mumbai has been having difficulty keeping a lawyer. His latest
court-appointed counsel had threatened to quit after angry demonstrators
surrounded her home. But the lawyer has agreed to stay on the case.
latest defense attorney appointed to represent Mohammad Ajmal Kasab began having
second thoughts almost immediately.
Court-appointed lawyer Anjali Waghmare had written
a note Monday night to protesters pelting her house with stones that she would
bow to their demand not to represent an accused terrorist. But, after promises
of police protection, on Wednesday, the 40-year-old senior advocate of the
Maharashtra state public legal authority agreed to stay on the case.
fact, my life is in threat," she noted. "Let me tell [say] I'm doing everything
on my own risk for the interest of the country, which I reiterate and reiterate
and reiterate the same sentence. I'm doing [this] for the interest of
Indian media report Waghmare, who is married to an assistant
police commissioner, will receive the highest tier of protection ("Z" level with
36 armed guards), normally reserved for members of the Indian cabinet, state
leaders, members of the supreme court and certain politicians under threat.
Waghmare was named to defend Kasab after other lawyers, who had been
appointed or considered, opted out.
Police say they arrested nine
demonstrators from the far-right Hindu Shiv Sena party outside Waghmare's
The home minister of the state of Maharashtra, Jayant Patil,
says intimidation of defense lawyers will hinder the delivery of justice in the
The special prosecutor in the case also has condemned
such protests, saying the world must see the suspect receive a fair trial in
India. Kasab faces charges of murder and of "waging war" against India. His
trial is scheduled to begin week. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death.
Kasab, arrested at the end of the 60-hour siege of Mumbai in late
November, was the only known survivor of a group of gunmen said to have all come
The attacks on luxury hotels, a rail station and a Jewish
community center, killed more than 160 people and caused relations to
deteriorate between India and Pakistan. India blames the terrorist organization
Lashkar-e-Taiba, based in Pakistan.
Officials here have also questioned
whether the attackers were trained by or had the support of people linked to
Pakistan's military or intelligence agencies.