10-year-old eyewitness identifies Kasab

Devika and her family were waiting in the passenger lounge at the CST with booked tickets to Pune. Suddenly, there was a commotion and she was hit by a bullet in her right leg.

The girl saw many others being killed or injured. What she could not forget was the face of the terrorist who opened the indiscriminate fire.

On Wednesday, she walked with crutches into the special court, inside Arthur Road Central Prison to become the youngest witness in the 26/11 trial, and fearlessly pointed her finger at the lone captured Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab.

Devika is now disabled for life. When she took the witness box, everyone held their  breath. The designated judge M A Tahilyani asked her whether she can identify the terrorist who had fired bullets on her and other passengers in the CST.

Kasab was standing in the dock along with two other accused. Devika did not falter, and straightaway pointed a finger at Kasab.

Describing the horror on the night of November 26, Devika said, “There was a loud explosion and my father said we should leave. Holding me in his arms, he started running in one direction while my brother ran in another.”

“Just as we were leaving I saw two persons firing at people. I received a bullet injury in my right leg. My leg was injured and blood spilled out.”

Devika is among the three witnesses who deposed before the court regarding the terror strike at the CST. Her father, Natwarlal, and an assistant police inspector who was injured in the firing at CST, also deposed before the court on Wednesday.

It was a moving scene when Devika entered the courtroom with crutches, assisted by her father. The little girl spoke in Hindi as her brother and father looked on. The judge, while verifying if she was a competent witness, asked her whether she knew the meaning of taking oath, to which Devika said she did. “All I know is that I have to speak the truth and it is a sin to tell lies,” she replied.

Devika told the court that her family was planning to travel to Pune and were sitting in the main waiting hall of CST when the attack took place. The defence counsel for Kasab, Abbas Kazmi, chose not to cross-examine the witness and it was left to the judge to ask a few questions to the girl.

When asked by the court if her testimony was true, Devika said, “It is not correct to say that I am telling lies about Kasab opening fire. I have taken an oath in the name of God and I will not tell lies.” The girl also denied that she had identified Kasab only because the police had asked her to do so.

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