Ujjwal Nikam, the special public prosecutor of 26/11 Mumbai attack trial, disclosed on Friday that executed terrorist Ajmal Kasab had never demanded mutton biryani while in custody nor was served by the government.
Addressing a global conference on counter terrorism in Jaipur, the lawyer revealed that he cooked up the story to stop an “emotional wave” which was being created in favour of the militant.
Speaking on the occasion, Nikam said he had prosecuted all kinds of criminals and terrorists, but had never come across someone like Kasab.
“He not only knew how to handle sophisticated weapons, he knew how to interact with media and how to draw its attention through his facial expression and body language,” said Nikam.
The public prosecutor recalled that during the trial, once Kasab bowed his head and wiped his eyes. “Soon, electronic media broke the news: ‘tears in Kasab’s eyes’. It was Raksha Bandhan that day, and some speculated that Kasab got emotional in memory of his sister. Some even went on to question whether he was a terrorist or not,” he recalled.
“Media has to play a responsible role and has to be vigilant. They hyped Kasab’s tears and portrayed him as a scapegoat, a young boy, which was not right” he pointed out.
“Following the media hype, I saw a tilt in people’s perspectives. It was then that I made up the statement and said Kasab had demanded mutton biryani just to divert the people’s attention”, he added.
The ‘Biyani remark’ of Nikam had led to public demands for a quick trial. It became a common refrain on social media and elsewhere — “why feed them biryani” became a catchphrase whether it was a discussion on Afzal Guru or the Coast Guard’s sinking of a Pakistani boat off the coast of Gujarat.