Sunday, May 23, 2010


Indian plane crash kills 159

At least 159 people aboard an Air India plane were killed when the aircraft crashed after it overshot a hilltop runway near the southern Indian city of Mangalore early Saturday, officials said.

The Boeing 737-800 aircraft carrying 160 passengers and six crewmembers burst into flames, the Times of India reported.

The plane was flying from Dubai and trying to land around 6 a.m. local time when it overshot the runway, which ends in a valley.

The plane hit a fence and went beyond the boundary wall of the airport, according to the Press Trust of India.

"At least 160 passengers have died in the crash," said V.S. Acharya, home minister of the state of Karnataka, according to Reuters.

There were reports that up to six people may have survived the crash and had been taken to hospital.

Seemant Singh, a police official at Mangalore airport, told The Associated Press that conditions were poor when the plane overshot the runway. Pre-monsoon rains over the past two days caused low visibility in the area, officials said.

Indian TV showed images of smoke billowing from the crash site and rescue crews carrying people from the wreckage.

Firefighters had difficulty reaching the site crash because the airport is on a plateau surrounded by hills, officials said.

"This is a major calamity," Acharya told CNN-IBN TV.

Aviation experts said Bajpe airport's "tabletop" runway makes a bad crash inevitable if a plane overshoots it.


Thursday, May 6, 2010


Death Sentence for Ajmal Kasab

A Mumbai Special Court, which conducted the trial of 26/11 terror strikes, announced the death penalty for Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist. The sentencing by Judge M L Tahiliyani makes Kasab the 52nd person on death row in India. Kasab was handed capital punishment for killing 72 people and waging war against the state.

Kasab got the death sentence on four counts, while he got life-term in five other cases.

Kasab, a Pakistan citizen, has turned into one of India's costliest prisoners. Till now, the Government has spent over 35 crore rupees for his safety.

Public prosecutor, Ujjwal Nikam, described him as "worse than a wild beast... Kasab is a killing machine... and the orders for this machine came from Pakistan."

On Monday, Kasab was found guilty on more than 80 of the 86 charges brought against him for planning and executing the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

The death penalty will not be implemented immediately. Kasab has the option of appealing to higher courts, and can also file a mercy petition for the consideration of the President.

Special Public Prosecutor in the Mumbai attack case Ujjwal Nikam today expressed happiness over awarding of death sentence to Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab for the carnage, saying the verdict has delivered justice to the families of the victims. "I am happy about the verdict.

Nikam, who fought India's biggest terror attack case, said the "fair and open trial in the case" has given the message to the entire world that in India everybody, even a dreaded terrorist, gets full opportunity to defend himself. Speaking on the trial procedure in the special court, he said Kasab tried every trick to mislead the court on several occasions. "Sometimes he would ask for chicken biriyani, sometimes he would tell us that he wanted to tie a rakhi. He used all the theatrics so as to save himself," Nikam said

The 22-year-old Kasab, from Pakistan's Punjab province was seen crying as he was led back to the court room after stepping out briefly with the judge's consent to drink water.

At one point, special judge M.L. Tahaliyani asked the defence lawyer if Kasab wanted to say something. When the question was posed to him, Kasab just shook his head. He looked irritated and again sat down. The judge then spoke directly to the prisoner in Hindi: 'Do you want to say something?' Kasab looked at the judge blankly, shook his head and sat down.

Speaking later, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said: "Those were crocodile tears." Nikam went on to recite a Sanskrit verse to mean that no matter how much milk is given to a snake, it will always spew venom.


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