Lahore: Pakistani security and intelligence agencies on Wednesday barred journalists and television cameramen from entering Ajmal Kasab's hometown in Punjab province, hours after the lone surviving terrorist involved in the Mumbai attacks was hanged in a Pune jail. The security personnel, who were in plain clothes and pretended to be villagers, stopped reporters from entering Faridkot village, located 150 km from the Punjab capital of Lahore, several journalists said.
The personnel tried to snatch cameras from crews of some TV news channels and manhandled them when they argued they had come to Faridkot to film and interview Kasab's neighbours. "The men from the security agencies in the guise of villagers were deployed on the road leading to Kasab's neighbourhood. They asked us to go back and not to try to defame Pakistan," a correspondent of a leading English daily, who did not want to be named said.
He said the men tried to snatch cameras from the crews of Express News, Channel 5 and Apna TV and manhandled some media representatives when they insisted on entering the neighbourhood. "Why are you bent on defaming our country? Don't play into the hands of an enemy country," the correspondent quoted one of the men as having said.
"Go back home and forget interviewing people of this village," he further quoted the man as having said. A journalist of Express News said that he contacted the district police chief and informed him about the behaviour of the plain clothes personnel.
"The police officers told us that it was better for us to leave the place as the villagers are very angry over the Kasab episode. They do not want to talk," the journalist said. Kasab was born in the farming village of Faridkot in 1987. His father sold snacks like 'pakoras' from a cart. Neighbours have claimed that Kasab loved Bollywood movies and karate as a child.
He reportedly left the village when he was a teenager and went in search of work. Kasab subsequently joined the Lashkar-e-Toiba and was trained along with other terrorists at camps in Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for the November 2008 assault on Mumbai that killed 166 people.