Mumbai: Nearly a week ahead of the fourth anniversary of the 26/11 attack, Pakistani terrorist Mohammad Ajmal Kasab — who had been convicted and handed capital punishment for his involvement in the Mumbai mayhem — was hanged to death in Pune’s Yerawada central prison on Wednesday morning, in a top-secret operation.
Within hours of his execution, Kasab was buried on the jail premises.
Making an announcement about the hanging of Kasab little over an hour the Pakistani terrorist-convict was executed, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said: “Kasab was hanged in Pune’s Yerawada prison at 7.30am today. The punishment to Kasab is a true tribute to the victims and martyrs of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.”
Patil added: “Through Kasab’s execution, India has sent a message to the world that India does not tolerate those who wage a war against the country. Kasab was given adequate opportunity to defend himself. After a Special court handed him death sentence, Kasab challenged the verdict in the Bombay High Court first and later in the Supreme Court both of which confirmed his death sentence. The President also rejected his mercy petition.”
Talking separately to journalists later, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said that Kasab was hanged to death in accordance with jail norms and was buried on the Yerwada prison premises. “All the proceedings were carried out as per law, He has been buried in Yerwada jail. With this it has been proved that India’s rule of law prevails. If someone breaks the law of land, he will be punished, even if it takes time and expenses. Any attack on the country will not be tolerated.”
The hanging of Kasab comes a fortnight after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the Paksitani terrorist’s mercy petition. “Our ministry had forward Kasab’s mercy petition to Rashtrapati Bhavan on October 16. Later on November 5, the President rejected Kasab’s mercy petition. Immediately upon my return from an Interpol meeting in Rome, I signed Kasab’s execution file on November 7 and the sent was sent to the Maharashtra government on the following day. At that time itself, it had been decided that Kasab would be hanged on November 21,” India’s federal Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said later in the morning in New Delhi.
Asked if India had informed Pakistan about the execution of Kasab, Shinde said: “The External Affairs Ministry, through our mission in Islamabad had informed the Pakistan government about Kasab’s hanging. When they did not accept the letter, they were communicated through fax.”
Asked if Pakistan had made a request for Kasab’s body, Shinde said: “If there was a request for Kasab’s body, we would have obliged, but there was no such request.”
Kasab was among the ten Pakistani terrorists who launched a terror attack on Mumbai on the night of November 26, 2008, which carried on till the morning of November 29, 2008. In all 166 people, including foreigners and policemen, were killed and 300 others injured in the attack.
While nine Pakistani terrorists were killed, Kasab was the lone terrorist to be arrested during the attack on Mumbai’s various landmarks, including Hotel Taj and CST railway terminus.
A trial court had on May 6, 2010, awarded capital punishment to the Pakistani terrorist for his role in the 26/11 attacks. Subsequently, the Bombay High Court confirmed his death sentence on February 21, 2011.
Subsequently, on August 28, 2012, a Supreme Court bench of Justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad dismissed Kasab’s plea challenging his conviction and death sentence confirmed by the Bombay High Court. The bench had also rejected his contention that he was not given a free and fair trial in the case.
Later on September 16, Kasab filed a petition seeking mercy from the President and forwarded the petition to the Rashtrapati Bhavan through the Maharashtra government. The federal Home Ministry later forwarded the petition to the President on October 16.
Kasab was secretly shifted from Mumbai’s Arthur Road prison to Yerwada Central Prison in Pune on the intervening night of November 18 and 19. A team of 17 police officers was involved in the “Operation-X” which was carried in a secret manner.
At Pune jail, Kasab was asked if he had any last wish. However, Kasab replied in the negative. After Kasab was hanged and the doctors formally declared him dead, the jail top brass called up State Home Minister R R Patil and told him: “The Operation-X is over”. It was after that Patil made a formal announcement to the media about Kasab’s execution.