Ajmal Kasab, the last surviving gunmen who took part in the Mumbai Massacre in 2008, has been executed according to the Indian government.
Four years after playing his part in carrying out the worst terrorist attack in Indian history, Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 assault on Mumbai, was secretly hanged in an Indian jail in Pune.
When authorities announced the execution of the Pakistani national it was met with celebration on the streets.
“All the police officers and personnel who lost their life in the battle against the terrorists have today been served justice,” said the Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, in Delhi.
In Pakistan, the secret hanging, codenamed “Operation X”, was seen as an attempt by the Indian government to prove itself tough on terrorism. India is waiting for Islamabad to bring to justice the Pakistani masterminds of the attacks.
The 2008 attacks, which killed 166 people remain a painful wound in the India-Pakistan relationship. During the siege, Kasab was famously photographed in Mumbai’s main railway terminus where he and an accomplice killed 52 people. He was charged with 86 offences, including murder and waging war against the Indian state, and was sentenced to death in 2010.
During the 60-hour Mumbai siege, Kasab was famously photographed in Mumbai’s main railway terminus where he and an accomplice killed 52 people.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, a spokesman for India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, said the execution “sends out a strong message and warning to India’s enemies and to forces across the border that are running factories of terrorism”.
Meanwhile, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the jihadist group that sent Kasab and the nine other gunmen from Pakistan to Mumbai in late November 2008, called Kasab a “hero” and vowed to carry more attacks. “He will inspire other fighters to follow his path,” a commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba told Reuters.
Kasab, a native of Pakistan, was filmed confessing to his part in the attack in the HBO documentary “Terror in Mumbai.” The Pakistani government formerly endorsed the execution, although public sentiment was largely outraged.
The Times of India reports that Kasab lost composure at the end:
Only when he was being taken to the gallows did Ajmal Kasab lose his composure. “Allah kasam maaf karna. Aisi galthi dobara nahi hogi. (I swear by Allah, please forgive me. I won’t make such a mistake again),” were the last coherent words uttered by Kasab as he was taken to the gallows at Yerawada central prison on Wednesday morning. Sources said Kasab then spoke incoherently for a while until the lever was pulled.
He was hanged in the presence of a doctor, a medical team and prison and district administration officials. “There was no resistance from Kasab when he was brought to the gallows,” a source said.
The last execution in India was carried out in 2004.