INDIA: MUMBAI ATTACKER HANGED IN GREAT SECRECY IN THE FIRST EXECUTION SINCE 2004
November 21, 2012: India executed a Pakistan national, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of a militant squad that killed 166 people in a rampage through the financial capital Mumbai in November 2008. It was the first time a capital sentence had been carried out in India since 2004.
Kasab was hanged in secrecy at 7:30 a.m. at a jail in Pune, a city near Mumbai, after Indian President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his plea for mercy. He was buried inside the prison where he was hanged, officials said. Pakistan was informed beforehand about Kasab's execution, and India said it would hand over the body to Pakistan if a request was made.
"All the police officers and personnel who lost their life in the battle against the terrorists have today been served justice," Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said shortly after Kasab was hanged. R.R. Patil, the home minister for the state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, called the execution a tribute to āall innocent people and police officers who lost their lives in this heinous attack on our nation.ā
On 26 November 2008, ten militants arrived on the Mumbai shoreline in a dinghy before splitting into four groups and embarking on a killing spree. Carrying mobile phones, grenades and automatic weapons, they held off elite commandos for up to 60 hours in two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and the city's main train station. The three-day attack was broadcast live on television, transfixing the nation and world. India blames Laskhar e-Taiba, a militant Pakistani organization, for orchestrating the attacks. The incident inflamed relations between the nuclear armed neighbors.
Indian authorities faced public pressure to quickly execute Kasab, and the government fast-tracked the appeal and execution process, which often can take years, or in some cases, decades.
An Indian judge sentenced Kasab to death in May 2010 for waging war against India, murder and terrorism, among other charges. In August 2012, India's Supreme Court upheld Kasab's death sentence over the attacks, and President Mukherjee rejected his plea for clemency on 5 November, although this was not made public until the night before the execution. (Sources: Reuters and dailymail.co.uk, 21/11/2012)