NEW DELHI: Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, was hanged at Yerwada Central Jail in Pune early Wednesday at 7:30 am. He was buried inside the jail at 9.30 a.m.
According to jail officials, when his hands and legs were being tied just before the hanging, Kasab’s last words were: “Allah qasam maaf karna, aisi galti dobara nahi hogi” (God please forgive me, such a mistake will not be repeated).
The hangman was paid Rs 5,000 for the execution under the secret `Operation X’.
“Earlier, the hangman used to get Rs 10. Now it is Rs 5,000. Although we had received several applications from persons expressing their willingness to do the job for free, the government felt it would be best if an authorized person does it,” Maharashtra home minister RR Patil later told the media.
The minister said Nov 21 was fixed as the date for hanging 25-year-old Kasab by the state government after consultation with the additional sessions judge on September 11. He said Kasab was shifted to Yerwada on Nov 18. On Nov 19, Kasab was given his death warrant to sign. Which he signed.
The execution followed after Kasab’s mercy petition was rejected by the President on November 7.
Union home minister Sushil Shinde said, “Kasab was hanged at 7:30 am. President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the Kasab’s mercy petition on November 6. President signed the Kasab’s death sentence file on November 5 and I also signed it on November 8. Later, on November 8, it was decided that Ajmal Kasab will be hanged on November 21.”
Kasab, who had been lodged in the high-security Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, was secretly shifted to Yerawada Jail which has the gallows. Since the Yerwada Jail currently has no hangman, the executioner must have been flown in from outside.
He was one of the 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists who slipped into Mumbai from the Arabian Sea after travelling by boat from Karachi and created mayhem in the Indian financial capital on November 26, 2008, by killing 166 people.
It was the worst terrorist attack on India soil.
Kasab was the costliest jail inmate in India as the government had to create a bomb-proof, egg-shaped security cell in Arthur Road Jail for him at a cost of Rs 5 crore. Crores of rupees were also being spent annually on maintaining the highest security around the jail by over 200 jawans of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
India informed the Pakistani authorities on Tuesday about the death warrant against Kasab. But Pakistan reportedly refused to accept the Indian letter through the Indian mission in Islamabad.
Union home minister Sushil Shinde was quoted as saying that when the Indian High Commission in Islamabad tried to give the letter to the Pakistan government, they refused to take it. The letter was later faxed to the Pakistani authorities.
The home minister said there was no request by Pakistan for the body of Kasab to be handed over to them.
Shinde was quoted as saying that the operation was kept so secret that even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the ruling UPA chief Sonia Gandhi were not informed in advance.