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Kasab hanged for 26/11 attack

Mumbai, Nov 21 (IANS)
Published on 21 Nov. 2012 11:42 PM IST
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Pakistani national Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole surviving gunman of the Mumbai terror attack of Nov 26, 2008, was hanged in a Pune jail at 7.30 a.m. Wednesday, after his mercy plea was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee earlier this month.

Kasab had been buried inside the premises of Pune’s Yerawada Central Jail shortly after the execution, Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan told journalists.

Chavan said Kasab had been shifted from Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail to Pune two days ago. Kasab did not leave behind any will, the chief minister said.

The chilling images of Kasab’s killing spree, captured by close-circuit TVs installed at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai were rekindled, as Maharashtra home minister R.R. Patil announced the execution, carried out in complete secrecy.

Kasab’s end came five days before the fourth anniversary of the brutal terror attacks that claimed 166 lives and injured 300 people. Nine of his associates, who had sneaked into Mumbai for the three-day carnage, had been secretly buried in the city in January 2010.

The hanging also comes a day before the winter session of parliament and weeks ahead of Gujarat assembly election in December.

Maharashtra ministers said a letter was sent to the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi, informing them of the decision to hang Kasab. When the letter was not accepted, a the same was faxed to Pakistan’s foreign ministry. But there was no response.

Kasab was sentenced to death on four counts and to life sentence on five counts on charges including murder, waging a war on India and possessing weapons. He was first sentenced to death by a special trial court on May 6, 2010.

Bombay High Court upheld the verdict Feb 21 last year, followed by a similar decision by the Supreme Court on Aug 29. Finally, President Mukherjee rejected his mercy plea Nov 5.

“It took the Maharashtra government less than two weeks to hang Kasab, after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy petition Nov 5. I forwarded it to the Maharashtra government on Nov 8,” union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said in New Delhi.

He informed that the entire operation had to be conducted under secrecy due to the sensitivities involved and all the due procedures were followed. Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who appeared for state in the case, said with Kasab’s hanging homage has now been paid to those lost their lives in the terror attacks.

“By Kasab’s conviction and death penalty, we have proved how the entire conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan. We have set an example that India will not tolerate such attacks and the accused will be brought to justice,” Nikam said.

14 mercy pleas pending before president
As many as 14 mercy petitions from 18 convicts are pending before President Pranab Mukherjee, following the rejection of a similar plea from Mumbai terror attacks convict Ajmal Kasab, who was hanged in Pune Wednesday morning.

Among the pleas pending is one from Mohammed Afzal Guru, a death row convict in the December 2001 terror attack on parliament.

This is probably the first mercy plea on which Mukherjee has taken a decision. As per information available from the home ministry, in response to an RTI query from activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, there were 15 mercy petitions from 19 condemned prisoners under Article 72 of the Constitution till Nov 5, when Mukherjee rejected the petition from Kasab.

One of the mercy pleas submitted in March this year from Balwant Singh Rajoana, killer of Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, is also part of the list.

Among the states, Karnataka has the highest number of petitions pending: four from seven convicts on death row. Haryana and Uttar Pradesh come second, each with two petitions from three condemned prisoners.

Delhi has two petitions, including one from Afzal Guru. Uttarakhand, Chandigarh (Rajoana), and Madhya Pradesh have one petition each. Since 1981, Indian presidents have considered and disposed of 98 mercy petitions, the latest being that of Kasab.

Mukerjee’s predecessor Pratibha Patil had decided on 39 mercy petitions, of which 35 were for death sentence commutation, during her tenure.

These included those charged with serious and barbaric crimes like mass killings, kidnappings and rapes of as many as 22 women and children.

Patil created a record of sorts as far as disposal of clemency pleas is concerned. She rejected the pleas of five convicts that included killers of former premier Rajiv Gandhi and then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh.

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