Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only gunman to be captured alive following the 2008 Mumbai terrorism attacks, was hanged in Pune early yesterday morning in an announced execution.
The 24-year-old Pakistani gunman was secretly transferred from Arthur Road Prison in Mumbai to Pune prison about 100 kilometers away after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his plea for clemency on November 5.
His execution was held just five days before the fourth anniversary of the attacks in Mumbai which led to the deaths of more than 160 people.
R. R. Patil, home minister for Maharashtra state which includes Mumbai, welcomed his execution an hour after it took place.
“I sincerely believe this is a tribute to all innocent people and the officers who lost their lives in the Mumbai attacks," he said.
Kasab's family in Pakistan and the Pakistani government were informed through the Indian High Commission, Patil added.
After news of the hanging spread in Pune crowds gathered outside the jail distributing candy and shouting slogans – many of them activists and members of political parties – as a beefed up police presence guarded the gates.
“Finally, justice has been done,” said Mohanrao Shinde Sarkar, president of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, outside the prison.
Kasab’s body was buried inside the compound, according to police.
Following his arrest in 2008, Kasab was kept in a bullet-proof cell in Mumbai.
The Bombay High Court sentenced him to death in October last year following convictions on charges ranging from treason to waging war against India.
He then appealed to the Supreme Court, which ruled against him in August 29 this year.
Kasab’s hanging is a rarity in India where he was only the third person in the past 17 years to be executed in a country notorious for its slow judicial procedures and increasing reluctance to carry out the death penalty.
On Tuesday, India was one of 36 countries – including Pakistan, the US, China and Sri Lanka – to oppose a United Nations draft resolution calling for a moratorium on capital punishment.