Closure? Mumbai gunman Ajmal Kasab hanged

Published: November 22, 2012

Kasab was hanged to death five days before the four-year anniversary of the Mumbai attacks. PHOTO: REUTERS.

NEW DELHI: Preparing for what would be only the second execution in India in the last 15 years, the hangman in Pune’s historic Yerwada jail did not know who was being brought to his gallows.

Amidst airtight secrecy, on Wednesday morning 7.30 am, Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman of the Mumbai massacre of 2008, was hanged to death – five days before the four-year anniversary of what is termed the most potent terror attack on Indian soil since Partition.

His personal journey from his rustic village in Faridkot, Pakistan, which he left half a decade ago in 2007 as a troubled 25-year-old, to the gallows in Pune, where he stood as a hardened militant responsible for taking some 166 lives, may have left a near-indelible mark on relations between Pakistan and India.

Senior police officials say Pakistan-born Kasab’s last and only wish was that his mother be informed of his hanging. According to authorities, Kasab’s body has been buried inside the Yerwada jail compound.

Judge ML Tahaliyani, who conducted the Mumbai attack trial, said in his sentence: “He (Kasab) should be hanged by the neck until he is dead,” adding that he had lost his right to “humanitarian treatment.” President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected his plea for mercy earlier this month.

“His execution is a fitting tribute to the victims of the Mumbai attacks,” Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil announced to reporters in Mumbai.

Secrecy

Kasab had been lodged in Mumbai’s Arthur Road prison ever since his arrest and was whisked out of his heavily-guarded cell in the intervening night of November 18 and 19, a senior police official said on Wednesday. According to the officer, except the jail superintendent, deputy jailor and doctor, no jail authority was informed about the identity of the accused being brought in to Yerwada where he was to be hanged in full secrecy.

“Jail authorities were only told that a high-profile accused is being brought to Yerwada. His identity was not revealed. Kasab was lodged in an isolated egg-shaped cell guarded by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel,” the official revealed.

So clandestine was the entire affair that even the hangman was not informed about the identity of the accused till the last minute. “We had told the hangman that he is to execute the death penalty of a terrorist. The identity was revealed to him only few minutes before the execution,” the official said.

Built by the British to house those arrested during the freedom struggle, Yerwada jail’s walls are already replete with history, including the incarceration of Mahatma Gandhi for several years.

Kasab’s history

The 25-year-old reportedly ran away from his poverty-stricken home and a strict father with whom he had quarrelled for not being able to afford new clothes for Eid.

After a process of radicalisation upon leaving home – on Eid day in 2007 – Kasab and his friends signed up to become members of a militant organisation, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and are said to have been trained at the Markaz Taiba. He later also is said to have received training in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

According to some newspaper reports, LeT chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi had offered Kasab’s parents Rs150,000 for his services in the carnage in Mumbai.

Kasab, along with nine others, became partner in a meticulously-planned terror attack on November 26, 2008, after they left Pakistan and entered Mumbai via sea. The group split up into pairs and stormed two luxury hotels – Taj Mahal and Oberoi Trident – the CST station, a Jewish religious centre, and Leopold Cafe in south Mumbai.

Case not closed

While Kasab may have been hanged, the matter is far from over. Both in India and Pakistan, the larger conspiracy behind the Mumbai attack continues to be the subject of a probe four years after the massacre.

Another militant Abu Jundal, who is also lodged in an Indian jail, has reportedly confessed that it was indeed LeT leader Hafiz Saeed who had trained Kasab. The Indian government’s plan was to bring Kasab and Jundal face to face to be interrogated together.

Whether Kasab was hanged after this meeting, and whether the interrogation took place still remains unknown.

Reader Comments (35)

  • yajsingh
    Nov 22, 2012 - 5:44AM

    Closure? Kasab was mere foot soldier. Until masterminds of 26/11 remain large in Pakistan, there can be no closure.

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  • farhan
    Nov 22, 2012 - 5:56AM

    Is this the begining or the end ? Glad he is gone tho7gh.

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  • Nov 22, 2012 - 6:05AM

    Time to hang the Kasabs of Pakistan

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  • K B Kale
    Nov 22, 2012 - 6:08AM

    Mumbai Massacre will have a “closure” when CJP sentences Hafiz Saeed to the gallows & the sentence is carried out. I hope that news is also covered by Ms. Aditi Phadnis!

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  • Hairaan
    Nov 22, 2012 - 6:13AM

    When are we going to hang our Kasab, Sarabjit Singh?Recommend

  • gp65
    Nov 22, 2012 - 6:30AM

    Indian government has already clarified that closure will be achieved when the planners are sentenced.

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  • anand singh
    Nov 22, 2012 - 7:35AM

    It is silly to equate the hanging of Kasab with a closure.

    It may be convenient for some in Pak to feels so but its no where near a closure.

    So long as Pak territory continues to be used for terrorist acts there can be no closure at all.

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  • Jim
    Nov 22, 2012 - 8:06AM

    Gunman? He was a cowardly, brainwashed terrorist who shot unarmed people. By that token, the TTP are mere bandits.

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  • jalaj
    Nov 22, 2012 - 8:13AM

    You call him..gunman…even a live coverage could not make you believe that he was a terrorist….such biasness.

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  • Kamran Qadri
    Nov 22, 2012 - 8:15AM

    Wish killers of innocent Kashmiris by indian army are hanged to death.Recommend

  • syed baqar ahsan
    Nov 22, 2012 - 8:17AM

    @yajsingh:
    The master minds are not in Pakistan,some people came as ally and friends established them selves and used Pakistani soil and achieved aim by breaking hard nut(india)then selling huge security/military equipment to India,now they have also penetrated in your system like they enter ours few decades back.Mambai drama-aim achieved-India has huge reserves.

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  • andleeb (canada)
    Nov 22, 2012 - 8:23AM

    There is absolutely no proof that Kasab was Pakistani. It is widely believed that he was a Hindu RAW agent and there was probably no hanging either (hence the secrecy). Inspector Karkare had come to know about this and that is why he was silenced by the RSS.

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  • Anonymous
    Nov 22, 2012 - 8:39AM

    @Hairaan who writes “When are we going to hang our Kasab, Sarabjit Singh?”

    Pakistanis have a tendency to find something equivalent for everything that is Indian. This is a result of Pakistani’s massive inferiority complex vis-a-vis India.

    However your Kasab is not Sarabjis Singh. Sarabjit Singh is an innocent guy who has been convicted without any proof apart from his forced confession.

    Sarabjit was a victim of Pakistan’s horrible system.

    But you can hang him and celebrate, just like you celebrate your victory day of 1965, and like the victory of Kargil as claimed by Musharraf.Recommend

  • aysha
    Nov 22, 2012 - 8:39AM

    It is most unfortunate that a young man’s life was wasted like that. Justice needed to be done and it is clearly done. also the Indian judiciary will do more good by bringing to justice the people involved in samjhota express killings

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Nov 22, 2012 - 9:02AM

    Any one who is involved and proved guilty should not be spared at any cost and must be hanged till death.

    There are number of Indian terrorists languishing in Pakistani jails who killed innocent people in various parts of the country and have been proved guilty.

    They should also not to be spared by the Government of Pakistan at any cost and must be hanged till death without any further delay.

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  • Hairaan
    Nov 22, 2012 - 9:34AM

    @jalaj:
    What’s the difference?

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  • i wonder how
    Nov 22, 2012 - 9:55AM

    how did they get in by sea without anyone from the “Indian side” even knowing? Lapse of security???

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  • Ahmed
    Nov 22, 2012 - 10:11AM

    Very right decision but a little bit late, he should have been hanged much earlier denying him the right to mercy petition, similarly all the Indian terrorists (Sarabjeet Singh etc.) in Pakistani jails should also be hanged as soon as possible. I am confused over the Pakistani policy as why they are delaying the hanging of Sarabjeet Singh & likes.

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  • Ahmed
    Nov 22, 2012 - 10:25AM

    @Anonymous: Again Indian rhetoric, “Mistaken Identity” Why is it so ? when any person we trial as indian spy or terrorist is always a case of mistaken identity ? Are indians so innocent that in response of pakistan’s conspiracies against india, Indians always send sweets and flowers. ? Grow up guys !

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  • Nov 22, 2012 - 11:52AM

    Now the some in the comments section represent the Pakistan that we know. In Dawn, there is heavy censoring and you don’t hear extreme views, which are pretty significant.

    But, thankfully ET has much liberal policies which allow Kasab to be called a Hero, an innocent man, framed by RAW,etc.

    This is real Pakistan, not what Dawn represents. ET is doing a great job in promoting all sides without prejudice.

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  • Nov 22, 2012 - 12:12PM

    Now, this is the Pakistan we know.. ET is doing a truly wonderful job of approving comments even of the Right and Extreme right. This gives you a real perspective.

    There are commentators who are posting on ET of how Kasab is a Hero, innocent or framed by RAW. This is simply now available in sites like Dawn, which didn’t even publish my comment where I accused of this exact same thing – extreme censorship.

    This is real Pakistan, a place where Kasab is either Hero or innocent, never guilty, for a sizeable chunk of the population; where Qadri is a Hero and in stead of supporting Malala you start protesting Drone strikes.

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  • faraz
    Nov 22, 2012 - 12:31PM

    Now where are ‘human rights activists’ who oppose capital punishment?

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  • K B Kale
    Nov 22, 2012 - 1:14PM

    @Hairaan:
    Dear ‘Hairaan’bhai, there is no comparison between Kasab and Sarabjeet Singh! Just the way Pakistan did not even accepting the bodies of their soldiers killed in Kargil misadventure (saying they were not Pakistani), Pakistan didn’t even have any sympathy for Kasab whom they refused to accept as their own countryman till the media reached his village in Faridkot (based on his confession about who he was and where he came from)! But India has always owned Sarabjeet Singh as their citizen. He is innocent and being held unnecessarily. At the most he can be exchanged against some other prisoner (not terrorist) held in India.
    So if you hang him, it would be a cruel joke! But it wouldn’t be the first one where Pakistan is concerned. You did hang Z A Bhutto, remember?

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  • K B Kale
    Nov 22, 2012 - 1:23PM

    @Hairaan:
    Dear ‘Hairaan’bhai, there is no comparison between Kasab and Sarabjeet Singh! Just the way Pakistan did not even accepting the bodies of their soldiers killed in Kargil misadventure (saying they were not Pakistani), Pakistan didn’t even have any sympathy for Kasab whom they refused to accept as their own countryman till the media reached his village in Faridkot (based on his confession about who he was and where he came from)! But India has always owned Sarabjeet Singh as their citizen. He is innocent and being held unnecessarily. At the most he can be exchanged against some other prisoner (not terrorist) held in India.
    So if you hang him, it would be a cruel joke! But it wouldn’t be the first one where Pakistan is concerned. You did hang Z A Bhutto, remember?Recommend

  • Dr.A. K.Tewari
    Nov 22, 2012 - 2:13PM

    Now after hanging Kasav India has given a clear massage to Pakistan that we are determined to punish all those who support terrorists in Pakistan and we can also solve Kashmir issue just like Israel .

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  • 26/11 Drama
    Nov 22, 2012 - 2:25PM

    I guess after this uni-lateral and so-called investigations and execution, India is left with no reason to chant “mumbai attacks” mantra again. This ‘mumbai-attacks’ chapter is closed permanently. Plus there is no point arguing Sarabjit’s release or even amnesty. Indian FM yesterday told Pakistan to act against terrorists “as per law of land”, and “consider it according to rules”. So we would. Sarabjit has been convicted as per ‘Pakistani laws’ for terrorist attacks in Lahore and Faisalabad in 1990, killing more than a dozen people. Definitely “Rule of law” would prevail in this case too.

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  • Ram
    Nov 22, 2012 - 3:31PM

    I felt sad to read Kasab’s back ground – unemployed poor young guy from a village, illiterate, misguided and brainwashed by LET for money. There must be many such youngsters and without a way forward, they will be susceptible to fanatics/terrorist groups. The present young population will be governing Pakistan tomorrow and therefore it is imperative that intellectuals and NGOs, samaritans of Pakistan regularly counsel and create greater awareness among unemployed youth. While you all have to fight terrorism in your country, you need to ensure that the present unemployed youth don’t become a terrorist of the future

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  • K B Kale
    Nov 22, 2012 - 3:35PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    You didn’t even spare your own then-PM Z A Bhutto who was innocent!
    So much for your judiciary!!
    Why should you spare others?

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  • Nov 22, 2012 - 4:27PM

    Kasab was hanged in a hurry to propitiate the Shiv Sena just as two girls were arrested for a Facebook post criticizing the Mumbai shut-down at Thackeray’s death to propitiate the Shiv Sena. (I have shown Indian governments are proxies for the CIA & India’s RAW participated, with Pakistan’s ISI, in the Mumbai killings). During Thackeray’s 1992 violence against Muslims that killed about a thousand, I wrote to the press criticizing it at which Thackeray said “I have no respect for intellectuals” but stopped the violence. His bravery, like other Indians’, was limited to fighting other non-white people while they continue to pay tributes to the British — an example is in Ajay Shukla’s defence blog of November 17 ’12 — who killed over ten million Indians — by guns and sword, not famines — in just ten years after 1857. Citing benefits of refrigeration and supply chains to farmers from Foreign Investment is like citing benefits from railroads East India Company will build; can’t do anything ourselves, though Indian companies are spending tens of billions of dollars every year on buying Western companies which benefits India not at all by way of jobs or technology development and adds to the loot of India, depriving India of this investment. I repeat: India’s population is a mountain of S-H-I-T. Bal Thackeray was a particle of S-H-I-T in this mountain of S-H-I-T. See IndiasTraitorGovtAndMediaDOTblogspotDOTcom

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  • Khan
    Nov 22, 2012 - 5:14PM

    Such a shame. Bal Thackeray couldn’t see Kasab’s hanging his life.

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  • Ram
    Nov 22, 2012 - 7:38PM

    @Khan – Bal Thackeray, if alive, couldn’t have witnessed hanging as he wouldn’t have been allowed inside Erawada prison, Pune. By the way what is there to be ashamed about it?

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  • Dr.A. K.Tewari
    Nov 22, 2012 - 11:11PM

    @Hairaan:

    Hareraam what you saying …?

    Still not knowing the repurcussions ,

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  • Dr.A. K.Tewari
    Nov 22, 2012 - 11:16PM

    @Hairaan:

    Hareraam what you saying …?

    Still not knowing the repurcussions ,

    Operation black tornado has not terminated .It is still on.,,,

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  • farhan
    Nov 23, 2012 - 5:25AM

    There are days when I wish for pak n india to live in peace and then there are days when I say let them take their anger to the next level and kill each other. Hopefully after that massive massacre tensions would ease out. I cannot believe that intelligent people refuse peace and just want show of power.

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  • huzaifa
    Nov 25, 2012 - 6:17PM

    Kashmir is the root cause, if you will not solve it then it will breed more violence and hatred. UN says that 80000 Kashmitis have been killed, do some body think that their sons will ignore it and will become good indian citizens? Please follow logic..

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