New Delhi: India hanged Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist to have survived the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, the home ministry said on Wednesday.
The execution at Yerawada prison in Pune, near Mumbai, came just hours after reports that President Pranab Mukherjee on 5 November rejected a mercy plea by Kasab, who had said he belonged to the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
“ The petition for clemency filed by condemned prisoner Mohammed Ajmal Mohammed Amir Kasab was rejected by the President on 5 November 2012. The sentence was executed today at 7.30am at Yerawada Central Prison, Yerawada, Pune,” the home ministry said in a press statement.
The government said it had informed Pakistan about the execution of the Pakistani national. “The external affairs ministry has informed the Pakistan government,” home minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters in New Delhi.
It was not immediately clear whether Pakistan had been informed before or after Kasab was hanged on Wednesday morning.
“We maintained so much secrecy because it is necessary to keep secrecy in matters such as this,” Shinde said.
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid, while addressing a press conference in New Delhi, said: “It is a signal for the entire world that law is uniformly applied here. We have acted as per the laid procedures and laws.”
“If Pakistan or family seeks his body, the government will consider it as per the laws. We don’t have any knowledge of this demand yet,” Khurshid added.
The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said Kasab’s hanging was a right step taken after some delay.
“Mumbai attacks had happened in 2008 and he was hanged in 2012. It took four years to hand him the last sentence,” he said.
The BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government should not delay in commuting death sentence to Afzal Guru, convicted for attack on the Parliament in 2001.
“It will serve as a warning and a lesson to Kasab’s bosses across the border,” he said.
In August, the Supreme Court upheld Kasab’s death sentence over the attack on a string of targets in Mumbai that killed 166 people. It was the first time a capital sentence had been carried out in India since 2004.
Many foreigners, some of India’s wealthy business elite, and poor train commuters were killed by 10 Pakistani gunmen in a three-day rampage through some of Mumbai’s best-known landmarks.
Kasab was filmed walking through Mumbai’s main train station carrying an AK-47 assault rifle and a knapsack on his back. Nearly 60 people were gunned down in the crowded station.