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India Executes Mumbai Attack Gunman
Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 11:42 am
Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the three-day attack on Mumbai in November 2008 that killed more than 160 people, has been hanged in India.
NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from New Delhi that the execution took place in secret inside a high-security jail in the Indian city of Pune, just days before the anniversary of the Mumbai siege:
"Kasab was executed at 7:30 this morning local time in what was by Indian standards speedy justice. This summer, India's Supreme Court upheld his death sentence and this month authorities rejected the 25-year-old's petition for mercy.
"Kasab became the iconic image of the Mumbai siege, photographed brandishing an assault rifle in the Mumbai train station during the rampage that transfixed the world and plunged Indian-Pakistan relations into a tailspin. He was among 10 members of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba who traveled by boat from Karachi to attack Mumbai.
"R.R. Patil, home minister of the state of Maharashtra where Mumbai is located said 'the punishment of Kasab is a true tribute to the victims and martyrs' of the Nov. 26, 2008 attacks. A spokesman for Lashkar-e-Taiba told Reuters that Kasab was a 'hero who will inspire more attacks.'
"Pakistan has reportedly received and acknowledged India's letter notifying it of Kasab's execution. An Anti-Terror Court in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, has been investigating seven other Pakistani militants alleged to be implicated in the Mumbai siege. But the trial conducted in secret has dragged on for years, and Pakistan's failure to resolve the case has deeply irritated India."
The Times of India writes that a jail official says Kasab "appeared to be nervous but was quiet and offered prayers" before his execution. He asked whether his family had been informed of his fate, and was told yes.