India’s home minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, told reporters in New Delhi that Kasab was hanged at 7:30 a.m. at a jail in Pune city, outside Mumbai. The hanging came just five days ahead of the fourth anniversary of the attack.
“It was decided on the 7th of November. It was important to keep it a secret,” Shinde said. He added that Pakistan so far has not asked for Kasab’s body. “We have informed Pakistan,” he said. “If they demand it, we will hand over the body.”
Prithviraj Chavan, the chief minister of the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, said Kasab had been buried in Pune.
For many Indians, Kasab’s trial became a symbol of India’s resolve to tackle terrorism emanating from Pakistan. “There is a rule of law that is followed in India, whether he is an Indian citizen or not,” Chavan said. “This shows that whatever time and money it takes, justice will be done.”
Kasab was asked whether he had any last wish or wanted to write his will. He said in writing that he did not feel the need to do so, Chavan said.
The Supreme Court confirmed the death penalty for Kasab in August, and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his appeal for mercy Nov. 5. Capital punishment is legal in India, but the Supreme Court has ruled that it should be carried out only in the “rarest of rare cases.” Kasab’s hanging was the second since 1995, but the government jumped the line of 16 others whose mercy petitions were pending with Mukherjee.
By Indian standards, under which courts can take several decades to issue a conclusive ruling, Kasab’s trial and hanging have been remarkably quick. In one of the most keenly watched trials in India in recent times, the government set up a special fast-track court that met daily inside a high-security jail.
The convicted terrorist was kept in a bomb-proof, egg-shaped cell in a Mumbai jail for four years, and every detail of his life — from his daily diet to the newspaper he read and how much money was being spent on keeping him alive — made headlines in the Indian media.
“I wondered many times if I will be able to see Kasab hanged in my own lifetime. I am very happy with the justice given by the Indian government,” Geeta Salaskar, the wife of a police officer killed in the attack, told the Indian news channel ABP News. “But still, this is not complete justice, because the masterminds in Pakistan are yet to be punished.”
On Tuesday, India voted against a U.N. draft resolution that called for abolishing the death penalty, arguing that it was a sovereign right of a nation to frame its own laws.