Kasab calm and smiling before being hanged, declared dead at 8 am

Ajmal Kasab

Ajmal Kasab was calm before his execution and smiling before he was taken from his cell to the gallows, officials who witnessed his hanging on Wednesday said.

"He was smiling before he was taken for execution," Dr Dhananjay Raut, chief medical officer of Yerawada jail, who was among the five people who witnessed the hanging of the Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist, told The Indian Express. "I declared Kasab dead at 8 am. He was fine, kept smiling as we examined him on the morning of his execution."

A government official who also witnessed the process said Kasab even wished officials around 7.15 am, 15 minutes before his scheduled hanging.

"He was very calm and did a salaam to the officials entering the cell," said the official. "He was then taken out of the cell and to the area where the process was to be executed. He had a black cloth covering his face and his hands were tied behind. We heard him saying "Allah-kasam mujhe maaf kar do, aisi galti dubara nahi hogi" (forgive me lord, such a mistake will not happen again) before he was asked to step on the area below the noose."

"An official put the noose around his neck and the lever was pulled. At this the body goes up a little and then comes down after which the doctor checks the pulse of the person who has been hanged," the official said, adding that the entire process took about 7-8 minutes, which was within the time frame allotted.

The execution took place in the presence of the state's additional director general of police (prisons), the jailor, the jail doctor and the district magistrate appointed by the district collector. The judgment was read out to all present and signed by the doctor and the magistrate. The signed documents which said the death sentence had been carried out will be sent to the metropolitan judge in Mumbai who delivered the sentence. A Muslim priest was called before Kasab's body was buried in the jail complex, the official said.

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