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.

On Tuesday, a day before the hanging, doctors conducted a health check-up of Kasab that included examination of his blood pressure, pulse and mental condition. The psychiatrists who examined him too felt he was fine, Raut said and added that Kasab was kept in the 'anda' cell of the jail and was served two meals on Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, Kasab was woken up at 5 am. "He drank a cup of tea and even at that time he smiled," Raut said. "He was very comfortable, did not say any prayers but just sat at one place and continued to smile. He was conscious and cooperative."

Even before he was sent to Yerawada jail from Arthur road jail in Mumbai, Kasab seemed to be in a "perfect" state of mind. Dr T P Lahane, dean of Mumbai's J J Hospital, said Kasab was fine and did not speak to anyone. "He was checked by our doctors and was declared fit before being sent to Pune," Lahane told The Indian Express.

J J hospital doctors who had treated Kasab in prison earlier this month when he was suspected to have dengue fever had said that he only had a mild fever at that time. Kasab was examined twice a week by J J hospital doctors while jail doctors were available around the clock, Lahane added. "When he had a mild fever, he was given antibiotics and was medically fine. There were no other ailments," Lahane said.

Psychiatrists who had interacted with Kasab in Arthur road jail recalled how Kasab seemed to be in a normal state of mind even when he met doctors two years ago. He sang songs and laughed a lot then, said the psychiatrists who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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