Op X-ecution: Kasab hanged, buried


Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab was executed and buried in Pune's Yerawada Central Prison on Wednesday, five days before the fourth anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks in which 166 people were killed.

The Pakistani terrorist, the lone surviving 26/11 gunman, was hanged to death at 7.30 am, soon after The Indian Express reported in its print and online editions that President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected his mercy petition.

Kasab was moved to Yerawada prison from Mumbai's Arthur Road jail on Monday night as part of a top secret operation codenamed Operation X.

"The transfer was done with moderate security but with utmost secrecy. The exercise was coordinated between the office of the Maharashtra DGP, the Mumbai Police, Mumbai Police Crime Branch, Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad and the Additional Directorate General of Police (Prisons)," a highly placed source in the Maharashtra prisons department said.

Police sources in Pune and Mumbai said 17 personnel including police commandos, guards from both prisons and two Mumbai Police Crime Branch officers travelled with Kasab to Pune in a convoy of six vehicles.

"He was lodged in the high security Anda Cell of Yerawada prison until the time he was hanged," the prisons department source said. The Anda Cell is an elliptical cell which has 18 barracks.

Fifteen minutes after Kasab was hanged, a message was sent to Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil saying Operation X had been successful, sources said. Patil announced the news at a press conference soon afterward.

No hangman was available for the execution, which was carried out by jail officials. "Prison staff completed the entire procedure as per laid-down rules. The lever was pulled by a jail officer," an official at Yerawada prison said.

Yerawada and Nagpur Central Jail are the only two prisons in Maharashtra that have facilities for carrying out an execution. The last surviving hangman of the prisons department died recently. The last hanging in Maharashtra before Wednesday was carried out on July 13, 1995, when Amrutlal Joshi was executed for killing a 77-year-old man in suburban Khar in Mumbai.

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