Ajmal Kasab: The Terrorist Who 'Waged War Against India'

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole surviving gunman from the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008, was one of the two gunmen who killed 52 people and injuring more than 100 at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

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Ajmal Kasab: The Terrorist Who 'Waged War Against India'

Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, was hanged in 2012.

Mumbai:  Nine years ago, on November 26, 10 heavily-armed terrorists sailed into Mumbai from Karachi and ran rampage through the city, killing 166 and wounding over 300. They split into pairs, and spent the next 72 hours targeting the city's landmarks, including Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Hotel, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, a Jewish community centre among other and carried out a series of coordinated shooting and bombing attacks.

A member of Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, was the sole surviving gunman from the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008. He was one of the two gunmen who opened fire and threw hand grenades at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus killing 52 people and injuring more than 100.

He first pleaded not guilty but later made a confession, admitting being one of the 10 gunmen trained, equipped and financed by the banned Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The then 25-year-old was hanged at Pune's Yerwada Jail on November 21, 2012 in a swift and secret execution.

Kasab was born in Faridkot village in a remote and impoverished region of Punjab in Pakistan's farming belt. His father ran a food stall in the village. He dropped out of school in 2000 and worked as a farm help in Lahore until 2005, according to his initial confession to the police.

Kasab had reportedly said he joined the Islamist group to get weapons training but there have also been claims that his father duped him into doing it for money.

When his trial began in 2009, Kasab at first appeared relaxed, dressed in either a T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms or a traditional kurta-pyjama, joking or smiling at lawyers and reporters.

But he seemed increasingly withdrawn as the trial progressed. He showed no emotion in the dock when he was pronounced guilty of murder and waging war on India. After his conviction, he was held in the high-security Arthur Jail in Mumbai in a special bullet proof jail. 

Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam characterised Kasab as a shrewd and calculating operative, describing him as a "human shape" with no feelings or emotions.

While pushing for the death penalty, Nikam dwelt on the apparent smile Kasab wore while firing on travellers in the train station and his reported regret at arriving late at the target because he had missed the commuter rush.

His defence lawyer, KP Pawar, tried to persuade the court that Kasab was a susceptible young man who had been brainwashed. "He was mentally defective (at the time of the attacks) and the effect impaired his ability to appreciate the impact of his conduct," Pawar told the court.

He was found guilty of a string of charges, including treason, waging war against India, murder and terrorist acts and sentenced to death by a Mumbai trial court in May 2010. He appealed against the death sentence in higher courts, but both the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence. He finally moved a mercy petition which President Pranab Mukherjee rejected.

He was shifted from Arthur Road Jail to Pune's Yerwada Jail where he was hanged and buried shortly after. Before the execution, he was asked whether he wanted to contact his family in Pakistan. He declined but reportedly wanted his mother in Pakistan be told about his death sentence, which the government did through a special letter.

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