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India hangs gunman from 2008 Mumbai attack

9:16 AM, Nov 21, 2012   |    comments
Mohammed Ajmal Kasab is shown in Mumbai in this undated photo.(Photo: AP)
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MUMBAI, India -- India executed the lone surviving Pakistani gunman from the 2008 terror attack on Mumbai early Wednesday, providing Indians much-needed closure over the three-day rampage that shook the nation's core and deepened enmity with neighbor Pakistan.

India blames a Pakistan-based militant organization for the attacks carried out by Mohammed Ajmal Kasab and his comrades that killed 166 people at a train station, a Jewish center and two luxury hotels in its financial capital. India accuses Pakistan's intelligence agency of training, arming and sponsoring the attackers, allegations Pakistan denies.

Kasab, a Pakistani citizen, was hanged in secrecy at 7.30 a.m. at a jail in Pune, a city near Mumbai, after Indian President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his plea for mercy.

Indian authorities faced public pressure to quickly execute Kasab, and the government fast-tracked the appeal and execution process, which often can take years, or in some cases, decades.

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the home ministry sent Kasab's mercy plea to Mukherjee on Oct. 16 and Mukherjee rejected it on Nov. 5.

"It was decided then that on 21st November at 7:30 in the morning he would be hanged. That procedure has been completed today," Shinde said.

R.R. Patil, the home minister for the state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, called the execution a tribute to "all innocent people and police officers who lost their lives in this heinous attack on our nation."

India's Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said the Indian government had attempted to inform Pakistani officials of the impending execution, but a fax sent to Pakistan's foreign office went unanswered. He said the government had also informed Kasab's next of kin.

Associated Press

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