Ajmal Kasab, one of the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai in India on November 26, 2008, reportedly sought pardon in the name of God seconds before he was executed at Pune’s Yerawada Central Prison on Wednesday.
Kasab, 25, appeared nervous before his hanging but remained quiet. He didn’t say anything, except for responding to the queries from the authorities.
However, a Times of India report, quoting an official present at the time of the execution, said that Kasab lost his composure just before entering the gallows and mumbled that he was sorry for the crime.
"Allah qasam maaf karna, aisi galti dobara nahi hogi (I swear by Allah, please forgive me, such a mistake won't be repeated)," Kasab said. These were reportedly his final words before being hanged.
Kasab was the lone militant caught alive among the ten gunmen who killed 166 people in multiple locations in Mumbai.
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There was immense pressure on the government to execute Kasab after he had exhausted all possible legal options to escape the gallows.
Since his arrest in November2008, Kasab had spent most of the past four years in solitude in a specially made bulletproof cell at Arthur Road Jail, Mumbai.
Kasab, barely 21 at the time of the attack, initially had appeared proud of his action and showed no remorse for the brutal killings.
“He had no repentance. He didn't have any fear of hanging. He was not sad or regretful at all. His only regret was that he got caught alive,” according to Ujjwal Nikam, the prosecution lawyer in the Mumbai attacks case.
But it appears that during his last moments, the magnitude of his crime had struck him.
Kasab, through his lawyers, had appealed against the death sentence. His appeals at the Mumbai High Court and then at the Supreme Court were rejected. His plea for clemency was rejected by the Home Ministry of Maharashtra state.
At last, when the President of India rejected his final mercy plea, Kasab wanted to know if there was any room for further appeal. There wasn't.