"I swear by God, won't do such a thing again" (Allah kasam dubara aisi galti nahi karunga), were the last helpless words uttered by Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving terrorist, proved guilty in 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.
Kasab was hanged till death and buried immediately inside Yerwada jail on Wednesday morning.
Entire operation to hang Kasab in Yerwada was kept as a highly guarded secret as many jail officials were not even aware of the fact that Kasab was brought to Pune from Arthur road jail on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday. Many of them came to know about it when entire operation was completed successfully.
An officer from the Arthur road jail, who spoke to Kasab before being shifted to Yerwada jail said, “ On Monday I told Kasab get up you are being shifted to Pune jail (utho aap ko Pune jail shift kiya ja rahan hain). He just laughed at that and did what was instructed. Throughout the journey from Mumbai to Pune, he did not cause any trouble.”
The officer added, “In fact ever since his appeal had been rejected by the Supreme Court, his attitude was that of resignation. He knew that his death was a foregone conclusion and it was a matter of time and did not even react much when we informed him that his mercy petition had been rejected by the President. Hence towards the end, there he did not emote much or display any remorse.” The officer added, “He did not shed a single tear during the last few days.”
Earlier during his trial, Kasab was not as resigned to his fate and would infact look for ways to kill his boredom and asked his lawyers to arrange things like newspapers to books containing song lyrics.
Lawyer Amin Solkar, who represented Kasab in the high court, said that when his trial was going on in the court, Kasab had asked him to get a book that contained lyrics of songs by Mukesh and Rafi so that he could sing them. “He liked singing songs. There are two particular songs one by Mukesh “Hum chod chale is mehfil ko, yaad aaye to kabhie mat rona (I am leaving this world, if you remember me please do not cry). There was another song by Rafi that he hummed frequently however I do not remember which one.”
While police and jail officials were not ready to share much information about the entire operation, sources in Yerwada jail said a team of around 10 government officials was present when Kasab was hanged. They include senior jail officials, government officials, police officer and doctors.
According to officials, who are not authorized to speak to media, Kasab was brought to Yerwada in the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday when Maharashtra was mourning death of Sena chief Bal Thackeray. “He was brought in a van which travelled by express way. Only jail superintendent was informed about shifting of Kasab from Arthur road jail to Yerwada.
Kasab was told by police officials in Arthur road jail about his death. He was even asked to sign some documents, which he did. According to employees with Yerwada jail none of them was aware that Kasab was in Yerwada and he was going to be hanged on Wednesday. “We only anticipated something was going to happen because of some movements”, he said.
As per rules, Kasab was asked about his last wish. Kasab, however, said he had no last wish. He even did not ask whether his mother was informed as desired by him while leaving Arthur road jail. His mother Nooree Lai, however, had been informed by the union home secretary through diplomatic channels. She was informed about his death sentence and whether she would want to claim the body.
Kasab was kept in a special cell for around 30 hours and jail mates were also not aware about him.
Kasab was not disturbed and was cool during his stay in Yerwada. A team of doctors confirmed Kasab’s death after 10 minutes. Sources said that jail authorities had already made all preparations to bury him in jail premises. Last rites, as per Muslim tradition were performed and functioning at jail came to normalcy within minutes.