India executes lone surviving gunman from 2008 Mumbai terror attack
India executed the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai terror attack yesterday, four years after Pakistani gunmen blazed through India's financial capital, killing 166 people and throwing relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours into a tailspin.
Mohammed Ajmal Kasab was hanged secretly at a jail in Pune, a city near Mumbai, after Indian President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his plea for clemency.
News of the execution was widely cheered in India, with political parties organising public celebrations and some people setting off firecrackers.
Indian officials accuse Pakistan's intelligence agency of working with the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba to plan the attack - an allegation Islamabad denies. India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since they were carved out of British India in 1947, suspended peace talks after the Mumbai attack.
The attacks were also a major embarrassment for India's security establishment, which failed to stop a small group of gunmen from running roughshod over the police and elite security forces for three days.
Indian authorities faced public pressure to execute Kasab quickly. Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said the 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.
Kasab and nine other gunmen entered Mumbai by boat on November 26, 2008. Carrying mobile phones, grenades and automatic weapons, they fanned out across the city, targeting two luxury hotels, a Jewish centre, a tourist restaurant and a crowded train station. The attack was broadcast live on television, transfixing the nation.
A photo of Kasab striding through Mumbai's main train station, an assault rifle in hand, quickly became the iconic image of the siege.