Mumbai, Nov 21 (IANS) Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil Wednesday evening termed the hanging of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab as "a true tribute to the innocent victims and martyrs" of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
Describing the 26/11 incident as "an attack on India," Patil said that police succeeded in killing nine of the 10 terrorists who created mayhem in south Mumbai and nabbed Kasab alive.
"A message has gone to the world that anybody who attacks India would be given a fitting reply and punished as per the laws of this country," Patil told mediapersons.
Special Inspector General of Police, Law and Order, Maharashtra, Deven Bharti and 16 handpicked men oversaw Operation X, leading to the hanging of Kasab.
The process was quietly initiated after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Kasab's mercy plea Nov 5, official sources said.
The team's mission was to hang and bury 25−year−old Kasab in complete secrecy in Pune's Yerawada Central Jail, where he was moved from Mumbai Nov 19.
Once Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde signed the file from the president's office on Nov 7 and sent it to the Maharashtra government the next day, the police team took charge.
Only a handful knew that Kasab would hang on Nov 21 morning.
These included State Director−General of Police Sanjeev Dayal, Mumbai police Commissioner Satyapal Singh and Inspector−General of Police (Prisons) Meeran Borwankar, who also oversees the Yerawada jail, and those at the helm in the state law and order and intelligence departments and Mumbai CID, besides a handful of top Pune police officials.
Yerawada is one of the two jails in Maharashtra −− the other being Nagpur Central Jail −− where facilities for hangings are available.
Pune's proximity to Mumbai played a role. An expert hangman was summoned.
Kasab had been told of his impending hanging by a jail staff in Mumbai Nov 12.
He requested that his mother be informed, and indicated he had no last wish. He did not want to make a will or any final testament.
Fifteen minutes after Kasab was hanged, the Operation X chief conveyed to the state home department that the task was "successfully completed".