India executes Yakub Memon, the man convicted of financing the deadly 1993 Mumbai bombings, Indian media reported.
The serial blasts killed 257 people, and were allegedly to avenge the killing of Muslims in riots a few months earlier.
Memon was executed on his 53rd birthday after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Memon’s clemency on Wednesday for a 14 day delay on his execution so he could prepare for death and bid his goodbye to his family. Memon was hanged at Nagpur jail in the western state of Maharashtra around 7 a.m., according to TV reports.
No family members at the jail during the exectuion. Yakub’s brother, Suleiman Memon, and cousin Usman, was not seen.
Suleiman Memon had made an application to jail authorities requesting for his brother’s remains to be handed over to them, but authorities are yet to decide upon the request.
The Press Trust of India news agency also reported the execution, citing officials. PTI said that Memon’s body was due to be handed over to his family. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was expected to make a statement after the execution.
The Bombay Stock Exchange, the offices of Air India and a luxury hotel were among about a dozen targets of the March 1993 attack, which killed hundreds of people in India, according to reports.
Delhi Police PRO Rajan Bhagat said that police personnel are already vigilant and watchful after the terror attack in Punjab.
The alert is being maintained and additional police and other security personnel have been deployed around key public places, he said.
Yakub Memon was a former accountant by profession. Out of the 11 people involved in the crime, only Memon was hanged to death, the others were sentenced to life imprisonment. He has denied any involvement in the bombings during a trial and appeal process.
Memon got a death sentence because he didn’t have any political backing, unlike the killers of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, according to Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM Chief, on Thursday.
“I still stand by the statement I made, capital punishment is being given because there is no political backing,” Owaisi said.
“I corroborate my comment by saying it is for every one to learn how Akali Dal has saved the killer of Beant Singh. How Tamil parties have saved killers of Rajiv Ganhdhi from being sent to gallows,” he added.
Since 2004, only three people have been executed. Death sentence are rarely done in India.
Memon was convicted by a special court under the draconian Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act, which was immediately promoted after the 1993 bombing.
The act lapsed two years later and was never revived, after activists accused the Indian government of using it to harass Muslims, reports said. IMAGE www.india.com