Mumbai gunman: 'Go ahead and hang me'

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The Independent Online

The sole surviving gunman of last year's Mumbai attacks today told the judge in his trial that he was prepared to be put to death after making a dramatic confession of his role in the operation.

In an exchange in open court, Judge M.L. Tahaliyani asked the defendant, Pakistani national Mohammed Ajmal Kasab: "Do you want the world to punish you or God?"

"Please go ahead and hang me," Kasab replied, "if that's the punishment."

His statement came as the court considered whether to accept Kasab's sudden decision Monday to confess, in lengthy detail, to being one of the 10 militant gunmen who took part in the November attacks, which left 166 people dead and more than 300 injured.

His confession took the judge, prosecution and even his own lawyer by surprise.

He had initially pleaded not guilty to 86 charges, including one of waging war against India.

If convicted, he faces a possible death sentence.

In his admission, Kasab told the court he had orders to take hostages at the city's main railway station, where he and an accomplice opened fire and threw grenades, killing 52 and injuring more than 100 others.

The rail station assault was the bloodiest episode of the 60-hour reign of terror against multiple targets in south Mumbai.

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