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Indian Judge Issues Gag Order in Mumbai Attacks Trial


An Indian judge has forbidden journalists from reporting a message the lone surviving gunman in the Mumbai terrorist attacks tried to send Tuesday to his handlers.

Judge M.L. Tahaliyani said the defendant's message to his instructors, who are alleged members of the Islamist extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, could inflame tensions between India's religious communities.

The judge also delayed his decision until Wednesday on whether to accept the suspect's unexpected guilty plea made during proceedings on Monday.

Twenty-one-year-old Pakistani national Mohammed Ajmal Kasab continued his testimony Tuesday, saying his instructions were to open fire indiscriminately, take hostages and attack anyone who tried to free the hostages.

Kasab also said he confessed because he had heard from his guards that Pakistan had acknowledged that he was a Pakistani citizen.

On Monday, Kasab admitted his role in the three-day siege that killed 166 people. He is charged with 86 offenses, including waging war on India, murder, and possessing explosives.

Kasab faces the death penalty if convicted.

During his confession, Kasab described arriving in India from Pakistan on a boat and carrying out the assault. The public prosecutor says it is up to the court to accept his guilty plea.

The attacks severely strained relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbors and brought their slow-moving peace process to a halt.

India accused Pakistan-based fighters from the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba of carrying out the attacks.

Pakistan has said the attacks were planned, in part, on its territory but denies India's assertion that Pakistani government agents were involved.

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