NEW DELHI: The gang of terrorists who wreaked mayhem in Mumbai for three days were made to believe by their Lashkar bosses that they were not being
sent on a suicide mission and that they would be coming back alive.
In a sensational disclosure made by Ajmal, the jihadi nabbed alive by Mumbai cops, the group had planned to sail out on Thursday. Their recruiters had even charted out the return route for them and stored it on the GPS device which they had used to navigate their way to the Mumbai shoreline.
This suggests that the terrorists were willing to undertake a mission which they knew would be very risky, but not necessarily suicidal.
Sources said that the bait of safe return must have been used by the recruiters to convince the wavering among the group to join the audacious plot against Mumbai.
Ajmal made another important disclosure: that all terrorists were trained in marine warfare along with the special course Daura-e-Shifa conducted by the Lashkar-e-Taiba in what at once transforms the nature of the planning from a routine terror strike and into a specialized raid by commandos.
Battle-hardened ATS officials are surprised by the details of the training the terrorists were put through before being despatched for the macabre mission. This was very different from a terrorist attack, and amounted to an offensive from the seam, said a source.
Ajmal has revealed the name of his fellow jihadis all Pakistani citizens as Abu Ali, Fahad, Omar, Shoaib, Umer, Abu Akasha, Ismail, Abdul Rahman (Bara) and Abdul Rahman (Chhota).
The account of Ajmal also strengthens the doubt of the complicity of powerful elements in the Pakistani establishment. According to him, the group set off on November 21 from an isolated creek near Karachi without the deadly cargo of arms and ammunition they were to use against the innocents in Mumbai. The group received arms and ammunition on board a large Pakistani vessel which picked them up the following day. The vessel, whose ownership is now the subject of an international probe, had four Pakistanis apart from the crew.
A day later, they came across an Indian-owned trawler, Kuber, which was promptly commandeered on the seas. Four of the fishermen who were on the trawler were killed, but its skipper, or tandel in fishermen lingo, Amarjit Singh, was forced to proceed towards India. Amarjit was killed the next day, and Ismail the terrorist who was killed at Girgaum Chowpaty took the wheel.
A trained sailor, Ismail used the GPS to reach Mumbai coast on November 26. The group, however, slowed down its advance as they had reached during the day time while the landing was planned after dusk. The group shifted to inflatable boats, before disembarking at Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade.
From there, they mandated to kill indiscriminately, particularly white foreign tourists, and spare Muslims split up into five batches. Two of them Ismail and Ajmal took a taxi to Victoria Terminus. Three other batches of two each headed for Oberoi Hotel, Cafe Leopold and Nariman House. The remaining four went to Taj Hotel.
He may have been motivated enough to kill innocents indiscriminately. In police custody, Ajmal Amir Kasab, the terrorist who was caught alive by
the Mumbai police at Girgaum Chowpatty, has been forthcoming with details about the attack on Mumbai and his accomplices, all suspected Lashkar operatives from Pakistan.
Kasab, who sustained minor injuries in the police firing that killed his partner Abu Ismail (25) on Wednesday night, was produced before the Esplanade Metropolitan Magistrate on Friday. The magistrate remanded him to police custody till December 8. Incidentally, Kasab and Ismail were the two who gunned down ATS chief Hemant Karkare, additional CP Ashok Kamthe and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar.
Kasab told the police that he and 9 others got off a vessel about 10 nautical miles from Mumbai and shifted to two boats hijacked from fishermen.
One source in ATS familiar with the details of the interrogation quoted him saying that in all 16 fidayeens came to Mumbai on Wednesday. A native of Faridkot in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), 21-year-old Kasab told police they had done a reccee of Mumbai few months ago. He said he had come along with eight of the operatives to Mumbai as students and lived in a rented room at Colaba market, a stone's throw away from Nariman House.