26/11 Mumbai Attacked, one of the first books on last winter's murderous acts of terror, explains the reality behind the attacks. It reiterates the chilling reality that India is under grave threat and the clock is ticking before the next big attack.
In the second of a five-part series, we bring to you an exclusive excerpt written by journalist Ashish Khetan on how the terrorists' handlers in Pakistan directed the terrorists at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi-Trident hotels and Nariman House.
Part I: What Kasab told cops after his arrest
At this point of time it was also important for the Mumbai police to question Kasab about the other terrorists who were part of one of the most daring terror attacks on Mumbai.
Kasab finally surrendered to the persistent questioning about the other eight terrorists and blurted out the details about them. The police already had details of Ismail Khan, who was with Kasab and was shot dead in the encounter.
'One is Abu Rehman. He is around twenty-five years. His eyes are brown. I think he is wearing a red shirt. Also "Yeshu" is written on his cap.'
'You mean Christ?'
'But you are all Muslims?'
'Yes. But you see, you have to look like them, to look like them he was wearing the cap.'
'Abu Rehman is from Multan city. He had more Kalashan magazines on him than any of us. The second man is Abu Fahad. He must be around twenty-eight years. He is slightly taller than me. He is from district Okara.'
'Tell me about the others.'
'Then there is Abu Rehman Bada (elder). He is also from Multan. Then Abu Ali from Okara district. Then Abu Soheb from Sialkot. And Abu Umer from Faisalabad.'
'What about the remaining two?'
'The other two are Abu Umar from Faisalabad and Abu Aakasha who is from Multan.'
'Where is your bag that you brought with you?'
'My bag is lying on the terrace of the Cama Hospital. I left it there.'
'What was there in your bag?'
'Yes. One pistol. Two magazines for the pistol. Three double magazines of AK-47. Each magazine carries thirty bullets. So, in all 180 AK-47 bullets. The pistol magazine had seven bullets each. Eight hand grenades. Two hand grenades were of plastic cover. Three were big, of Arges make. Badaam, kishmish (almonds, raisins). Mineral water.'
'Badaam, kishmish, pista?'
'No, only badaam and kishmish, together weighing not more than half a kilogram.'
'How many hand grenades did you use?'
'Just two. The others fell out of my bag. Ismail must have used more grenades. He was leading. I was giving him cover. Ismail was in charge of this operation. He was the senior-most. Woh hamse pehle se jamaat me hai. (He was in the association before all of us.)'
'Where did you assemble the Kalashnikov?'
'No, it was already assembled. I just took it out of the bag and removed the safety pin.'
'Around what time did you reach Mumbai?'
'At around 8.15 pm we got off the dinghy and landed near a fishermen colony. We were told to launch the attack between seven and eleven in the evening. Zaki chacha had told us that if we somehow land in Mumbai late in the night, then to postpone it to the next day. And if we had landed early morning, then to start it by 11 am.'
'Where would you all have met after the operation?' 'Milne wale nahi they. Marne wale they. (We were not going to meet anywhere. We were supposed to die.)'
'Tell me about the ship you sailed in from Pakistan.'
'Arms and ammunition were already stored on the ship. We just boarded it on November 22 and after a few hours of sailing we got into the Indian launch.'
'Who owned the Pakistani ship?' 'Zaki chacha.' 'What was written on the ship?'
'Husseini, Al-Husseini. Then we got into an Indian launch. When we were only some distance off the Mumbai coast, at around 7 pm, we downed a speedboat, an inflatable one, and got into it and landed in Mumbai.'
'Who was driving the speedboat?'
'Ismail. You see, woh hamara amir tha (He was our leader). We first got off and hailed a taxi and came to CST. The others must have gotten off after us.'
'Where is the CD of the footage of the CST station?'
'It's in Lakhvi chacha's laptop.
Agar koi banda ho na jo unki field me ghus jaye to bahut maloomaat ikhatha kar sakta hai (If some guy infiltrates their group he can get a lot of information).'
'Can you take us there?'
'Yes, I can take you there, provided you give me enough security cover. Zaki can be beaten in his game by his own men.'
'Are you also linked up with Jaish-e-Mohammed?'
'No. Jaish-e-Mohammed doosri tanzeem hai (is another movement). We are Ahle-Hadis. Aur woh sala Deobandi hai (And those rascals are Deobandis).'
'What date was fixed for this attack?'
'Earlier we were told in Pakistan that we would do this during Ramzan. Then I don't know what happened. It was put off. We were not told the reasons. Then as I said we sailed out on November 22. But no date was fixed. We did not know how many days, four, five or seven, it would take in the waters before landing in Mumbai. But we were told to take care of the timing before we began the attack. If we had landed early morning then we were supposed to start the attack by eleven in the morning and if we arrived in the afternoon, or say evening, then between 7 and 11 pm.'
It is almost four in the morning. Ghadge has had enough of Kasab. He gestures towards the cameraman. The camera stops rolling. Kasab takes a deep breath and closes his eyes.