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 third of a five-part series, we bring to you an exclusive excerpt written by journalist Ashish Khetan on how 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
Part II: How handlers in Pakistan directed 26/11 attack
November 27. Time: 3.53 am, Oberoi Hotel
Handler 1: Brother Abdul. The media is comparing your action to 9/11. One senior police officer has been killed.
Terrorist 1: We are on the eighteenth or nineteenth floor. We have five hostages.
Handler 2: Everything is being recorded by the media. Inflict maximum damage. Keep fighting and don't be taken alive.
Handler 1: Kill all hostages except the two Muslims. Keep your phone switched on so that we can hear the gunfire.
Terrorist 2: We have three foreigners including women from Singapore and China.
Handler 1: Kill them.
November 27, afternoon, Chabad House
Handler: Baat karao. [The handler in Pakistan instructs the Chabad House terrorist to put the hostage on line.]
Terrorist: Haan, bolein (Here, speak).
A woman hostage: Hello Who is that?
Handler: Did you spoke? Did you speak to the consulate?
Hostage: I am talking to the consulate they are doing they are making phone calls just now.
Handler: Already made it or you are going to make it?
Hostage: Yeah [She starts sobbing and then recovers to talk.] I've already talked to them. I was talking to the consulate just a few seconds back and they are making their phone calls. They have said to leave the line free so that they can get in touch with you anytime and tell you that we are pleased with you [again starts crying]. You understand?
Handler: Come again, come again. No I don't understand.
Hostage: They will get in touch with you anytime.
Handler: Don't worry, just sit back and relax and wait for them to make contact. Okay?
Handler: Save your energy for good days. Maybe if they can contact right now maybe you will celebrate Shabbath with your family.
Hostage: [Cries again]
Handler: Give the phone back to the guy.
[The terrorist takes the phone back from the hostage.]
Handler: Iski baat hui hai. Abhi kissi bhi waqt phone aayega un logo ka. (She has talked to them. Anytime now their phone call will come.)
Terrorist: Mere number par? (On my number?)
Handler: Haan, aapke number par authorities phone karenge. Poochhenge, kya chahte ho aap log? To aapne sabse pehle yeh kehna hai ki yeh jo aasu gas ki shelling ho rahi hai, firing ho rahi hai, yeh silsila band ho. Matlab paanch minute ke andar Army ilaka khali kar de. Matlab yeh silsila agar chalta raha to hum log sabr, intezar nahi karenge. Aap likho in cheezo ko.
Achha, jo operation ho raha hai, Taj Mahal mein, Oberoi mein aur aapke oopar -- teen jagah -- in teeno jagah par operation fauran roka jaaye. Achha, doosra, inhone kaha hai hamara ek banda giraftaar kiya hai kal; unse yeh kehna hai ki banda fauran yahaan aapke paas lekar aayein. Aur khana-wana khaya? (Yes, on your number the authorities will call. They will ask, What do you people want? So, first you ask them to stop shelling tear gas and firing. That is, within five minutes the Army should leave. If this goes on, we will not be patient, we will not wait, You write these things down. And the operations they are carrying out in the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi and above you -- at three places -- should be stopped with immediate effect. And, another thing, they are saying they arrested one of our guys yesterday; tell them to hand him over immediately to you, here. And food -- did you have your meal?)
Terrorist: Thoda bahut (Little bit).
Handler: Thoda bahut? Yeh log to badi party-sharty karte hain, khana to hona chahiye. Achha yeh log halal hi khate hai, haraam nahi khate yeh log, to woh koi masla nahi hai (Little bit? These people hold lot of parties, there should be food around. These people eat halal meat, not haram [forbidden], so that is not an issue).