Tag Archives: 2008 Mumbai terror attacks

India and Day 26 – Part 4: Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai – 2


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Jama’at-ud-Da’wah

The Face of Terrorism. Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, head of the banned Pakistani charity Jama'at-ud-Da'wah and co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba. (Source: centralasiaonline.com)
The Face of Terrorism. Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, head of the banned Pakistani charity Jama’at-ud-Da’wah and co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba. (Source: centralasiaonline.com)

India submitted a formal request to the United Nations Security Council to put the group Jama’at-ud-Da’wah (JuD) and its founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed on the list of individuals and organizations sanctioned by the United Nations for association with terrorism. India accused JuD and its leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, of being virtually interchangeable with Lashkar- e-Taiba (LeT). India said that the close links between the organizations, as well as the 2,500 offices and 11 seminaries that JuD maintains in Pakistan, “are of immediate concern with regard to their efforts to mobilize and orchestrate terrorist activities.

On December 10, 2008, in an interview with Pakistan’s Geo television, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed denied the link between JuD and LeT stating that “no Lashkar-e-Taiba man is in Jama’at-ud-Da’wah and I have never been a chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

On December 11, 2008, Hafiz Muhammed Saeed was placed under house arrest by Pakistan when the United Nations declared Jama’at-ud-Da’wah to be a LeT front. He was held in house arrest under the Maintenance of Public Order law, which allows authorities to detain temporarily individuals deemed likely to create disorder. In early June 2009 the Lahore High Court, deeming the containment to be unconstitutional, ordered Hafiz Muhammad Saeed to be released. India immediately expressed its disappointment with the decision of the Lahore High Court.

On January 7, 2009, Pakistan’s Information Minister Sherry Rehman officially accepted Ajmal Kasab was a Pakistan national, and registered a case against three other Pakistani nationals.

On February 12, 2009, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik asserted that parts of the attack had been planned in Pakistan.

On July 6, 2009, the Pakistani government filed an appeal of the Lahore High Court’s decision. Shah Khawar, Deputy Attorney General of Pakistan, told the Associated Press that “Hafiz Saeed at liberty is a security threat.

On August 25, 2009, Interpol issued a Red-corner Notice against Hafiz Saeed, along with Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi, in response to Indian requests for his extradition.

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed was again placed under house arrest by the Pakistani authorities in September 2009. However, on October 12, 2009, the Lahore High Court expunged all cases against Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and set him free. The court also notified that Jama’at-ud-Da’wah is not a banned organization and can function freely in Pakistan. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, one of two judges hearing the case, observed “In the name of terrorism we cannot brutalise the law.

Here are some of the other Pakistani terrorist leaders who were at the heels of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks:

  • Abdul Rehman Makki, the brother-in-law of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, second in command of Lashkar-e-Taiba, alleged to be holding out in Pakistan. The United States has announced a reward of $2 million for information leading to the location of Makki.
  • Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a Senior member of LeT in custody of Pakistan armed forces. He has been named as one of the masterminds of the Mumbai attack.
  • Yusuf Muzammil, a Senior member of LeT. He has been named as one of the masterminds of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks by Ajmal Kasab.
  • Zarrar Shah, one of LeT’s primary liaisons to the ISI. He is in Pakistani custody. An American official said that he was a “central figure” in the planning behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks. In fact, Zarrar Shah had boasted to Pakistani investigators about his role in the attacks.
  • Muhammad Ashraf, LeT’s top financial officer, although not directly connected to the 2008 Mumbai plot, was added to the United Nation’s list of people that sponsor terrorism after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. However, Geo TV reported that six years earlier Ashraf became seriously ill while in custody and died at Civil Hospital on June 11, 2002.
  • Mahmoud Mohamed Ahmed Bahaziq, the leader of LeT in Saudi Arabia and one of its financiers, though not directly connected to the Mumbai plot, after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the U.N. added him to its list of individuals that sponsor terrorism.

Even a year after the attacks, Mumbai police continued to complain that Pakistani authorities were not cooperating by providing information for their investigation.

Meanwhile, journalists in Pakistan said security agencies were preventing them from interviewing people from Kasab’s village.

Kasab was charged with 86 offenses, including murder and waging war against the Indian state, in a charge-sheet running to more than 11,000 pages.

On May 6, 2010, a trial court sentenced Ajmal Kasab to death on all the 86 charges for which he was convicted. He appealed against this verdict. On February 21, 2011, the Bombay High Court and on August 29, 2012, the Supreme Court of India upheld his death sentence.

Former Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram said the Pakistani authorities had not shared any information about American suspects David Coleman Headley, and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, but the FBI had been more forthcoming.

An Indian report, summarizing the intelligence gained from India’s interrogation of David Headley, was released in October 2010. It alleged that Pakistan’s intelligence agency (ISI) had provided support for the attacks by providing funding for reconnaissance missions in Mumbai. The report included Headley’s claim that Lashkar-e-Taiba‘s chief military commander, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, had close ties to the ISI. Headley alleged that “every big action of LeT is done in close coordination with [the] ISI.

On November 21, 2012, Ajmal Kasab was executed by hanging in Yerwada Jail in Pune, southeast of Mumbai, amid great secrecy, underscoring the political sensitivity of the November 26, 2008, Mumbai massacre. His body was buried in the “surrounding area” of the jail. It was the first time a capital sentence had been carried out in India since 2004.

There was celebration on the streets of Mumbai and other cities as news of the execution spread. People set off fireworks and handed out sweets sparking celebration days before the fourth anniversary of the assault on the financial capital of India.

Militant groups in Pakistan reacted angrily, as did the residents of Faridkot, Ajmal Kasab’s home village.

The Taliban threatened revenge unless India returns the body of Ajmal Kasab. Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan demanded that Kasab’s body be given back to his family or handed over to the Taliban. From an undisclosed location, Ahsan told The Associated Press by telephone:

If his body is not given to us or his family, we will, god willing, carry on his mission, we will take revenge for his murder.

After the hanging then Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said:

All the police officers and personnel who lost their life in the battle against the terrorists have today been served justice.

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India and Day 26 – Part 4: Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai – 1


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Finally, on 26 November, the GPS had sounded their arrival off the coast of Mumbai, and they had called Karachi to find out what to do with the captured captain. It fell to Ajmal Kasab to act. He had just turned twenty-one and felt compelled to prove his worth. Two others held the Indian sailor down, while Ajmal slit his throat. Blooded, they jumped into a yellow dinghy that pulled them onwards towards the glistening Indian city.” – An excerpt from the prologue of The Seige: Three Days of Terror Inside the Taj by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy.

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On the evening of Wednesday, November 26, 2008, televisions all over the world broadcast the breaking news that Mumbai,  India’s largest city with a population of 18 million was virtually under siege with twelve coordinated shooting and bombing incidents.

The 10 terrorists who took part in the attacks were young men. On November 21, 2008, they left Karachi, Pakistan in a boat and travelled for thirty-eight hours, remaining undetected by the Indian Navy. Each of them was carrying 6 to 7 magazines of 30 rounds each plus 400 rounds not loaded in magazines, 8 hand grenades, one AK-47 assault rifle, an automatic loading revolver, credit cards and a supply of dried fruit.

On November 23, the terrorists hijacked an Indian fishing trawler, the Kuber. They killed four fishermen and ordered the captain of the trawler to sail to India.

On November 26, when they were four nautical miles (7 kilometers) from Mumbai they killed the captain of the trawler and boarding three inflatable speedboats reached the Colaba jetty at 8:10 pm.

The identity of the attackers was not immediately known. Initial reports said they were young men wearing jeans and tee-shirts.

Map of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks
Map of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks

Eight attacks took place in South Mumbai: at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Oberoi/Trident Hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, the Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Nariman House renamed Chabad House – a Jewish community center, the Metro Cinema, in a lane behind the Times of India building, St. Xavier’s College, a domestic airport and a police station.

There was also an explosion at Mazagaon, in Mumbai’s port area, and in a taxi at Vile Parle.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai - After the terrorist attack (Source: outlookindia.com)
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai – After the terrorist attack (Source: outlookindia.com)

The terrorists opened fire and set off Grenades in several locations. In the hotels they sought out foreign nationals, particularly British and American citizens.  Hostages were taken during the attacks.

Around 450 people were staying in the Taj Mahal Hotel at that time. It was hosting a parliamentary conference and a number of visiting dignitaries were ensnared in the violence. The terrorists set fire and destroyed the hotel’s roof. At least 31 people were killed by the terrorists at Taj.

By the early morning of November 28, the Mumbai Police and security forces secured all sites except the Taj hotel.

The panic lasted until Saturday, November 29, 2008.

Terror attack at Taj Hotel, Mumbai on  November 26, 2008. (Source: ramanan50.wordpress.com)
Terror attack at Taj Hotel, Mumbai on November 26, 2008. (Source: ramanan50.wordpress.com)

On November 29, India’s National Security Guards (NSG) conducted the Operation Black Tornado to flush out the assailants. The commandos killed all the terrorists barricaded in the hotel and the three-day long siege.

The only attacker captured alive, 21-year-old Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, upon interrogation confessed that the attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba. He said that 24 terrorists received training in marine warfare at a remote camp in mountainous Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir in Pakistan and he was one of them.

Lashkar-e-Taiba is one of the largest and most active terrorist organizations in South Asia, operating primarily from Pakistan. This militant network is closely linked to al-Qaeda, and is considered a terrorist organization by India, Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations among others.

Kasab also revealed that the attacks were conducted with the support of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the mastermind behind the carnage who directed the attacks from Pakistan via mobile phones and VoIP.

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus during the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus during the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Pictures of Ajmal Kasab, the boyish-looking gunman wearing a black T-shirt and toting an AK-47 assault rifle as he strode through Mumbai’s railway station were published around the world.

India was traumatized by the three-day terror attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation. The terrorists killed 167 people and wounded at least 308 people. The casualties were mostly Indian citizens, although westerners carrying foreign passports were singled out.

The Government of India said the terrorists came from Pakistan and their controllers were in Pakistan.

Pakistan initially denied that its nationals were responsible for the attacks and it blamed plotters in Bangladesh and criminal elements in India, for the attacks. But India refuted this claim.

Then Pakistan said they needed information from India on other bombings first.

The officials in India supplied evidence to Pakistan and other governments, in the form of interrogations, call records of conversations during the attacks, and weapons used in the Mumbai terror attacks. The Indian government officials alleged that the attacks were so sophisticated that they must have received official support from Pakistani ‘agencies’, an accusation denied by Pakistan.

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 Previous ~ India and Day 26 – Part 3: The Devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami

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