Tag Archives: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

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


.

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

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.

.

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.

. .

.

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

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

.

RELATED ARTICLES

.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

India’s Supreme Court Upholds Ajmal Kasab’s Death Sentence


.

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

On Wednesday, August 29, 2012, India’s Supreme Court upheld the death penalty imposed on 25-year-old Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab convicted under Section 302 of IPC (murder) and terror-related provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

The Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab at the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station on November 26, 2008.
The Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab on a killing spree at the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station on November 26, 2008.

The globally condemned Mumbai terror attacks, began on Wednesday, November 26 and lasted until Saturday, November 29, 2008, resulting in166 people killed and at least 308 wounded.

On November 26, 2008, around 20:00, Indian Standard Time (IST), a 10-member team of terrorists from Pakistan came in inflatable speedboats. They came ashore at two locations in Colaba, Mumbai. They split into groups and went off in different directions.

Later, Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist captured alive, disclosed that the attackers were members of the Pakistan-based militant organisation, Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist outfit banned in India, Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations, among others. He also confessed that they conducted the attacks with the support of Pakistan’s ISI.

During the 60-hour siege of Mumbai, the terrorists orchestrated 11 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai. Eight of the eleven coordinated attacks occurred in South Mumbai – at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, the Oberoi Trident, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Metro Cinema, the Nariman House Jewish community center, and in a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier’s College. The other three attacks – an explosion in Mumbai’s port area, at Mazagaon, and in a taxi at Vile Parle.

The attacks began around 21:30 when two men, Ajmal Kasab and another gunman Khan opened fire, in the passenger hall, using AK-47 rifles. They killed 58 people and injured 104 others. Their assault ended at about 22:45. The two gunmen while fleeing the scene fired at pedestrians and police in the streets. They killed eight police officers.

The attackers then passed a police station. The police officers, short of arms and ammunitions, secured the gates and switched off the lights. They dared not confront the heavily armed terrorists. The two terrorists then headed towards Cama & Albless Hospital. However, the hospital staff locked all patient wards.

After the attackers had left the railway station, a team of the Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) led by chief Hemant Karkare arrived there. Not finding the terrorists at the railway station, they pursued the attackers.

When the ATS squad’s vehicle entered a lane next to the hospital, Kasab and Khan opened fire. The ATS team returned fire. Chief Hemant Karkare, Encounter Specialist, Vijay Salaskar and Senior Inspector Ashok Kamte succumbed to the bullets of the terrorists. Only Constable Arun Jadhav survived the attack but wounded. He radioed for help.

Kasab and Khan then drove off in the squad’s vehicle. Later, they abandoned it and seized a passenger car and ran into a police roadblock. The ensuing gun battle resulted in Khan’s death, the arrest of a wounded Kasab and the death of a police officer named Tukaram Omble.

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

On November 29, the National Security Guards carried out Operation Black Tornado to flush out the attackers at the Taj hotel. It resulted in the deaths of the last remaining terrorists.

The Indian government insisted that the terrorists came to Mumbai from Pakistan, and their controllers were in Pakistan.

On January 7, 2009, Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s Information Minister, officially accepted Ajmal Kasab’s nationality as Pakistani.

On May 6, 2010, the Mumbai trial court awarded the death penalty to Ajmal Kasab on all the 86 convicted charges.

Kasab appealed against his conviction and the death penalty. He said he deserved leniency for not being part of the larger conspiracy. He also argued that he wanted a fair trial and legal assistance as mandated under the terms of Article 22 (1) of the Indian Constitution. The court appointed senior advocate Raju Ramachandran to argue the case on behalf of Kasab.

On February 21, 2011, the Bombay High Court, and on August 29, 2012, India’s Supreme Court, upheld the death penalty imposed on Ajmal Amir Kasab, and rejected his appeal against the sentence in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

The Supreme Court underscored the fact that Kasab and the other nine Pakistanis who executed the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai were part of a “deception, the falsehood that the terrorists were Indian Muslims coming from Hyderabad and were connected with some fictitious organization called Mujaheddin, Hyderabad Deccan … .

Justice CK Prasad and Justice Aftab Alam observed:

“If the appellant had not been caught alive and the investigating agencies had not been able to unravel the conspiracy fully and in all its devious ways, the terrorists might have passed as Indian Muslims and that would have led to devastating short-term and equally debilitating long-term consequences.

“It would have caused a cleavage of distrust and suspicion between communities and disturbed the communal peace and harmony of the country. It is not impossible that conflagrations would have erupted in different parts of the country, which the governments would have found difficult to contain.

“In this regard, the selection of the CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) as one of the targets for carnage assumes great importance. Trains leave for many parts of the country from the CST. Thus, as news of the carnage spread across the country through the media, travelers would start arriving in different parts of the country, some having lost their near and dear ones at CST, some with a wounded companion and others shell-shocked by the experience of a terrorist attack on the railway station. Their first-hand, eyewitness accounts of the carnage, added to reports in the print media and visuals in the electronic media, could be highly inflammatory and could easily evoke communal violence that would be difficult to contain.

“The deception was ominous because it aimed at destabilising Indian society and its governments. But it was equally distressing for being so deeply untruthful. Indian Muslims may have a long list of grievances against the establishment. Some of the grievances may be fanciful, some may be of their own making and some may be substantive. Nevertheless, no Indian Muslim would even think of venting his grievance like an animal, killing, maiming and wounding innocent people, his own countrymen. This is because he is not only loyal to his faith and community but equally loves his country and fellow countrymen.”

Majority of Indians, barring a few Islamists, want Ajmal Kasab, the ruthless Pakistani killer to die; however, they know that this will never happen on Indian soil as long as sycophant politicians, of all hues, who while welcoming the judgement of India’s Supreme Court, have their own agenda.

The other major deterrent to Kasab’s execution would be Amnesty International. Their web page, “RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS“, says,

“Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner.

The death penalty is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state.

It is carried out in the name of the nation’s entire population, and affects everyone. Everyone should be aware of what the death penalty is, how it is used, how it affects them and how it violates fundamental rights.”

Like any other Indian who loves his country, I cannot fully agree with the Amnesty International in the case of Ajmal Amir Kasab.

How about you?