Islamic terrorist Mohammad Ajmal Kasab confesses to 26/11 Mumbai attacks
Posted by jagoindia on July 21, 2009
21 Jul 2009, 0406 hrs IST, ET Bureau
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Springing a surprise on the 65th day of 26/11 attack trial, lone surviving Pakistani terrorist Mohammad Ajmal Kasab on Monday pleaded guilty before a special court on the charges of executing the terror strikes in Mumbai along with his accomplices, that claimed over 180 lives. He followed up his confession with a plea for an early sentence.
The 22-year-old Kasab, who had earlier backed off from his police confession admitting his role in the Mumbai mayhem stating that it had been made under duress, confessed before the court mid-way through the hearing on Monday, admittedly upon discovering that Islamabad had accepted his Pakistani nationality. He confirmed to the judge that that he was not confessing under duress.
“Now that I have confessed, please end the trial and punish me,” he told the court. During the hearing on Monday, as a prosecution witness stepped into the confession box to depose, Kasab intervened seeking trial judge M L Tahaliyani’s permission to have a word with his lawyer Abbas Kazmi. And when he was allowed to speak to Kazmi, he took barely half a minute. Soon, Kazmi turned to the trial judge to submit that his client wanted to confess. An objection from special public prosecutor that a confession was not acceptable at this stage of trial was overruled by the judge, paving the way for Kasab’s narration of the terror tale behind the 26/11 attacks.
Kasab’s confession began right from his journey from Karachi on the Lashker e Toiba-orchestrated terror mission and narrated the entire sequence of events leading up to Mumbai carnage, including terror training of the attackers at Pakistani camps, their boarding the rogue ship Al Husseini from Pakistani waters, hijacking an Indian vessel mid-sea and then landing on the Mumbai coast in a boat along with nine other terrorists. Importantly, he claimed that an Indian named Abu Jindal had taught Hindi to the Mumbai attackers during their training in Pakistan.
Kasab, in his confession, described in detail how the 10-member LeT attack team split into smaller groups after landing in Mumbai, with he getting paired with terrorist Abu Ismail, and the two went on to fire indiscriminately at the CST station, before proceeding to Cama Hospital, killing ATS chief and Mumbai top cops Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte, and then driving away to Girgaum Chowpatty. The two were intercepted by the Mumbai police there: while Abu Ismail fell to police bullets, Kasab was rounded up after being overpowered by the cops with help from slain hero Tukaram Ombale.
Kasab’s sudden confession came as a complete surprise to the prosecution. Special public prosecutor admitted he was “surprised” at the “unexpected” confession, but added nevertheless that it had come has a big victory for the prosecution. Even Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan welcomed the confession, saying that “the trial should be completed quickly and the accused should be hanged so that the victims get justice”.
“Everybody in the court was shocked the moment he said he accepts his crime. It was unexpected,” Mr Nikam told reporters soon after Kasab pleaded guilty. He claimed that the testimony of the 134 witnesses so far against Kasab may have driven him to confess. He may have realised that “the cat is out of the bag,” Mr Nikam said, but underlined that Kasab was not only a hardened terrorist but also a “good actor”.
The prosecution, the special public prosecutor stated, is minutely assessing what he has admitted in the court.
Even Judge Tahiliyani seemed to
have been taken aback by Kasab’s decision to plead guilty and called lawyers from both sides to figure out the significance of the undertrial’s statement. A section of the lawyers were cautious in the reaction, wondering whether Kasab’s confession was voluntary, or it was made “under instructions”, coming as it did a day after a chargesheet was filed in a Pakistani court naming top LeT leaders like Zaki-ur-Lakhvi, Zarar Shah, Abu Al Qama, Shahid Jamir Riaz and Hamad Amin Sadiq as accused in the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai. Kasab, in his confession before the special court judge, described how he and terrorist Abu Ismail opened fire at the CST station. “I was firing while Abu was hurling hand grenades…I was in front of Abu, who had taken a position from where nobody could see him…I fired at a policeman, after which there was no firing from the police side,” he told the court.
According to Kasab, Ismail and he left the CST station by taking a foot overbridge and then headed for Cama hospital. They jumped the wall of Cama hospital after which Ismail proceeded further even as Kasab was asked to wait there. “After some time Abu returned and asked me to come in…there was a dead body lying at the gate,” he told the judge in Hindi. Once inside, Abu Ismail snatched mobiles and bags from three persons, even as one of the witnesses, Sriwardhan, a Mantralaya employee, lay unconscious on the floor, Kasab said.
The 65-day-old trial in the 26/11 case has seen many ups and downs. Kasab had initially tried every trick in the book to build his defence, including retracting his police confession and then claiming that he was only a minor.
During the trial, he alternated between looking amused to weeping on being confronted with pictures of the 26/11 carnage. He also complained of boredom and sought books and newspapers for reading in the prison.
Mujhe gunah kabool hai’
Kartikeya, TNN 21 July 2009
Mujhe gunah kabool hai (I admit my crime). We fired on the public at CST — Abu Ismail and I. Ismail lobbed grenades and I fired with the gun. We went a little ahead and entered a hall where we had a skirmish with the police. After another exchange of fire, all was quiet. The photographs shown of us at CST are genuine. We went back towards the platform, crossed an iron footbridge and descended into an alley. I checked vehicles parked there so that we could drive off in one. The CCTV footage shown of us around those cars is correct. However, none of the cars could be opened and we proceeded on foot. Ismail and I loaded our AK-47s. On walking a little ahead, we saw a man running. I fired at him and Ismail fired inside a house.
When we reached the gate of Cama Hospital, we saw that the wall was not too high and jumped over it. Ismail told me to wait while he checked the premises. I heard the sound of gunfire. Ismail returned and asked me to follow him. A man dressed in white was lying dead. I did not see his face. Another man was lying on a stretcher in a pool of blood. We went up a flight of stairs to the fifth floor. We stopped three persons in the ward, including a witness in the present case, and asked him to lie down so that we could frisk him. We then locked up five others, one of whom was lying in a pool of blood, in a bathroom, warning them not to make any noise. We went up to the terrace. As soon as we entered, we saw a man. I asked him to show us the way out. He indicated that policemen were around — when we went down the staircase, we saw them for ourselves. I ran back and told Ismail.
He asked me where they were, but by then we could hear a commotion that the police had arrived. Ismail was near the door. He asked me to keep a watch on the terrace and asked for a grenade. I removed all the weapons from my bag and put them in Ismail’s bag. Firing started. I kept a watch on the terrace. Then we started running downstairs and someone fired upon us. I returned fire and came down. Ismail went out first. We could see policemen near the gate, but they didn’t notice us. Ismail said we should hide. There was a door near the wall, and a person was sitting outside the hall of the hospital. I warned him to keep mum, and we managed to get out of the hospital.
On the road, we saw a big blue vehicle coming towards us. We hid behind a small stall. The blue vehicle came nearer and Ismail lobbed a grenade at it. We then walked up to a bank and hid in some bushes. We saw the headlights of a vehicle, and as it came nearer to us there was firing from it. Ismail started firing back. I was injured on my right forearm, left wrist and right elbow. (Shows his injuries in court). My gun fell out of my hand and I also fell down. The firing continued, and Ismail walked towards the vehicle. He went to check it and kept firing on it. By then I got up and took my gun in my hand. I opened the doors of the police vehicle and found its occupants dead. We removed their bodies. Ismail started the jeep and I sat next to him. In the meantime there was firing on the vehicle but none of the bullets hit us. Ismail started driving with his left hand and firing with the other one. We took a right turn. Maine kaha main chal nahin sakta (I said I wouldn’t be able to walk). Ismail said ‘ Tu hausla mat haar. Mujhe bhi goli lagi hai ’ (Don’t lose courage. I have also been shot). He said he had been shot in the knee. I could tell from the noise of the wheel that it had been punctured. We did not know the roads. We saw policemen in a motor vehicle, and on seeing weapons in our hands they started firing at us. We fired in retaliation and the cops left the spot to hide. We decided to stop a vehicle. A Skoda car, with two men and a woman in it, was passing, and we stopped it and made the occupants get out. I told Ismail that we should conceal our weapons somewhere so that nobody would be able to recognise us. We continued to drive on the same road and reached the same spot where we had hijacked the car. We saw the owner telling the police that it was his car. We started following a white car. A little ahead we could see barriers on the road. The white car went past them but policemen directed us to stop. I asked Ismail to slow down. A policeman came in front of the car. Ismail tried taking a U-turn. We could not understand anything and suddenly the wipers also started. Policemen came to the car, and one of them caught me by the collar. He pulled me out of the car. I was surrounded by policemen and one of them snatched my AK-47, which was in my hand. They started hitting me in my stomach and also with the butt of my gun. I did not fire. When I regained consciousness I was in hospital. I had not fired because I could not hold my gun.
HUM DUS THE (WE WERE TEN)
We travelled from Karachi in a small boat. Four persons came to see us off — Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, Abu Hamza, Abu Kafa and Abu Jundala. I did not know the others personally but I can tell their names. Abu Ismail (he was our boss), Abu Akasha, Abu Umer, Abu Shoaib, Abu Ali, Abdul Rehman Chhota, Abdul Rehman Bada, Hafiz Arshad and Abu Fadaullah, who had a finger missing. A small boat from Karachi transported us to a big boat, which we used to get on to the high seas. There were three people on the small boat. I only remember the name of Hakib. On the big boat called ‘Al Huseini’ we slept and said our namaaz. When it sailed there were seven people on it — Murshad, Aqib, Usman… I don’t remember the other names. Murshad was the boss.
We were looking for another boat and spotted one. At 4 pm, it was brought to ‘Al Huseini’ and we started loading it with oil, blankets, rations and other things. The remaining articles were thrown into the sea. Murshad asked the five crew members of the other boat who their ‘naqva’ (navigator) was, and Amarjit Singh Solanki said it was him. The other four were taken to ‘Al Huseini’ and Singh remained on board. Murshad told us to take blankets and go to sleep. He told Ismail to take Solanki’s help in case of difficulty. A big GPS set was also given to Ismail, which we threw into the sea when we reached India.
Last year, when I was working as a decorator in Jhelum city, my colleague, Muzaffar, suggested that we turn to dacoity for better money. I left the job, went to Rawalpindi with him and took a room on rent. We decided to commit dacoity at a certain bungalow. I was roaming alone at Rawalpindi’s Raza market when I saw some Mujahideens buying animal skins. From my childhood, I had been hearing of these Mujahideens. They are known by their long hair and beards. A few days later, Muzaffar returned and we both visited the same market and were discussing our plans to rob the bungalow. I repeatedly asked him where we would get the weapons and how would we pull it off. I told him then that I had seen Mujahideens at the market, and that we could get weapons training from them, to which he agreed. We found out where their office was, and went there. A man asked me what I had come for. I told him we had come for Jihad, so he let us in. One person asked me my name, address and asked me to return next morning with extra clothes.
We returned with our baggage and we were given a chit on which was written the address of a training camp in Muridke. Three weeks later, I was sent from there to another camp. In the evening we went to Buttal jungle, where I met Muzaffar. We were given 21 days of training. After his training was over, Muzaffar’s brother took him back home but I was told that I was going for bigger training.
Here, I was taught exercises, operating weapons like AK-47, guns and pistols. Three months went by like this. My trainer Abu Abdul Rehman asked me to bring my identity card from my native Okara district. I visited an office in Model Town there and was asked to go to Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir. Once in Muzaffarabad, I was asked to look for Saeed Bhai’s office. I told them that I had come for Daura-E-Khaas (special training), and filled up a form. The next morning, we reached a training camp, where Abu Maaviya was our trainer and trained me for three months in operating rocket launchers, grenades, AK-47s and other sophisticated weapons. Then I was sent to my Faridkot home. I was told to return to Saeed Bhai’s office after a week, which I did.
Ten days later, Saeed bhai, Abu Kafa and Abu Hamza came there and selected 15 of us. We were taken to Muzaffarabad and then to Muridke. Kafa was with me and we were trained to swim. A month later, we were taken to Karachi’s seashore from where we were taken in small boats to big ones. The idea was to check if we could adjust to the sea’s rough weather or not, and to see if we suffered from sea-sickness. We were then brought back to the same place and then two days later, we were again taken to Muzaffarabad where we met Hamza.
Of the 15 of us, two had run away, while six were sent to Kashmir. So seven of us were left, to which three other boys were added, making us ten in all. Hamza had a separate room, to which he would call us in pairs. On two occasions, he showed Ismail and me movies and pictures of CST station on his laptop. We were then taken to forests, trained further in firing, and were brought back. Two days later, we were given trousers and T-shirts, and our photographs were taken and our fake ID-cards made. Kafa took us to Karachi and gave us small bomb kits. We were asked to note down the time when the bomb kit’s battery would turn on.
We stayed there for more than 90 days. We were trained to use an inflatable boat. It is the same boat produced in court. In Karachi we stayed in the same house that was shown on Geo TV. Two or three days before November 22, 2008, Hamza again came and played the same CST video to us. We were given arms and ammunition. Those bags were transported to Al-Huseini.
Kafa took us to the Karachi shore where Al-Huseini was anchored. Lakhwi, Hamza and Abu Jundal joined Kafa on the shore, while we were to leave for Mumbai. Jundal Hindustani hai, unhonein hi humein Hindi sikhaaein . My wish is that you should end this trial and punish me.
I wanted to confess much earlier but could not do so as Pakistan had disowned me. Now Pakistan is saying that I am a Pakistani.
They are also going to prosecute the offenders. Don’t ask me how I know all this. I just do. You
should accept my confession and punish me.