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Exclusive: LeT terrorist Kasav arrested in Mumbai

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | November 27, 2008 15:48 IST
Last Updated: December 01, 2008 20:05 IST


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Azam Amir Kasav (who initially misled the Mumbai police by giving the name of his slain colleague Ismail alias Zakiruallah, when he was capture), a Punjabi from Faridkot in Pakistan who was arrested by the Mumbai police on Wednesday night during the terror attacks, is giving interrogators the complete story of how the sensational terror operation was planned and executed.

He has told the Mumbai police that he has been trained by the Lashkar e Tayiba, said police sources while giving chilling details of the most daring terror attack in India that has so far killed 101 people -- and the horror story is not over, yet.

rediff.com, with help of political and governmental sources in New Delhi [Images] and Mumbai, including from intelligence, has pieced together the government's thinking on the matter.

First and foremost, Indian intelligence is more or less conceding that the shocking attacks in Mumbai represent a major success for the Lashkar.

Second, the operation is not solely directed against foreign nationals in Mumbai, as some reports have claimed. The large number of deaths of Mumbaikars suggests that they have fired indiscriminately, and revenge was on their mind.

The terrorist arrested by the Mumbai police is vehemently opposed to Isreal's action in the Middle-East and is upset about the "treatment" of Muslims in India in general According to sources, the ethnic, Punjabi-speaking Kasav has told the Mumbai police that the issue of "injustice" to Muslims in India by Hindus and the Indian establishment inspired him to pick up arms.

According to police sources, one Greek, one German couple, two American intelligence officials and a Frenchman are dead in the attacks, but it is not yet confirmed. When rediff.com contacted the American embassy, their response was: "No comments." They neither denied nor confirmed the report.

Intelligence sources also claimed to redif.com that it is likely that the Pakistani national terrorist wanted to remind Indians that their hotels can also face a similar fate as Hotel Marriott, Islamabad [Images]. In a terror attack in September, a suicide bomber rammed his truck into the Marriott, killing more than 60 people.

It is clear from the selection of the spots attacked that the terrorists wanted to show India in as bad a light as Pakistan. The entire show was to prove that India is facing no less of anarchy than its western neighbour. The Indian system is making its people feel as insecure as Pakistanis feel due to their weak systems, was the message the masterminds of the terror attack wanted to convey.

The high-level sources also say that Al Qaeda's [Images] ideology has been imbibed by innumerable small and regional outfits, but only the LeT can manage a Mumbai kind of operation, so there are more chances of the LeT's hand and brain being behind this operation.

As it has happened many times before, according to sources in the home ministry, in the third week of September India had received information from American sources that there could be a large-scale operation within India by the Lashkar e Tayiba. A source in the home ministry also claimed that the Research and Analysis Wing had passed on this information to the Intelligence Bureau and in turn they had sent this information to the Maharashtra police.

Again, some six days later, the information was circulated from New Delhi to Mumbai police that hotels in Mumbai will be targeted by the Lashkar. The police source claims that the name of Taj Mahal Hotel [Images] was specifically mentioned. Accordingly, the hotel's security had been increased but in two months time that have fallen into a routine, it seems.

Also, on the basis of vague information the local police has no time to build up the entire case of a possible terror act, says the same source. Since information like this is vague, the police now claims that it is very difficult to act upon it.

A senior officer of the ministry told rediff.com that one of the top Lashkar operatives, Yousuf Muzamil, has most probably directed the entire terror attack. The Lashkar has changed its name to Jamaat ud Dawa and is headed by Hafeez Mohammed Saeed and is headquartered in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

According to information collected by the police, on Wednesday evening, around 10 Pakistanis came by speed boats to the coast near Colaba in South Mumbai from Karachi. From fishing trawls they shifted to dinghies to reach Mumbai, and the transfer took place somewhere near Gujarat. Alert and smart fisherfolk could notice that some unknown characters in casual clothes had alighted. They were surprised to see unknown faces and the unusually large bags they were carrying.

Immediately they drew the attention of the local policemen from the nearby police post at Budhwar Park, Colaba. Within two hours of the fishermen's complaint to the police the terrorists had struck at Taj Mahal Hotel and at Trident hotel, Nariman House owned by Jews, and in Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus [Images] and a few other places. It was a meticulous and well-planned operation which has given the perpetrators of the horrific act a tremendous boost.

While in Trident hotel between four and seven terrorists were involved, while in Taj Mahal hotel three to four terrorists created havoc. According to Ismail, there no Arabs in their group.

The Mumbai police has got information that some six-seven days back terrorists had made a dry run also. This act leads to them believe that some local people could be involved in the terror attack, too. 

At this point in time the police believes that at least one terrorists has managed to escape.





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