When will the local accomplices in the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai be brought to book?
Though there was ample evidence to prove that the terror attack was planned well in advance and very meticulously implemented with the support of local accomplices, P. Chidambaram, the then Union Home Minister, was emphatically saying "no, there is no involvement of any local persons in the attack."
This 26 November is the 10th anniversary of the sad day when Mumbai was attacked by Pakistani terrorists killing 164 persons and wounding at least 308. The dead included 15 policemen-Assistant Police Sub-Inspector Tukaram Omble, Joint Commissioner of Police Hemant Karkare, Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte, Senior Inspector Vijay Salaskar and Senior Inspector Shashank Shinde- and two NSG commandos(Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havaldar Gajendra Singh).
Eight of the attacks occurred in South Mumbai: at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Hotel, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Nariman House Jewish community centre, the Metro Cinema, and in a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier's College. There was also an explosion at Mazagaon, in Mumbai's port area, and a taxi at Vile Parle.
Due to the arrest of Ajmal Kasab, the lone Pakistani terrorist, the involvement of Pakistan in the attack was confirmed. Kasab was caught alive, thanks to Tukaram Omble, who, without any automatic weapons in his hands, got hold of Kasab, equipped with AK -47 gun, and overpowered him. Five bullets pierced through Omble's body and he died subsequently. The attack involved a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing across Mumbai lasting for four days-Wednesday, November 26 through Saturday, November 29, 2008.
Though there was ample evidence to prove that the terror attack was planned well in advance and very meticulously implemented with the support of local accomplices, P. Chidambaram, the then Union Home Minister, was emphatically saying "no, there is no involvement of any local persons in the attack"(Ind. Exp.12-2-2009), thus bringing pressure on all concerned to keep contented with the arrest of Ajmal Kasab, the lone Pakistani terrorist, who was subsequently hung.
Highlighting the Evidence
The following press news also emphasises the participation of local accomplices in the attack:
1) The slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare's wife Kavita asked, "Why has the government failed to track the domestic helpers? She also raised many other questions, difficult to answer (ToI: 22/11/2012).
2) It is suspected that two of the terrorists had taken up jobs at the Taj Hotel (Mid-day:1-12-2008), where the terrorists were moving as if they knew every nook and corner of the hotel and away from the CCTV cameras. They entered the manager’s room precisely and killed him.
3) All the Pakistani terrorists, killed, were found to have Indian Identity Cards of a college in Bangalore on their bodies.
4) The maps and layouts of strategic locations and targeted sites were provided to the attackers by Indian accomplices trained by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)."The Indian duo Fahim Ahmed Ansari (35 years) and Sabahuddin Ahmed Shabbir have confessed to carrying out a recce of 12 important places in Mumbai including the Taj, the Trident Hotel," Joint Police Commissioner (crime) Rakesh Maria told reporters. The Uttar Pradesh Police, which had arrested Ansari in connection with some other case, had recovered some maps and CDs of some key locations in Mumbai. The duo had sent the details of their recce operations to their handlers in Pakistan-Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi etc. well before the terror strikes, Rakesh Maria said(FPJ:27-2-2009).
5) Fahim Ansari, a resident of Motilal Nagar, Goregaon, where he was staying with the assumed name Sahil Pavaslar, had attended a 6-month training camp in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan. Ansari had revealed that two more Mumbai based youths had participated in the training camp in Pakistan; they were missing now from the city (FPJ:6-12-2008, Mah. Times:27-2-2009).
6) Fahim Ansari talked to Lashkar-e-Toiba commando Yusuf for 112 hours. Yusuf told him to book two flats, one in South Mumbai and the other in western suburbs for terrorists to stay. Ansari got a fake driving licence in the name Sameer Shaikh (FPJ:31-12-2008).
7) Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Siddiqui Sheikh were arrested by the police but were acquitted by the court subsequently. This raised many eyebrows of the people. In answer to the question (5-5-2010 ToI): Do the acquittals of Fahim Ansari, and Sabahuddin prove that there is no involvement of any Indian in 26/11 attack? Most of the respondents felt that acquittals did not imply that there was no involvement of Indians.
Usha said: No, the acquittal should be challenged and their role should be probed further. Bhagwan Thadani wrote: Acquittal due to lack of evidence has exposed the working of a corrupt and inefficient police force which is most shameful and disgraceful and lowering the image of the country.
It is surprising that the above-cited evidence against LeT activist Ansari, trained in Pakistan, with a fake driving licence and staying with aliases, was not considered sufficient to judge him guilty, whereas a bomb, found on a bike, sold by Sadhvi Pragya Singh four years ago, was considers sufficient to refuse her bail for 8 years! Is this not a mockery of justice? People must ask, "Why Brain Mapping Tests and Narco Analysis Tests were not done for the accused as they were done in the case of Sadhvi Pragya Singh, the accused in the Malegaon 2008 blast? Why more evidence was not gathered and why did prosecutors not argue vehemently in this case?
It is most surprising why Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu (Jundal) Hamza, one of the key suspects in the attack and a Lashkar-e-Taiba ultra was allowed to go scot-free and not at all tried by the prosecution?
8) Newspapers (30-11-2008) had the news about Dy. Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria saying that "we are looking into the role of local supporters; but after Chidambaram's direction (Ind. Exp.12-2-2009) that no local supporters were involved, it appears police gave up the operation.
Several sources have quoted Kasab telling the police that the group received help from Mumbai residents. The attackers used at least three SIM cards purchased on the Indian side of the border with Bangladesh. Later, the police arrested two Indian suspects, Mukhtar Ahmad, who is from Srinagar in Kashmir, and Tausif Rehman, a resident of Kolkata. They supplied the SIM cards, one in Calcutta, and the other in New Delhi.
Fortunately, at present, one chief attacker, Abu Jundal is in Arthur Road jail in Mumbai, and police can find information of all other Indian accomplices of the attackers from him.
Abu Jundal (Hunza), alias Zahiuddin Ansari is suspected to be the handler of the 10 Pakistani terrorists. He bade farewell to the terrorists when they left Karachi for Mumbai(ToI:8-8-2013). It must be noted that according to news, ATS has concrete proof that the terrorist Abu Hamza stayed for a day in 2009 in a room in Old Legislators' Hostel(Amdar Niwas) of Maharashtra Government(Maharashtra Times:29/6/2012).
A book, The Siege: The Attack on the Taj is written by British journalists Adrian Levy and Cathy Scot-Clark and published by Penguin Books in2013, presents an insider view of the attacks based on extensive research by the authors. The book includes unreleased documents from the trial of Ajmal Kasab in India, including telephone conversations between the militants. In an interview to ' Rediff', the authors remarked that governments at the Centre and the state are not serious about the attack. The book reveals that an influential Indian in Delhi, nicknaming him "Honeybee", helped the ISI in its design. The authors called the other accomplices of terrorists "rats". As soon as the book was published, there was a discussion in the media about it. Consequently, the news headine "Indian mole helped ISI in 26/11 attack" appeared in the ToI (9-11-13).
According to a subsequent news(13-11-2013), Sushilkumar Shinde, who succeeded Chidambaram as Home Minister, announced a probe into the allegation of the hand of the Indian "super agent" in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. But, he failed to keep his promise. The present Home Minister should do that work and also try to bring all the local accomplices to book.