Ajmal was given training along the Karachi shore
— Photo: Shashank Parade
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam talks to journalists in Mumbai on Monday after Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’ confessed to his involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks.
Mumbai: Back home, in the city of Jhelum in Pakistan, Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’ was eking out a living doing a petty job. Frustrated with his poverty, he and co-worker Muzaffar decided to commit dacoity.
Gunman Ajmal, who stunned the Mumbai special sessions court on Monday confessing to his crime committed here on November 26 last, narrated his journey to become a terrorist and carry out a massacre that shook the world.
Ajmal and Muzaffar went to Rawalpindi, where the latter had an acquaintance. While taking a stroll in the market during the time of Bakrid, “some persons belonging to the LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba] were making some purchases. I came to know that they were Mujahideen,” he said.
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Police constable Arun Jadhav, one of the witnesses, comes out of the special court.
Discussing with Muzaffar the problem of committing dacoity without weapons, Ajmal spoke to him about the Mujahideen he saw in the market and suggested that the duo could seek training from them.
“We tried to search them in the market. I knew they sported long beards and hair,” Ajmal said from his box in the court. His enquiries took him to a lane at Raza Bazaar, where he knocked at the doors of the ‘Mujahideen’ office.
“One person opened the door. He wanted to know our details. I told him that we had come for jihad. So he allowed us in.”
Another unnamed person wrote down the address and other details of Ajmal and Muzaffar. He asked them to come the next day with their luggage.
The next morning at the same office, they were given an address: Markaz Taiba, Murdike. Accompanied by the unnamed person, they took a bus to Markaz Taiba, where there were “two rooms made of fibre.”
Here Ajmal met two suspects listed in the 26/11 charge sheet — Abu Fahad Ullah and Abu Mufti Saeed. The latter taught them the Koran. Twentyone days later, Ajmal was sent to Markade in Mansehra (Muzaffar was not to be seen after seven days at Markaz Taiba).
“I was told to sit with the other boys. In the evening a van arrived and took us to a hilly and forest area,” known as Bhattal.
For three months and 21 days, Ajmal was trained in operating all kinds of weapons. This session was called ‘Daura Aam’.
After this, he was told he would be going to ‘Daura Khaas’ — a special training programme.
There were three ‘ustads’ or trainers — Abu Anas, Abu Bashir and Abu Abdul Rehman. Ajmal was told to get an identity card from his residential district of Faridkot, from where he was directed to go first to “Azad Kashmir,” then to Muzaffarabad and lastly to Shawai Nullah.
“I was told to enquire about Saeed bhai. One person helped me reach there.” After completing formalities at the office, Ajmal was taken to a camp in Maskar Aqsa. Abu Mavia, Abu Saif-Ur-Rehman, Abu Talha trained him there for three months.
On completion of the training, Abu Kahfa and Abu Hamza selected Ajmal. This was followed by sea training along the Karachi shore. It was in Karachi that 10 trainees were paired. Hamza would call each pair separately. He showed a movie and some pictures of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to Ajmal, who was paired with Abu Ismail. Later, they were given bomb kits and timers.
On November 21, 2008, the 10 trainees were given arms and ammunition. Their bags were transported to Al Husseini. At this point in his confession, Ajmal said, “There was a person Abu Jundal. He was an Indian. He taught us Hindi.”
“The trainers do not know where the boys are to be deployed. Zaki-Ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Kahfa, Jundal and Hamza decided where the boys have to be sent,” Ajmal said.
Some parts in Ajmal’s statement contradict the contention by the investigating agency. For example, Ajmal said he did not know anything about the maps recovered from his bag and that they were not his.
In another surprising disclosure, he said he had never fired at Assistant Sub-Inspector Tukaram Ombale; he had only hit him in the abdomen with the rifle butt.
Ajmal said that it was Ismail, and not he, who planted a bomb in a taxi. He also said he did not see who killed captain of the fishing trawler Kuber, Amarsinh Solanki, as he was on the upper deck. When he came down, he saw Abu Shoaib washing his bloodstained hands.
The attackers had received specific instructions from Hamza who, Ajmal said, asked him to throw his Global Positioning System (GPS) sets in the water.
However, Ajmal left one on Kuber and broke another on landing in Mumbai. He went back to Kuber to retrieve the GPS, but did not find it there.
The terrorists had used the same inflatable dinghy used in the attacks for the training.
Ajmal told the court that the fake identity cards produced in court in the form of evidence were the same they had made in Pakistan. The bomb kit, which was produced in court, belonged to him, Ajmal said.
“Not under pressure”
The accused denied that he was confessing under pressure. After he finished, he pleaded to the court that it pass a sentence and end the trial. The court told Ajmal that a copy of his confession would be served to him on Tuesday and he would have to sign it.
Objection to jibe
The court took exception to a remark made in jest by Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam. In a jibe at Ajmal’s lawyer Abbas Kazmi, Mr. Nikam said Ajmal had not mentioned “Abu Abbas Kazmi.” The court immediately asked Mr. Nikam to withdraw his comment.
As for Ajmal’s confession, judge M.L. Tahaliyani said: “I am not taking any decision today [Monday], except that it [confession] has been recorded.”