The news from the daily 'Dawn'
‘We wanted to seize hostages’, make demands, says Mumbai suspect
MUMBAI, Dec 13: The gunman captured in last month’s Mumbai attacks had originally intended to seize hostages and outline demands in a series of dramatic calls to the media, according to his confession obtained on Saturday by the Associated Press.
Mohammed Ajmal Kasab said he and his partner, who assaulted the city’s main train station, had planned a rooftop standoff, but they couldn’t find a suitable building, the statement to police says.
The two killed dozens of people inside the station, but it’s unclear if they ever held hostages.
Kasab’s seven-page confession, given to police over repeated interrogations, offers new details of the three-day rampage through India’s commercial centre that left 164 people plus nine gunmen dead.
He said the assault, which started on Nov 26, was initially set for Sept 27, though he doesn’t explain why it was delayed. The gunmen had been told by their handlers to carry out the attacks during rush hours when the station was teeming with commuters, according to the statement. After reaching Mumbai, Kasab and his partner, Ismail Khan, the ringleader, headed to the train station by taxi.
“Ismail and myself went to the common toilet, took out the weapons from our sacks, loaded them, came out of toilet and started firing indiscriminately toward the passengers,” Kasab told police.
As a police officer opened fire, the two militants retaliated with grenades before entering another part of the station and randomly shooting more commuters.
The men then searched for a building with a rooftop where they had been told to hold hostages and call a contact named Chacha, whom Kasab in his confession identified as Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the suspected mastermind behind the attacks.
Chacha would supply phone numbers for media outlets and specify what demands the two should make.
“This was the general strategy decided by our trainers,” Kasab said.
After failing to find a ‘suitable building,’ however, the two men instead stormed a hospital where they looked for hostages and exchanged more gunfire with police, he said.
Kasab, 21, said he was Pakistani national and trained by Lashkar-e-Taiba.
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