Abdul Rehman, Abdul Rehman Chhota, Abu Ali, Fahad Ullah, Ismail Khan, Babar Imran, Abu Umar, Abu Sohrab, Shoaib and Ajmal Kasab; 10 young men in their early twenties who executed the Mumbai mayhem 26/11.
These attackers travelled by sea from Karachi, Pakistan and hijacked an Indian fishing trawler. They killed its crew of four and forced the captain to sail to Mumbai, who was killed on coming ashore at the Arabian Sea in Colaba at 20:00 IST on November 26, 2008.
Their target was Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Leopold Cafe, The Taj Mahal Hotel, Oberoi Trident and the Nariman House. Also, there were shootings near St. Xavier college, Metro Cinema, Mazagaon Docks, Vile Parle and Cama Hotel. An attack began at CST at 21:30 when two gunmen, including Ajmal Kasab, entered the passenger hall and opened fire using AK-47 rifles. The attackers killed 58 people, injured another 104 and ended the assault at about 22:45 followed by the arrival of security forces and emergency services. After CST, Kasab and Khan faced firing by a team of Mumbai Anti Terrorist Squad in which Khan and 5 Police officers were killed, and Kasab was caught alive.
Leopold Cafe, a popular bar on Colaba Causeway, was one of the first sites to be attacked with around 10 killings and many more injuries.
The Taj Hotel had 6 explosions, 1 in the lobby, 2 in the elevators and 3 in the restaurant. On the night of November 26, around 200 hostages were rescued from the windows using ladders by our fire-fighters.
Meanwhile, 2 other attackers took over the Nariman House where 9 hostages were rescued but 6 hostages and a National Security Guard Commando were gunned down. Both the gunmen were shot dead as well.
The operation finally ended at 8:00 am on November 29 after killing 9 terrorists. In total, the NSG rescued 250 people from the Oberoi, 300 from the Taj and 60 people from Nariman House.
These attacks were planned and directed by Lashkar-e-Taiba militants in Pakistan, carried out by 10 young armed men trained and sent to Mumbai and directed from Pakistan via mobile phones and VoIP. This massacre was planned several months ahead of time and the attackers knew some areas well enough to vanish and reappear after the security forces had left.
These 10 attackers were out of the group of around 24 students who were trained in marine warfare at a remote camp in mountainous Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir. A part of training was also taken at Mangla Dam reservoir. The stages of training, as reported by the US n Indian media reports were psychological (atrocities suffered by Muslims in India and other parts of the globe), basic combat, advanced weapons and explosives training supervised by retired personnel of the Pakistan Army, survival training and commando training that also included marine navigation. There were also lessons in swimming and sailing and before boarding a small boat for Mumbai, the attackers stayed and were trained by the LeT in a safe house at Azizabad near Karachi.
Blood tests on the attackers indicate that they had taken cocaine and LSD to sustain their energy and stay awake for around 60 hours. Rowing with weight on their shoulders did not tire these young terrorists. Within 90 mins of reaching Mumbai, they had started with their shooting spree, that lasted for around 90 hours. The basic needs of a human being are water, food, sleep and release of urine and stool. Without breaks, these 6 attackers injured and killed so many people. According to some witnesses, there was a smile on their faces while shooting innocent targets.
Our soldiers are trained for years and months, unfortunately, they may or fortunately they may not face a war. Shooters who have done our nation proud by winning medals take their own time to shoot a dot. A little hectic day may want us to rest for the whole weekend. A little weight may wear out our muscles for 2-3 days. It’s not the effort and strength of these 6 boys I admire or selflessness or determination of our soldiers and sportsmen I don’t value, but it’s the functioning of our minds and the intensity of it’s will that amazes me. Men have done great things due to their dedication. A man in a remote village constructed a whole mountain and made a road all by himself. It’s the power of the human mind that’s so intimidating. It can invent things and demolish places of worship, it can start a revolution or plan a war, it can save life amidst danger or kill people in cold blood.
The mind, in the end, is ours! We train it, we exploit it. We argue with it, we convince it. The mind conceives an idea because we want it to. It can either be a saviour or a monster, who gets to decide?