26/11 10th anniversary: Something fishy at Machimarnagar
Mumbai, Nov 26: There was something unusual at Machimarnagar, Mumbai on November 25 2008. Some activity was on, but none in their wildest of dreams imagined what was about to strike in the next 24 hours.
The ten terrorists from Pakistan including the Lashkar-e-Tayiba's Ajmal Kasab landed via sea at Machimarnagar. A lady, suspected to be part of a diesel racket is said to have helped the ten terrorists.
From here, the terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba launched one of the biggest attacks in the history of India. It was the Mumbai 26/11 attack that took place ten years back.
What transpired in the next 48 hours is a well known fact. The CST, Taj, Trident and Nariman House were attack and over 150 people were killed. Kasab was the lone terrorist to be captured alive, while the rest were gunned down by the NSG Commandos.
Almost everyone wondered, how these terrorists were so well versed with the logistics.
Sample this, for a long the security forces at Taj were unaware how the terrorists were moving between floors. It was only later did they realise that there was another staircase inside the hotel, which not many were aware of. Investigations showed that this staircase was discovered by David Headley, who was launched into Mumbai by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba to carry out a reconnaissance of the possible targets. And boy, did he do a thorough job of it.
To probe into the lapses by the Mumbai police, the government had set up the Ram Pradhan Committee of which former officer with the Research and Analysis Wing, V Balachandran was a part of.
The brief was to probe into the lapses by the police, but the committee during its hearing was handed out a complaint about a local lady being part of the team that helped the ten terrorists.
Balachandran tells OneIndia that there was a strong rumour that the terrorists had reached Mumbai days before the attack. The police however disputed this version and said that the terrorists had landed hours before they struck Mumbai.
It was said that a hut at the fishermen's colony at Colaba, which is used by the underworld is where the terrorists are believed to have stayed. We were given to understand that a lady, who is part of the diesel scam had provided shelter to the ten terrorists. The committee discussed these aspects, but then the brief did not permit them to go into this further.
These questions keep coming back even ten years later. The manner in which the terrorists navigated the routes made each one wonder, how ten men from Pakistan had landed in Mumbai overnight and went about their business with such ease.
Take for instance the attack on Chabad House. It is located on a narrow lane connected to the Colaba Causeway. Not many had even heard about its existence, until the attack took place. Balachandran himself says that he did not hear about this place despite living in this area for a very long time.
It has been ten years since the attack took place. Since the start, there have been demands to probe into the local link. Who was that lady and how was she connected to the terrorists? The mystery will linger on forever.