26/11: An attack that almost got blamed on the Hindus, while one Basheer remains a mystery
The terrorists had masked their identity to look as though they were Hindus. All of them sported saffron bands and the identification found on Ajmal Kasab showed his name as 'Samir Chaudhary'.
New Delhi, Nov 26: Fourteen years have passed and the wounds are yet to heal. On this day in the year 2008, Mumbai was hit by one of the worst terror strikes when 10 terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba stormed the city and kept its people under siege. 160 laid down their lives in one of the worst attacks that the country has witnessed.
Like many incidents, this one too was surrounded by controversy with some stating an Indian angle was never probed while another set of people trying to term it as Hindu terror.
Drumming up an anti-Hindu sentiment:
Thank God, Ajmal Kasab was caught alive, an official tells OneIndia. The terrorists had masked their identity to look as though they were Hindus. All of them sported saffron bands and the identification found on Ajmal Kasab showed his name as Samir Chaudhary.
Had Kasab not been caught alive, the Hindu terror bogey would have caught on as there were many cases such as the ones in Malegaon, Hyderabad, Ajmer and the Samjautha express blasts which the government of the day blamed on the Hindus.
Post the 26/11 attack, the likes of Digvijaya Singh attended a book launch event. The event was the launch of the meaningless book, RSS ki Saazish: 26/11. Another book by former inspector general of police, S M Mushrif blamed the Hindus for the murder of then ATS chief, Hemant Karkare who had been probing the above mentioned so-called Hindu terror cases.
The lead investigator, Rakesh Maria had said that there was a deliberate attempt made to manufacture a Hindu terror plot. He went on to add that the Pakistan link became extremely clear when Kasab was caught alive and confessed about his country of origin.
The Indian connection:
The Indian link to the attack was hardly spoken about. There was talk that the terrorists had entered Mumbai a few days before the attack and were sheltered by a Muslim woman at Machimarnagar. It was also rumoured that a burqa-clad lady had guided the terrorists to Lady Cama Hospital in Mumbai.
Saroj Kumar Rath, the author of the book, 'Fragile Frontiers: The Secret History of the Mumbai Terror Attacks' had told this correspondent a few years back that there were three locals supported by an Indian named Basheer, a friend of Tawwahur Rana, an associate of David Headley, the man who surveyed the targets and also purchased the saffron bands for the ten terrorists.
Rath also pointed out that when Headley landed in India, he was received by Basheer. However, this angle was never probed and Basheer remains a mystery till date. Rath added that there were many loopholes in the probe and it was more about the forensics, loss of life and the confession by Kasab.
The Ram Pradhan Committee:
The Ram Pradhan Committee was set up to look into the lapses by the Mumbai police during the attack. One of the members of the committee V Balachandran who retired from the Research and Analysis Wing told this correspondent that during the inquiry, there was a rumour that the terrorists had reached Mumbai days before the attack and were staying at the fishermen's colony in Colaba. Further we had also heard that the lady who sheltered them was the kingpin of the diesel scam.
He, however, added that they had informed the agencies about the same, but never heard back from them. Moreover the Committee could not go further into this as the charter did not permit them to do so, Balachandran pointed out.