From Colaba to Chowpatty – retracing Kasab’s footsteps on 26/11

By IANS,

Mumbai : Mumbai’s 60 hours of mayhem began on the dark night of Nov 26, 2008, when Ajmal Amir Kasab and nine of his colleagues stepped off inflatable speedboats in a small fishing village in Colaba opposite the Badhwar Park housing complex for government officials.

Kasab, who was Monday held guilty on more than 80 charges in the 26/11 case, then got into an ordinary Mumbai taxi. The group split to go in different directions. Kasab, the only one of the 10 to be captured alive, came to the teeming Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) accompanied by Abu Ismail, both with backpacks and AK-47s dangling carelessly from their shoulders.

Kasab and Ismail started firing at random inside the CST building. Ismail also lobbed hand grenades. The attacks started at 9.30 p.m.; in less than an hour, the duo killed 58 people and injured over 100.

Kasab and Ismail then walked out of the station and headed towards the Cama Hospital, just a five minute walk away. They used the small gate at the back of the hospital to gain unrestricted entry. Despite the hospital staff putting up a brave fight, the duo killed seven people, including two policemen.

They came out of the hospital and found a police jeep waiting outside. Inside were three of Mumbai’s top police officers – Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte who were out on patrol looking for the unidentified gunmen who had gone on rampage at the hospital.

Unexpectedly, the unprepared policemen came face to face with them as the duo was coming out of the hospital, only to be gunned down. Kasab and Ismail threw their bodies on the roads and drove away in the police jeep. Arun Jadhav, a police constable, was still inside the vehicle pretending to be dead.

Kasab and Ismail then shot at another police party near Metro theatre. When the police jeep developed a flat tyre and started wobbling, they abandoned it with Jadhav still inside.

The terrorists then hijacked a Skoda and started driving towards Girgaum Chowpatty. They rammed their car into a police barricade and tried to take a U-turn as the cops started firing. Ismail was killed and Kasab managed to come out of the car when Constable Tukaram Ombale went and literally hugged him. As Kasab emptied bullets into him, Ombale died still holding the terrorist.

Kasab was captured, the only one of the 10 to be captured. Ombale’s ultimate act of courage enabled India to help unravel the conspiracy behind its worst terror attack.

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