26/11 plotter Jundal abandoned family for terrorism

By Rajnish Singh, IANS,

New Delhi: Driven by his commitment to jihad, 26/11 plotter Abu Jundal Hamza abandoned not only his family in India but also his Pakistani wife and two-year-old son in his adopted hometown of Muridke across the border to move to Saudi Arabia and create modules to stage more attacks in this country, his interrogators here say.

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The interrogators, who have questioned Jundal since he was arrested here June 21 on his deportation from Saudi Arabia, have found it strange that he never made a request to speak to his wife and son.

“When asked if he wanted to talk to them, he provided a phone number. But, till now, they could not be contacted, as the number he provided is not in use,” said an officer who has questioned Jundal.

An operative of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jundal, an Indian, was one of the handlers of the 10 Pakistani terrorists who sneaked into Mumbai on November 26, 2008, to carry out an audacious three-day attack that claimed 166 lives. He has no remorse over the strike or abandoning his family, either in Beed in Maharashtra or in Muridke in Pakistan, to wage a jihad against India, the officer added.

Jundal had married a Pakistani girl in January 2009 to gain residency in Muridke, through which he managed to obtain a Pakistani passport and identity cards to live there and also frequently travel to Saudi Arabia, investigators said.

Jundal had been nabbed by Saudi Arabian authorities about a year ago. He was deported after India unmasked his identity and proved his involvement in terror cases in this country. Apart from 26/11, investigators say he also had a hand in the blast in the German Bakery in Pune and an arms haul in Aurangabad and had also been planning an attack on a police academy in Nashik on the lines of a similar attack in Lahore.

Indian probe agencies are now planning to request Pakistan to send Jundal’s wife and son to the Indian capital as early as possible.

“Jundal’s commitment to jihad is certainly greater than his love for his family,” the officer said.

Through his marriage, Jundal had obtained a marriage certificate which enabled him to get a Pakistani identity card in the name of Riyasat Ali. His Pakistani passport, in the same name, was issued in January 2009 and is valid till 2014. His father’s name in the passport is mentioned asMohammed Khushi.

He first travelled to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan in 2010 and his frequent trips drew the Saudi authorities’ attention. Hence, his LeT masters asked him to stay back in Saudi Arabia, with which he complied willingly. He has not visited his wife and son since.

In Saudi Arabia, Jundal had also met with Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives Iqbal Bhatkal and Riyaj Bhatkal and sought their help in creating new IM modules in India to carry out future terror attacks, his interrogators here said.

They have also discovered that Jundal first came in contact with the LeT in 2005 along with two other men from Maharashtra, Fayyaz Kagzi from Beed and Mohammad Rahil Sheikh from Thane through a Kashmiri operative of the terror outfit.

Since then, he had received training in maritime and aviation skills from the LeT in Pakistan.

“The elementary flying and seafaring classes took place when he went to Pakistan after the Aurangabad arms haul of 2006, in which Jundal played a key role,” an investigator said.

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])