military. Because the Indian military is a very ideological
establishment. It is less likely because, as you know, it is
very fraternal. But these are guesses. You have to say
we don’t know.
Did you try to find out?
Yeah. I tried. I haven’t got very far on this. But you
know... It is quite shocking. Because it seems that it
enabled them to work out what to expect after the
event and what the weaknesses of the Indian
response would be and how to evade it.
So, for example, they knew how a Mumbai police
control room worked, they knew how the GPS system works in Mumbai cars. In Karachi, they built a
model of the Taj Hotel using blueprints so they had a
kind of a schematic of the Taj. That was shown to the
boys in Karachi.
I think for them it was not really the most significant thing. I think the digital elements helped.
The fact that if you have never been to a city, but
you know street view on the map, if you put it on
street view, then you can walk down the highway in
Colaba, past Leopold, and take a right and head
down two blocks and hit the service lane at the back
of the Taj.
That is what you need to know. You need to know
the tailor shops on the left, the hardware store is on
the right. It is that kind of thing that helped them.
These are country boys, they don’t have any great
What is the life story of these 10 terrorists?
This is a really interesting thing. First of all, nearly
all the names given are partially wrong. The lives of
eight of them are pretty identical. In the sense that
they are, broadly speaking, from Pakistani Punjab,
broadly speaking, mostly from southern Punjab. As
you know, that is the hotbed of sectarianism where
there is presence of Le T or Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or
It is also an area where a lot of political horse-trad-ing takes place. Really, they run a government within
a government and no one is in control of those
You can see that if you go to these places, particularly to Okara, where Kasab comes from. Zaki, the
Le T military commander, is from Okara, too.
It is significant because Okara was a very impoverished,
down-on-its-luck city until lots of boys began to die in
There was no industry, no social welfare. The welfare
was provided by the Le T. The hospitals are run by them,
the seminary is run by Sipah-e-Sahaba.
The only way you could get medical treatment or
money for the family was by being an adjunct. But it is
not just joining the Lashkar, it is also about publicity.
You could go to Okara now, what it says on the walls is
not Bollywood, not cricket, but jihad.
There are newspapers with cartoons and in the cartoons are the fidayeen. You know they joke that there is a
character called jihad-Joe for school boys. And the
Lashkar knows this. They describe children as blank
blackboards. They fill them with these ideas.
Even now... completely! This is a very difficult thing
because in the absence of the writ of the government, in
the absence of investment in education, what will happen
is that these groups pick them out.
So, these 10 boys, the first thing to identify is broadly
speaking their families are fractured. Broadly speaking,
they are from that geographical area. They are brought up
in districts that are held together by the governments of
More than that a lot of the boys come from places which
‘AMERICA CONCEALED ITS KNOWLEDGE, ITS TRUE
can watch India. They are from border areas where they
look out of their bedroom windows and they are looking
over the borders.
They are involved permanently in the instability of the
border. They know about the tit-for-tat raids, the shelling
from all the border wars. So there is the culture.
I can think of two of the boys whose family had lost
members in the 1965 and 1971 wars. So in sense, the view
from the bedroom window then becomes the worldview
and then they are picked on by an organization offering
them a glorious way out. Even then children try to get out.
One of the 10 (terrorists) is slightly different. In that the
leader of the operation was much more decisive. And we
know from all of the conversation that took place from the
interrogations of Kasab.
The man in the end picked out to lead the operation, in
some sense, was much more of a veteran. But he was not
typical of the way the operation worked.
Nine terrorists died in Mumbai, but there is no social
visibility of their parents. Neither did the media in
Pakistan report about them. Why?
The second part of the story is this. All of the families
were approached by the jihadi outfit, they were all
approached by Le T afterwards, they were approached by
the intelligence apparatus and they told the families ‘I am
sorry but your child is dead.’
They claimed the children died in Kashmir, there was a
glorious battle. ‘Here is a photo. This is your son, he is a
shaheed (martyr). And he died in the war at Baramullah,
The families were not told that they died in Mumbai?
The intelligence agencies categorically denied that.
They told the families you would hear lots of stories. It is
black propaganda. These boys fought in Kashmir. Every
family was given the same story.
How do you know that?
We went to all of them. In two cases the family was told
the boy had drowned running away from the Rashtriya
Rifles in a river in Kashmir. Their whole thing was to pay
money. They (the terrorists’ families) got shaheed money.
They got cash from the Lashkar, pitiful amounts of
How much money?
Really insignificant amounts. They were promised like
Rs 100,000. Nothing really, for a life. And they were given
this back up story and they were told that anyone comes
to you, say this only.
‘ALL OF THE TERRORISTS’ FAMILIES WERE
APPROACHED BY LASHKAR AFTERWARDS,
THEY WERE APPROACHED BY THE
INTELLIGENCE APPARATUS AND THEY TOLD
THE FAMILIES ‘I AM SORRY BUT YOUR CHILD
IS DEAD.’ THEY CLAIMED THE CHILDREN DIED
IN KASHMIR, THERE WAS
A GLORIOUS BATTLE.’
KNOWLEDGE OF THE GROWING RISK ON MUMBAI’
KIND COURTESY: SEBASTIAN D'SOUZA/MUMBAI MIRROR
Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist
who was captured alive, at the CST
station, November 26, 2008.