Updated: February 19, 2020 8:29:11 am
Former Mumbai Police commissioner Rakesh Maria has claimed that he took Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Kasab to the Metro Junction in Mumbai where the latter had killed police personnel during the 26/11 terror attacks and made him say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. He also said that Kasab was taken to a mosque in the city to show that Muslims could freely practice their faith in India.
In his autobiography Let Me Say It Now released on Monday, Maria wrote: “The convoy came to the Metro Junction, the stretch around which the monster had unleashed death just a few days ago, killing my dear colleagues and innocent fellow citizens… ‘Bend down and touch the ground with your forehead’, I ordered Kasab. Spooked, he meekly followed my instructions. Now, say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, I commanded. ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, said Kasab. Not satisfied with just once, I made him repeat it twice.”
Detailing his investigation into the 26/11 terror attacks that left 174 dead in Mumbai in 2008, Maria said Kasab was made to believe since childhood that Muslims were not allowed to offer prayer in mosques and that all mosques were shut in India.
“He felt that the azaan he heard five times a day in the crime branch lock up was just a figment of his imagination. When we came to know of this, I instructed Mahale (senior inspector Ramesh Mahale) to take him to the mosque near the Metro Cinema in a vehicle. When he saw namaaz being offered with his own eyes, he was bewildered,” Maria wrote.
He explained how Kasab, who studied till Class IV in an Urdu medium school, was brainwashed and how poverty forced him to flee home and reach Rawalpindi where he met LeT operatives.
Maria maintained that LeT had planned to project the 26/11 attack as a case of “Hindu terror” and Kasab to die as “Bengaluru’s Samir Dinesh Chaudhary”. He said that when he first interrogated Kasab, who was captured alive, the latter had a red thread tied on his wrist. “If all had gone well, he would have been dead with a red string tied around his wrist like a Hindu. We would have found an identity card on his person with a fictitious name: Samir Dinesh Chaudhary.”
The chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police in the case in 2009 had stated that the terrorists were told that they would be given identity cards bearing Hindu names and that they had to tie a thread on their wrists, which is usually tied by Hindus. While delivering its order, the court had also observed that the identity card given to Kasab was issued in the name of Samir Chaudhary.
Maria wrote that Kasab’s identity card claimed Chaudhari was a student of Arunodaya Degree and PG College in Hyderabad and a resident of Teachers Colony in Bengaluru. “There would have been screaming headline in newspapers claiming how Hindu terrorists had attacked Mumbai,” he added.
Maria had spoken in Punjabi, asking “kithon da munda hai tu” to strike a chord with Kasab, when he first met him for interrogation. Kasab had replied: “Okara”, which is in Pakistan’s Punjab province. It later turned out that Kasab was from Faridkot in Pakistan.
Maria said the police had received inputs from central intelligence agencies that Kasab’s life was under threat, and Pakistan has entrusted Dawood Ibrahim’s men to kill him. “The reputation of the Mumbai Police, not just my job, was at stake if anything were to happen to him,” he wrote.
Even water and food provided to Kasab was from the lunchboxes of police officers, which was tasted before he ate, said Maria.
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