We were ordered to throw grenades first: Ajmal

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Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’
Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’

Staff Reporter

Mumbai: In his confession in the special sessions court here on Monday, the lone surviving 26/11 gunman Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’ said he and his partner Abu Ismail were instructed by their handler Abu Hamza to hurl grenades first and then open fire.

The duo had met Hamza separately as a pair. The attackers were warned against disobeying orders.

According to Hamza’s instructions, Ajmal and Ismail were the first pair to leave for their target location, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST).

When the attackers approached Mumbai, it was still twilight, so they kept sailing in the sea as the attacks were to be carried out in the dark.

On reaching Badhwar Park, Ismail and Ajmal hailed a cab, arrived at the CST and unleashed terror. Hamza had told them to open fire in one hall and then move to the next hall. On seeing some police officers, the duo went to the side of platform 1.

“How did you know it was platform 1,” asked judge M.L. Tahaliyani. Ajmal replied, “I got to know from the proceedings.”

At the CST, Ismail transferred the contents of his bag to a small bag and told Ajmal to leave the big bag behind. A couple of times in his narration, Ajmal referred to the footage shown in the court to describe locations and their movements. For instance, when he described how he took the overbridge towards the Cama Hospital, after coming out of the CST. They tried to open cars in a parking area, but failed.

At Cama, they jumped the rearside wall which was not too high and got inside the hospital. On seeing some guards, Ismail resorted to firing. He told Ajmal to wait behind and he moved ahead and fired again. After a while, Ismail returned and told Ajmal to come along. The two were looking for a place to hide, Ajmal said.

On entering the six-storey Cama building, they found that all doors were shut. On the fifth floor, they saw four persons. They made them lie on the ground and warned them to be silent.

Ajmal locked three persons in a bathroom. One of the four, who offered resistance, was Harishchandra Shrivardhankar. He was allegedly stabbed by Ismail. Ajmal said that when he returned, he saw Shrivardhankar lying in a pool of blood. The duo then saw a person hiding under a table. He was also locked in a bathroom.

Then, taking one person hostage, Ajmal was coming down the building. Ismail stayed back on the fifth floor. However, the hostage signalled that the police were downstairs and Ajmal came upstairs again.

When the police came up, the duo fought a pitched battle and later managed to escape from Cama through rearside. There they were locked in an exchange of fire with police officers Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar. All the three were, however, killed in the firing.

Ajmal and Ismail took a vehicle, but did not know where they were going. “For a long time we kept coming to the same area near Cama,” Ajmal said.

They later reached the Vidhan Bhavan, where they hijacked a Skoda. They were finally cornered at Girgaum Chowpatty. Ajmal was caught and Ismail was killed.

Ajmal told the court that while moving in the vehicle, he showed Ismail the bruises he had suffered. Ismail said he too was injured, but they kept moving.

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