At approximately 7.30am this morning, the Taj operation finally came to something of a close. Reports are that one terrorist has been caught and three have been killed there. There have been some casualties among the NSG and the NSG chief JK Dutt has urged guests in the hotel to part their curtains so that the NSG can tell from the outside who is, well, kosher. Ultimately, the terrorists were smoked out and there seems to be some footage of a man coming out of one of the ground floor windows. Two terrorists were found inside, holding AK47 guns.
The fire at the Taj is under control, we’re told, but the smoke that’s billowing out of there doesn’t offer much hope for the interior of the building.
Hand grenades and AK47s have been recovered and the sanitisation process continues. The hotel has 500-odd rooms so this is going to take time.
News reports now claim that the terrorist apprehended at the Taj confessed to intending to blow up the Taj. The death toll, at last count, was 155.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Mirror has an exclusive this morning with the terrorist who was captured on the first day at CST. Azam Amir Kasav is a 21-year-old from Faridkot (in Pakistan occupied Kashmir). Kasav and a colleague were captured at Girgaum. His colleague was killed while he sustained injuries to his hand. Apparently he played dead but was discovered when the bodies were being taken to the morgue. At first he wasn’t cooperating and then the sight of his friend/ colleague’s dead body made him break down. According to Kasav, the team that came from Karachi to Mumbai by sea killed two coast guards who spotted them near Porbandar, Gujarat. At Colaba, they broke up into groups of two – two for the Taj, two for Nariman House, two for the Trident and two for CST. At the end of his police grilling, Kasav told medical personnel that he no longer wanted to live so could they please kill him.
Perhaps I’m just a little too cynical, but a lot of this doesn’t add up for me. It seems odd that someone on so professional a mission pretended to play dead and then crumpled at the sight of a dead body. Also, two coast guards were killed and there are no reports of this? The ammunition he says they were given seems to be less than what has been used over the past few days. There were 25 blasts at Nariman House and 16 in the Taj till about Thursday and firing went on almost continuously at the three locations. Not just that, grenades have been found in each of the locations so they clearly didn’t use up all their supplies. It also sounds ridiculous that only two men were able to hold off NSG, the Army and naval commandos for some 58 hours. Finally, the fact that he spoke so easily – reason: “I want to live” – is just unbelievable.