CRONIC OF MASSACRE
On 26th November 2008, in Mumbai, has started an unprecedented attack . Hand grenades, fusils AK47, and bombs distributed around all the city have spread panic amongst the citizens of Mumbai. The last bomb was found one week after the attacks started.
This is the chronic of the week that has commoved the world, and its precedents.
Some months later, they are arrested in Jammu, thanks to the transmitters, while entering the country to make a terrorist attack.
Ten youth with many bags go through the narrow streets of the Colaba neighbourhood, towards the Nariman House, an ultra-orthodox Jewish centre. On its way, they find some guys from the place, amongst them is Sumit Supadia, that ask them about the content of their bags., to what they answer that is a lots of books and stuff for their university work, and a lot of water because, being foreigners, the local water was not good for them.
As later will told us a waiter from the Which Latte, “some of these guys had been living here before, some months ago. Even I have brought them food. That’s why the people did not get surprised that they went into the building so relax, in spite of the security measures of the house”.
From the ten guys, eight leave the house after a while. All in couples. Two of them went to the Leopold Café to have dinner. The two that remained in the Nariman House were Imran and Nasir.
Andri, a photographer from USA, hears the shots and, after realizing they are not fire-crackers, hides in a cyber-café. The terrorists don’t kill everybody. They ask those ones still alive to lay down in the floor, with their passport up. Nicole – invented name – is English and is one of the persons closest to the terrorists. When they took her passport, due to her nationality, she thinks in her imminent death. Surprisingly, they tell her to leave the local. “We don’t want more English dead in this local”. She runs desperately, with her trousers pierced by a gunshot.
The two terrorists finally leave the Leopold to go to the Hotel Taj Mahal. Felix Ambrosa, owner of the cyber-café next to the Leopold, sees one of the terrorists shooting to all those one that are running on the street, not those that hide somewhere. Andri goes instinctively inside the cyber-café, with Felix., that closes the lights and ask to his costumers to remain in silence and hidden in the rear room. Once the two terrorists have passed in front of the shop and after being sure everything is secure, Andri goes to the Leopold. “It was full of blood. I could see a magazine… And that means a lot of bullets from one automatic one”.
Mukesh Agrawal, owner of the Re-Fresh Restaurant situated in front of the platform 13, is prepared to give service to the hundreds of passengers that there are in the station.
Ismail and Kasab are in the beginning of platform 13. They look at each other, open their bags, one take an AK47 and the other takes a grenade. This one throws the grenade and the other starts shooting indiscriminately against anything moving. After, his colleague starts shooting as well. M.Agrawal shouts to his costumers to lay down on the floor, while a bullet enter his chest. During these moments of panic, one of the terrorists leaves a black and red bag on the ground. And through the speakers of the station, the relax voice of D.Zende telling the people to leave the place through the nearest exit.
The two terrorists remain long time in the place where they started the attack. There is no one opposing resistance. As Sebastian da Souza will tell later – the graphic editor from Mumbai Mirror that made the photos from the terrorists in the CST -, the police, only with a lathi, or bamboo stick, in their hands, run away as all the other passengers. Even when a terrorist localize him doing photos and starts shooting at him, Da Souza asks a police to shoot back at the terrorist, but he doesn’t do anything paralyzed by the fear.
The station remains in absolute silence, while the terrorists walk around it totally relax. A woman runs away with his child of six years old, with other passengers that also are escaping from the trap that has became the station. While running, has a panic attack and starts shouting. One of the terrorists looks at her, smiles, aims, shoots and kills before the child and after her.
The plan of the terrorists was to remain strong in the railway station with hostages as shells, but the resistance of the police is too small.
Suddam Pandarkar is one of the policemen in service that night in the Police Station inside the CST station. After the first minutes of confusion, their boss send them to oppose resistance to the terrorists. From the platform 6 of local trains, he sees the terrorists. With his small and old gun shoots three bullets, what calls the attention of Ismail and Kasab. With a burst of their automatic fusil they injured him. His next remember is in the hospital. S.Pandarkar was one of the only three policemen that shot at the terrorists in CST.
After 25 minutes without resistance, Ismail and Kasab decide to go out of the CST.
Afterwards, the two terrorists go to the Tiffin Restaurant of the Oberoi, where, as in the Taj, they will be able to close the doors and make hostages. Once closed there, Rehman and Fahadullah order to two waiters to burn the local with everybody inside. The two waiters, with two matches boxes, obey and try to burn the curtains. On the meanwhile, a eight months pregnant woman asks for her freedom and dies after a shot of one of the terrorists. You can smell the fear in the air. So much that one of the waiters cannot even start one match after the other one. He is also assassinated by one of the terrorists. The other waiter, realizing that he was going to die as well, jumps through the window. Incredibly, he saves his life, like a waiter of the Taj that also jumped through the window.
After listening some gunshots, he decides to have a look through the big windows, but everything seems to be normal down the streets. He presents himself to the manager of the restaurant and he explains him that it seems to be an attack in the hotel. From then on, Faisul will be the in-charge of the situation in the restaurant. He explains the situation to the costumers and asks for calm in the restaurant. Faisul orders to close the doors of the restaurant. After some calls, the manager confirms that the hotel is under a terrorist attack. Then, Faisul orders the about sixty costumers to go to the kitchen. Faisul and the staff of the hotel, very carefully, move furniture to the entrance of the kitchen to create a barricade. From there, they pass to the conference hall, next to it, where there were already around sixty people hiding. While they passed through the kitchen, Faisul and the staff of the hotel took all the knifes they found. Faisul sends one security guard from the hotel to have a look to their escape-path: the emergency stairs. After, they close the lights and remain in silence.
Only remain alive their baby of two years old and the maid, closed in her room.
Imran and Nasir starts shooting from the windows, killing one of the guys that asked them for the bags. They also throw a grenade to the petrol pump in front of Nariman House. Luckily for the neighbourhood, one of the most populated in the area of Colaba, they only achieve to destroy one of the walls of the petrol pump.
The goal of the terrorists was to kill 5.000 people between the different attacks.
At not more than 400 meters from the CST station, and next to the Cama Hospital, they find Thakur Budha Waghela, a worker from the cleaning staff of the Albless Hospital. He is finishing dinner before going to work. The two terrorists ask him for water. He gives them some and they kill him in front of his six years old son. Afterwards, they go to the Cama Hospital, dedicated exclusively to women and children, where Nasrim Shaikh is delivering her baby. When the doctors hear gunshots in the hospital, they put the baby’s head, already appearing, back inside the belly of her mother. She shouts of terrible pain and the doctors give her a painkiller that puts her to sleep. The doctors turn off the light and close the door from inside. After some minutes, the terrorists arrive to their floor and try to open the door, but as it is closed, they leave the floor. Immediately after, the doctors reactivate the operation and save the life of the baby, and her mother. The six dead in the Cama Hospital were from the policemen that were following the terrorists. The witness from the hospital said that the terrorists were shooting in the air while they were going through the hospital. No staff or patient have been threatened.
Hemant Karkare, boss of the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in Mumbai, gets to know where are the terrorists through the radio of his car and takes this way, with three of his colleagues: Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salazar and Arun Jadhav. Once there, they are shown the way taken by Ismail and Kasab. They find two dead bodies in the street in front the Cama Hospital. With the Albless Hospital on their left, they turn left following the only path possible by car, with the Albless Hospital again on their left and plants and trees on their right, that surround the buildings along the street. Suddenly, their life just finishes. An ambush from Ismail and Kasab, two 21 years old guys, finishes with the life of Karkare, the boss of the ATS-Mumbai, the most important brigade antiterrorist of India, and two of his colleagues. The two terrorists take out from the car the bodies of Karkare, Kamte and Salazar, laughing about the fact that Karkare is wearing a bullet-proof. But they left Arun Jadhav inside, maybe due to his corpulence and his position inside the car, that would have meant too much time lost. Oddly, Arun Jadhav was the only one remaining alive.
Ismail and Kasab run away with the car, what allows them to hear all the chats of the police through the car’s radio. They go out from the Badruddin Tayabi Street and turn right on Mahapalika Marg. When they pass in front of the Metro Cinema, they start shooting at the people waiting for the night session. During their escape, they shoot randomly through the strangely semi deserted streets of South-Mumbai. In the meantime, in the backside of the car, Arun Jadhav cannot move due to his wounds.
The car is going fast towards the Taj or the Nariman House, very closed one to each other. On the way they find a check-post that cuts the street. From the check-post, the police observes a police car approaching them, really fast. The police is worried. In spite of being a police car, it is doing very strange things while approaching. None of the police reacts. From the front windows of the car appear two bodies that start shooting them. The camera shooting all the scene falls down and the terrorists pass through the control-post, not without having a puncture.
The terrorists listen through the radio that their car has been identified. They stop next to a blue Skoda car, kill its driver and escape in it. It is then when Arun Jadhav gives the informations: their new car, their direction and that they have killed Karkare. This new angers the police corps. Finally, Ismail and Kasab are intercepted some minutes later in Chowpatti Beach. Ismail dies under the bullets of the police and Kasab, wounded, is brought to the hospital and arrested.
In the meanwhile, Sunil Yadhav, member of the NSG, waits in Delhi, for the last two hours, for a plane that will bring him, his 150 colleagues and their equipment to Mumbai.
During the first three hours of action of the Marines, they achieve to liberate hundred people from the Heritage. But at 05h, the terrorists find the escape route of the hostages through the lobby and throw a grenade that stop the rescue till 07h. In the next three hours, the Marines free hundred hostages more.
Sunil starts his work in the 6th floor to go down floor by floor. His concrete mission was to check room by room the existence of costumers closed in their rooms. Each guest found has to be brought to the Central Place, a hall in each floor from where all the corridors leads to the rooms. Once here, he should give the guests to another commando in charge of taking them out of the building. Then, Sunil would have to go to check another room, one by one, till finish with the 500 rooms of the hotel.
These facts bring us to clear conclusions. If the suitcases were outside and the terrorists are inside, it means that there are more terrorists outside the hotels. This fact was confirmed afterwards by the terrorist arrested, who affirms that have arrived 15 to Mumbai, not ten.
Sunil continues with his risky work. Arrives in front the door of a room. Like in all the floors, there is a lot of smoke and it is very dark, in spite of the huge fans that the NSG has installed to remove the smoke and the smell from the decomposing bodies. He almost can’t see anything and hasn’t got any plan from the building. The guide they brought run away terrorized with the facts.
He knocks on the door of the room very carefully, like always, waiting for possible shots from the terrorists. He doesn’t hear anything. He identifies himself as NSG, but, as the experience has shown him, if there is a guest inside, is not going to say anything because he will be frightened that it is a terrorist. Besides, he is sure that if there is someone inside, this person would have put a barricade to protect more the entrance.
Sunil warns of the explosion that there will be at the door. The guest has to protect himself, even though the explosion is really small. Once inside, after putting down the barricade made by the guest, Sunil looks around all the room for a guest. When he finds him in one corner of the room, the guest, panicking of seeing a man dressed in black, a black balaclava as well and a fusil, starts shouting. Sunil hugs the guest, calms him down, makes him realize that he is his rescuer and, finally, gives water to him. The water always calms down.
After a while, with the hostage more calm, Sunil explains him that has to bring him to the Central Place, where another commando will bring him out. They walk really carefully through the corridors on the way to the central Place. Seeing all what is surrounding them, the guest enters in panic again, and Sunil has to calm him down again. When they arrive to the meeting point, Sunil decides to stay a little more to relax the guest. From their position they cannot see more than one meter, what makes the corridors that arrives to them black and dark dangerous tunnels full of smoke. Suddenly, a grenade blows next to the guests that were being rescued. All of them enter in panic and there is a moment of big confusion. The terrorists open fire at them and the elite NSG replies to it as well. But, as Sunil explained us, they didn’t know where to shoot because didn’t know from which corridor where coming the shots. Sunil feel something in the left side of his bottom, but continues firing at the terrorists. Once controlled the situation, some commandos take the guests to the exit, and Sunil goes to look for another room.
It is not till 16:30h that Sunil starts feeling too much hot in his left hip and a little bit dizzy: a bullet has passed through his left bottom chick and gone out through his right leg. Another commando takes him out of the hotel Taj. According to Sunil, he has survived thanks to their training to endure pain and the special equipment they have.
At one o’clock in the morning, forty guests are liberated in the Oberoi. The operation continues positively and during the night follows the offensive against the terrorists.
Apoorva Parikh remains in the AC-room. He has achieved to survive thanks to the water of the AC machines. Around eight o’clock in the morning, we listen how, from the radio of a policeman outside the Oberoi, someone says: “In the 16th floor there is nothing. They continue up”. It would not be till 09:30h that some commandos will reach the 19th floor, where there is the AC-room. After calling to the door and identifying themselves as NSG, Apoorva Parikh understands that he still has an opportunity. Finally, at 10h starts a massive liberation of guests. The terrorists are already dead, but the liberation of the 93 guests enlarges until 15:00h. We don’t know if it is because of problems inside the hotel, because of the state of the guests or because outside there is a mass of journalists, mainly Indians, desiring to obtain an image of the guests. Every time that a guest is leaving the hotel, a crowd of cameras would jump on him so that, the guests, after 36 hours closed in the most terrifying circumstances, see themselves frightened by the desires of images from the profession.
At 18:40h, Andri, the photographer from USA, is near Nariman House. It seems that, finally, the NSG has killed the terrorists. The people starts crossing the control posts around the house. Andri told us “I don’t like Indian crowds. Even less this one, next to Nariman House, where not so long ago there were explosions. Besides, the people seems really angry.” The crowd was getting close to the house shouting “Long life to India, Death to Pakistan”, due to the Pakistani nationality of the terrorist arrested. When they were very close to the house, some shots were heard from inside. All the people that were around the house had run in an incredible stampida that could have been terrible for more than one.
At 15:30h, seven guests are liberated and Sunil’s commando in-charge died in one of the battle against the terrorists. The estimations say that inside the hotel there weres still around 100 guests.
Between 16:45h and 17:15h numerous grenades explosions and multiple shots, the NSG takes the control of the lobby. The fight continues without any stop and violently until 19:00h. According to the NSG, the terrorists had a military-strategic exceptional training, comparable to theirs. They were changing constantly of military tactics and places, and also making the guests burn on fire their own room. When the NSG commando arrives there thinking that there would be the terrorists, this ones were in an another place from where they were shooting them.
At 19:00h, the fight stops for a while, to start again from 21:00h onwards sporadically.
At 22:30h, start again the gunshots. The NSG is trying to corner the two unique terrorists still alive inside the Taj, inside the corner just mentioned, to prepare the final attack.
At 03h, starts the last big offensive. The explosions and gunshots can be constantly heard. Around 6:00h, a NSG high officer confirms that one of the terrorist is dead and the only one remaining, badly injured, is just in the opposite corner of the building.
Around 07:30h, the terrorist cannot walk and move due to the multiple wounds. In spite of it, it is the NSG commando that don’t understand the big resistance of this man.
Finally, at 08:00h, after more than 60 hours from the beginning of the attacks on the Taj, the NSG commandos open fire indiscrimately against the room where is the terrorist, leaving his body unrecognizable.
The days that follow the attacks have submerged Mumbai, first, in sadness; afterwards, in the ire against Pakistan; and, finally, in the anger against their politicians, whom they accused of corruption and incapables of governing. All these feelings could be seen in the rally in remember of the victims, made in Marine Drive on the 30th of November, and the multitude manifestation, on the 3rd of December, made in front of the Hotel Taj and the Gateway of India.
On the 3rd December, one week after the beginning of the attacks, at 18:00h, the same time the manifestation started, a bomb was found in CST. It was inside the tiny luggage room where all the bags abandoned during the attack were put. As Kasab confessed in the interrogatories, all the bombs outside the hotels and in the CST railway station had the function of creating panic while the terrorists were inside the hotels. With each explosions and the following chaos, the terrorists wanted to escape as simple tourist and finally meet in Nariman House, from where they will go all together to the harbour. There, they should take a ship to high sea, where a big boat should be waiting for them to bring them to Pakistan. The operation was “sold” to the youth as a non-suicidal one, oddly, non of the bombs – that should be used as escape route and that had been programmed at the same hour- has ever exploded.
The budget from the NSG assigned to protect 1.200 million people, is 26 million euros only.