Earlier this week, India observed the 11th anniversary of the Mumbai 26/11 attacks. It was undoubtedly one of the most horrific events that India has witnessed.

Watching the attack unfold, any child would have said that this was textbook Pakistan. The grit, hatred and manner with which the 10 jihadis undertook the attack made it clear that they were highly trained operatives from Pakistan.

During a rally in April 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that instead of giving Pakistan a befitting reply to the 26/11 attack, the Congress decided to affix the word terror with Hindu. The Congress conspired to change the entire discourse of the probe.

A manufactured conspiracy:

It was clear that there was a deliberate attempt to manufacture a conspiracy by trying to blame the attack on the Hindus. There were arguments that some of the terrorists were sporting saffron bands on their hands and hence they may have been Hindus. Anyone who has followed terror closely would be aware of the fact that terrorists are told to deliberately divert the attention of investigators.

Ajmal Kasab, too, claimed during his interrogation that they were advised by their handlers to sport saffron bands so that the blame would not be on Pakistan. For someone to claim that it was the handiwork of Hindus just because they were sporting saffron bands, sounds silly and childish. It would also be interesting to note that David Headley in his confession said that it was he who purchased the saffron bands for the attackers.

Further, it was said that the then ATS chief Hemant Karkare was targeted because he had exposed a Hindu angle in the Malegaon blast case. Every inquiry disproved this theory and it has become clear that Karkare, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar fell to the bullets of the terrorists from Pakistan.

The Congress which has been accused of not acting enough against Pakistan was further embarrassed by its leader, Digvijaya Singh. Not only did he make wild allegations against the Hindu leaders, but took part in the launch of the book, “RSS ki Saazish-26/11.

AR Antulay of the Congress went on to say that there is more than what meets the eye and there should be a probe into the killing of Hemant Karkare. Singh said that Karkare had told him hours before the strike that he feared for his safety from Hindu extremists.

Group editor of Roznama Rashtriya Sahara, Aziz Burney went a step ahead and blamed the CIA, Mossad, Narendra Modi and RSS for the attack.

To top it all, the former Inspector General of Police, SM Mushrif wrote a book titled,” Who killed Karkare? The real face of terrorism in India.” While he blamed the overall attack on the Pakistanis, he had a different take on the killing of Karkare. He said that the lack of intelligence led to the attack and some right-wing groups took advantage of the same and killed Karkare. Knowing fully well that Karkare would come on to the road to battle the terrorists, the right-wing groups took advantage. They synchronised the attack to perfection and killed him, he had also said.

The Kasab, Headley files and thank you Tukaram Omble:

Had it not been for the valiant efforts of Tukarram Omble, we would have never got Ajmal Kasab alive. He took nearly 40 bullets in his chest to capture Kasab alive, before he laid down his own life.

It was clear that Mumbai Police at the start were shooting in the dark and the entire episode had become all too overwhelming to them.

However, the case began to take shape with the interrogation of Kasab. He began his interrogation by saying, “I am Ajmal Kasab, I am from Pakistan and I am part of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. All through he spoke about the involvement of the Pakistanis in the attack. Several times he refers to Hafiz Saeed as ‘chacha’ in his investigation.

Kasab also speaks about Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and several others in the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. He further refers to the maritime training given by former officers of the Pakistan military.

When the David Headley angle cropped up, the investigations went up to another level. Headley detailed the role of the Pakistan establishment and spoke about his handler, Said Mir. This mystery man Mir is believed to be part of the ISI, who was later moved to the Lashkar-e-Taiba to oversee the 26/11 attack.

The rumblings within the Lashkar-e-Taiba:

There is something that very few know about the origins of the 26/11 attack. It was originally planned by Ilyas Kashmiri, the chiefs of the Al-Qaeda’s 313 Brigade. He had planned several attacks in India and hitting Mumbai was part of it.

Kashmiri had planned a major operation for the eradication of India of Ghazb-e-Hind and had even begun training 10 jihadis for the operation. During his meeting with Headley, he had discussed the same. The entire operation was to begin in India.

It was around that time that there was a lot of unease within the Lashkar. Several cadres of the outfit were upset with the top leadership as well as the ISI as they felt that they were giving away too much to the Americans. They felt that Pakistan was mum about the US operations in Afghanistan as a result of which their brothers within the Taliban were dying.

Many had started to revolt against the leadership and said that they wanted to quit the outfit and go fight alongside their brothers in Afghanistan.

This was a panic situation for Saeed and the ISI. The ISI and Pakistan army could not afford to let the Lashkar-e-Taiba collapse as it was their most trusted proxies. At any cost the ISI wanted a diversion for the cadres of the outfit. They felt that it would be best to hit a big Indian target, and this would divert the attention of the cadres and keep them happy. At any cost the ISI did not want the Lashkar cadres breaking away and leaving for Afghanistan.

The ISI got wind that Ilyas Kashmiri was planning a large-scale attack in India. The ISI wanted no interference by the Al-Qaeda in India as it wanted only the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba to focus on India. The ISI then approached Kashmiri, who originally hails from Kotli in Pakistan. Kashmiri was easy for the ISI to manoeuvre since he was once part of the Special Services Group of the Pakistan army.

It was agreed that Kashmir would stay away from India and the attack he had been planning would be staged by the Lashkar-e-Taiba.