IN THE end, the terror alerts stayed on paper. The men who walked ashore in South Mumbai’s posh Gateway of India area in dark clothes, need not have worried. There was little about them — trained as one of them now reveals to wage hightech urban jehad and navigate the high seas — that gave away any sign of the high-risk task they were an hour away from executing.
They had already set their plan into motion when they mercilessly killed Amar Sinh Solanki, the captain of Al Kuber, a fishing trawler they had used to complete the second leg of their journey which began on November 24, 48 hours before they drifted ashore on an inflatable speedboat called Gemini. The journey can be pieced through the account of Kasav, the class four dropout from Pakistan’s Punjab; the short, young face captured by CCTV cameras. Kasav and nine others — who were subsequently to be killed — sailed from Azizabad in Karachi on a small ship and soon hopped on to Al Husseini, a Pakistani vessel stationed about 200 nautical miles from the port of Karachi. Kuber was the next vessel they hopped on to, to close in on Mumbai; the terror destination they had been trained to attack. En route, four of Solanki’s colleagues were killed and thrown into the deep circling waters of the Arabian Sea. Whether their bodies will ever be found is only a matter of small detail to the investigators.
Solanki still had use for Kasav and his men and they blindfolded him, tied his legs and ruthlessly slit his throat only after they could make out the Mumbai skyline with its skyscrapers in the distance.