Abu Jundal: Mumbai Attacks & India’s Endless Revisionism
On November 27, 2008, as gunfire raged on in Mumbai and the smell of cordite lingered in the air, the authorities and media anchors wasted no time in pointing the finger at Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) and the Lashkar e Taiba, a Kashmiri militant group fighting for Kashmir’s freedom from Indian occupation.
Even as the gunpowder flared the nostrils in Colaba, conclusions were drawn without a single shred of evidence, knives were sharpened, tongues set loose with wild threats; fuming over weird television montages describing Pakistan’s planned destruction-act, using computer graphics, and the signal was given to the authorities to start collecting evidence that would tie in nicely with the official script blaming Pakistani state actors and intelligence agencies, allegedly working hand in glove with the Kashmiri Mujahedeen outfit.
After an initial investigation, the Indian authorities came up with a list of alleged perpetrators and registered cases against them in India. Multiple dossiers were sent to Pakistan containing names of the people accused by the Indian authorities, only to be rejected by the Pakistani courts as well as the government, as being ‘vague and insufficient’. The Indian authorities still insist that the dossiers are rock solid, and many heads of states of Western countries who have visited India in the months and years following the November 2008 attacks have joined in the chorus to condemn and pressurize Pakistan to give in to Indian demands, even as the investigations continued both in India and in Pakistan.
The first major blow to the Indian investigations came with the acquittal of two out of the three accused, present in the case – namely Faheem Ansari of Mumbai and Sabahuddin of Bihar. The credibility of the investigation was further dented when the High Court upheld the judgement that stated that neither Faheem drew any maps of Mumbai nor did Sabahuddin convey them to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi or anyone else.
At the same time, an American named David Colemen Headley was sensationally thrown into the forefront of the investigations after being arrested at Philadalphia International Airport, USA.
Headley pleaded guilty and confessed his role in many terrorism activities including the Mumbai attacks. His arrest and confession came as another massive blow to the credibilty of the Indian investigation, as Headleys’ name and role had been absent from and alien to the Indian investigation. Sheepishly and to hide their embarassment, the Indians first claimed of playing some sort of a role in Headley’s arrest, and then begged the US authorities for access to Headley in order to interview him.
India’s shame didn’t end when the American’s agreed and allowed the Indian investigators access to Headley. New cases were registered in India, new ‘masterminds’ were named and new lines were added to the script.
The US ‘bounty’ offered for Hafiz Saeed, head of one of Pakistan’s largest charities the Jama’at-ud-Dawah, which the American’s clarified later as being offered for court-admissible evidence linking Hafiz Saeed to the Mumbai attacks, ripped the largest hole in the Indian investigation, when it was admitted that the evidences gathered so far do not stand court scrutiny.
And now they have a new name, a new role and a new mastermind. Abu Jandal, who, we are told, is an Indian citizen arrested and extradited from Saudi Arabia and has for the first time forced the Indian authorities to admit that there could be homegrown support to the ‘Pakistani’ terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November 2008.
Abu Jandal (aka. Zabihuddin Ansari), we are told, was present in the 26/11 ‘control room’ in Karachi while the attacks took place, side by side with officers from the ISI. Indian authorities also say he played a vital role in the training of the 10 terrorists who stormed Mumbai.
No cases had been registered against Zabihuddin Ansari in any country. Following his arrest, new names and new ‘masterminds’ will no doubt be brought forward, and India would have to register new cases and invent new roles. One wonders how many ‘masterminds’ are yet to come and when will this charade stop, and when, or if rather, we will ever find out what really went on that unfortunate night; who benefitted most from it; what gains were made and by whom.