New Delhi: It has been a day since the news of Abu Jundal’s arrest came to light. As security agencies interrogate him and seek more details about the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, it is being claimed that Abu Jundal alias Sayeed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Hamza (the man has at least 10 aliases) might prove to be a bigger catch than Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone Mumbai attack terrorist caught alive.
But why? While Kasab was only a ‘foot soldier’ in the Mumbai attacks conspiracy, Jundal is someone who was in close contact with the masterminds. He was in fact a link between the conspirators and those who executed the plan.
As per security agencies, he is one of the six handlers who guided the 10 terrorists during the Mumbai attacks from November 26-29, 2008. In fact, Jundal was a Hindi tutor to the 10 ultras – a language they needed to learn and prove they were Indian Muslims and not Pakistanis, in case they were caught.
According to Kasab, the voice in the conversations intercepted by Indian intelligence agencies during the attack is of Jundal, who was heard using Hindi words like prashasan (government), udharan (example), yuvak (youth).
He was heard telling the terrorists to hide their identity and identify themselves from the Deccan Mujahideen hailing from Toli Chowk in Hyderabad.
Jundal had also told the Lashkar ultras attacking Nariman House to convey to the media that the strike was just a trailer — ‘asal film baaki hai’.
Jundal has already confessed to playing a key role in the Mumbai attacks, while disclosing that Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed was present in the Karachi control room when the 26/11 attacks took place. Jundal said he too was in the Karachi control room and guided the terrorists from there.
Jundal also disclosed that he worked in close tandem with terror mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi of the LeT. In fact, he is believed to have told investigators that Lakhvi has been holding regular terror meetings in the Pakistani jail where he is kept.
Lakhvi was arrested by Pakistan following the 26/11 attacks amidst unprecedented pressure by India and the US. However, the 26/11 trial in Pakistan has not moved an inch, getting postponed every time.
While working under the guidance of Hafiz Saeed, Jundal claimed to have trained Kasab. As per sources, he even travelled upto the Indian border in the same boat in which the 10 Mumbai attackers came from the Karachi port.
Pak under pressure
All these revelations have already put Pakistan in a situation wherein it would have to come clean on its role in the 26/11 attacks. Pakistan has always claimed that strikes were carried out by ‘non-state actors’ who operated from its soil.
An official reaction has already come, assuring cooperation against terror. The Spokesperson of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi said in a statement: "Pakistan has been at the forefront in the campaign against terror. As agreed at the highest level between Pakistan and India, terrorism is a common concern and counter-terrorism cooperation is in the mutual interest of both countries. Pakistan has renewed its offer of cooperation in this domain."
Jundal’s name (as Abu Hamza) also figures at least six times in the NIA’s interrogation report of David Coleman Headley, another 26/11 mastermind. The NIA had interrogated Headley, who is currently in US custody, over seven days in 2010.
Jundal, who was also a member of the Indian Mujahideen, played a key role in several other plots too, including in Gujarat, the Jama Masjid attack in Delhi, the Chinnaswamy Stadium blast in Bangalore and Pune’s German Bakery blast. He was also involved in the July 11, 2006 Mumbai train blasts.
Hailing from Maharashtra’s Beed district, Jundal was also on security agencies’ radar in connection with the Aurangabad arms haul case.
He underwent training at the Indian Technical Institute in Beed. However, indoctrination by the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) after the 2002 Gujarat riots turned him into a terror monster from a modest wireman.
According to investigators, Jundal was also handling terror operations in India. He is believed to have trained eight boys from Marathwada and Vidharba region in Maharashtra for terror attacks.
The Indian agencies believe Jundal’s interrogation will help understand the current structure, reach and plans of Pakistan-based terror groups. They are also looking to find out the reason behind his presence in Saudi Arabia for the past several months.