Mumbai: Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone suriving gunman in the Mumbai terror attack held guilty on Monday, is a school dropout who saw `jihad` as a purpose of his life.
The images of the 22-year-old Pakistani national, ambling cockily in his cargo pants and sneakers, a backpack on his shoulders and an AK-47 gun dangling carelessly from his arm still sents shivers among the survivors of the terror attack.
Kasab, the face of the devastating Mumbai attack in which 166 persons were killed, took part in the bloodiest episode of the 60-hour siege that started on the night of November 26, 2008.
He was one of the two heavily armed gunmen who opened fire and threw hand grenades at the city`s main railway station Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus(CST) in the initial hours
of the carnage killing 52 people and injuring more than 100.
He was among 10 activists of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba who crossed the sea from Karachi to enter Mumbai to wreak havoc on the country’s financial capital and bring the megalopolis to its knees before being caught alive.
Kasab, a small time thief from Pakistan specially recruited and trained by LeT, started seeing `jihad` as a purpose of his life and means to gain respectability in his society. One Faridkot farmer reportedly said that Kasab used to return to the village and talk of "freeing Kashmir".
Kasab has reportedly said he joined the LeT to get weapons training after deciding to embark on a life of crime but there have also been claims that his father Mohammed Amir Iman duped him into doing it for money.
Born in Faridkot village in Dipalpur tehsil of Okara district in Pakistan’s Punjab province in 1987, Kasab belonged to the `Kasai` (butcher) caste. His father ran a food stall in the village and his mother was called Noor.
Third of the five children in the family, Kasab dropped out of school in 2000 because of poverty. He stayed at a shrine and started working as a labourer earning meagre amount
of money in Lahore until 2005. He later fought with his parents and left home with the determination of never returning.
Kasab made friends with small time criminals and slowly gravitated towards armed robbery. It was during this period, when Kasab went to a local market in Rawalpindi to purchase weapons that he met with local LeT activists distributing pamphlets.
Kasab decided there and then to join the LeT and was eventually taken in as a fresh recruit.
After having gone through a minimum standard training (Daura-e-Aam) in how to operate weapons and grenades, Kasab was further shortlisted by the LeT bosses for a more intensive training (Daura-e-Khaas).
Kasab,a foot soldier of LeT by then, was often shown films showcasing twisted tales of atrocities in Kashmir besides speeches of various LeT bosses including chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed. He was also promised that his family would be taken care of by the Group.
He seemed to have excelled in all tasks given to him and was finally selected along with nine others of his `fidayeen` (suicide) group to get a more specialised training in marine
commando tactics and GPS and satellite phone besides other fields.
Even at this time he did not know about the real target. The routes and target were given to him only at a later stage.
They were so heavily doctrined that all the ten knew that they will die but yet did not flinch even for a second as they went about their cold-blooded killings in a ruthless
Kasab had also told investigators that a LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi promised that his family would be financially rewarded for his sacrifice.