2008 Mumbai Attacks: Author of book on 26/11 discusses significance of his book being adapted into a ZEE5 series

Simran Singh

Nov 26, 2019 09:59:22 IST

One of the biggest terror attacks, the 2008 Mumbai invasion shocked the globe eleven years ago. It was the first attack where foreigners had been deliberately targeted, to break India’s relations with international countries.  Sandeep Unnithan, an editor-author’s bestseller Black Tornado: The Three Sieges of Mumbai 26/11 is being adapted into a web series called The Siege: 26-11 by ZEE5 and Contiloe Productions. While speaking to Firstpost, he shares his journey of writing the book, and reveals interesting trivia about the unfortunate attack.

 2008 Mumbai Attacks: Author of book on 26/11 discusses significance of his book being adapted into a ZEE5 series

Part of the cover of Sandeep Unnithan's bestseller Black Tornado: The Three Sieges of Mumbai 26/11

26/11 was a page out of the book of Palestine's attack on Israel in 1975

“I see these attacks were a kind of a watershed. I have seen all the attacks unfold in Mumbai from 1993 to 2006 train bombings. I have seen evidence of that. Then there are 26/11 attacks. The other aspect was that it adapted aspects of other terrorist attacks that had been carried out previously. If you see the book, it opens in Israel, Tel Aviv in 1975. The Palestinian terrorists conducted a similar attack on Tel Aviv. It's almost a dozen terrorists coming in a rubber boat. They come on the beach there. And they're looking for one target to attack and take hostages but they stumble into this hotel called the Savoy, and they go into a hotel and take the hostages, and Israeli special forces storm the hotel, and the commanding officer of that unit is killed with all the terrorists. They corner and blow themselves up. And I think very few people survived. It was called the Savoy Hotel attack. So that is one modus operandi."

He continued, “Many years later, after 1993 World Trade Centre Bombings, you had Landmark bomb plot in the United States, which was Al Qaeda’s failed attempt to attack multiple targets. And then, of course in 1993 itself, after the Mumbai blast, there was a phase two attack. If you remember all the AK 47s and the grenades, pistols that came into the city. Now why those assault rifles brought in? They sent in because there was a phase two of that plan. The first phase was to carry out serial attacks on the city, all over with 13 blasts. There were more blasts but fortunately, the bombs didn’t go off. The second phase was training the Indian youth. They've been taken to Pakistan via Dubai. They were trained to handle weapons, fire AK-47, and throw grenades. And this would be phase two of the plan, that soon after the blast, they will hit several targets in Mumbai. So this is again, not very well documented, but if you read Hussain Zaidi’s Black Friday, it's there in detail that all these youth, who were taken, were trained, and they were brought back to attack the city. Now, as it happens, much to our relief, most of them panicked, they drop their weapons, and ran. Now I maintain that how much ever you brainwash an Indian, you can probably convince them to plant a bomb and run away, but you cannot convince them to pick up an assault rifle and mow down his fellow citizens, the way they did in 26/11. So on 26/11, they reactivated these things. It's a mishmash of all these previous modus operandi, the unfinished 1993 plan, the landmarks plot of the United States, and you have this, the modus operandi from Savoy hotel thing”.

26/11 was an attack orchestrated by Pakistani civilians under the guise of organised terrorism

“It's as simple as that. It's a deep state operation. And the only reason that they put the LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) tag was to give deniability to the Pakistan state. If you remember, the youth who had been infiltrated here would have fake ID cards of a college in Hyderabad, with Hindu names, mainly to confuse everyone. The idea was all 10 of them to be killed. They would all die fighting, including Kasab. And when their bodies are recovered, they will get these I-cards from the bodies which will identify them as Indians."

“If you also remember, there is an intercept of a conversation between the terrorist in Nariman House and the negotiators, where one of them says that we are from Hyderabad, India. And this is revenge for what you have done to Indian Muslims. And also there's a very elaborate deception plan to convince India that it's been attacked by Indians, and not by the Pakistanis. So the whole game was given up when Kasab was captured alive."

Indian government's incompetence after 26/11

“The other reason for writing this was the fact that I think that the government of the day did not order a major inquiry. They confined their inquiry up to state-level itself and you had a report of former bureaucrats in Mumbai, and the blame for this were pinned on the Mumbai police. I feared that the government was trying to cover it up. So it was imperative that I put it down in a book, and put it out there so that people could be aware of what happened."

“At least half a dozen countries have come in, personally visited the sites to see what they could learn from this, you know, and they can understand that because they're very security-conscious, unlike us. We are more relaxed when it comes to security. But for them, it's a matter of survival. So they've learned very quickly, they change their tactics, they adapt equipment, training, all of those things. And many of them said, ‘Look, you know, it would take us many, many days to do this, around five to six days as compared to what you guys achieved in two-and-a-half days’. So there are different ways of looking at it."

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Updated Date: Nov 26, 2019 11:21:31 IST