On June 20, 2009, Ajmal Kasab, who had earlier pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the 86 charges against him, took a sudden U-turn in the middle of the court proceedings and began confessing his version of the truth. “I think I am innocent,” he said. “I wanted to confess, but didn’t since Pakistan wasn’t owning me. Now I’ve learned that Pakistan’s agreed to my being a Pakistani and is ready to prosecute the offenders. I’m voluntarily confessing to the charges without any external source.” Toral Varia-Deshpande was in court during Kasab’s impromptu confession. Though this is not the confession recorded before the magistrate and admitted as court evidence, it was on similar lines.
I had seen mujahids in the market yesterday and (told my friend Muzaffar) that they would give us training. He agreed. We tried to search for them. I knew what mujahids looked like—long-haired, bearded. We were told the mujahideen office was in the sixth gali in Raza Bazaar. We went there and said we had come for jehad. Someone took down our details, including our residential address, and asked us to come the next morning, with our clothes and bag.
Next morning, Muzaffar and I returned. Three more people inquired about our antecedents and took down our details. Then they wrote out an address on a chit—Markaz-e-Toiba, Muridke—and handed it to a person sitting in the office. Money too was given. We were told to board a bus to Lahore which would reach us to Muridke after Bakr-Id.
At Markaz-e-Toiba, we stood outside a big wooden gate. The guard there asked us the purpose of our visit. The guy with us showed him the chit, and we were allowed inside. There were two rooms made of fibre. A person called Abu Fahad Ullah took down our details and asked us to join some other boys. Mufti Saeed and Fahad Ullah would give us lessons in Quran and Hadees. After seven days, we wouldn’t see Muzaffar and some other boys. After 21 days, I was sent to Mansehra by bus and asked to go to the Marqaz-e-dawa-ul-Irshad. At Mansehra, my details were checked again. There were fibre rooms. I was told to go and sit with other boys and have lunch. In the evening, a van came and took 21 of us to a hilly area for training. There were exercises, and training in operating guns and pistols, Quran. This 21-day training was ‘Daura-e-aam’, after which I was told I needed to go for ‘Daura-e-khas’. Accordingly, I was detained and asked to involve myself in the day-to-day affairs of the camp. I was there for three months. We had three ustads—Abu Anas, Abu Bashir and Abu Abdur Rehman. Abdur Rehman asked me to bring my ID card from my district and procure another from Okara. I was asked to go to an address in Model Town in Okara. When I reached there and said I had come for Daura-e-khas, they took down my address and asked me to go to Qasai Nallah in Muzaffarabad. Here, I was physically checked at a chowki. I showed them the chit given to me and was directed to “Saeed bhai ke daftar”. There were two rooms, an office in one. Repeating that I had come for Daura-e-khas, I was given a form, which I filled in Urdu. I was asked to go to another room where other boys were waiting. Next morning, we were taken to the hills. After walking through the mountains for three hours, we reached a training camp where Maksad Aqsa and Abu Maviya were our ustads. Maviya trained us for three months in wielding rocket-launchers, grenades, AK-47s, pistols, mortars, etc.
Thereafter, I was sent home to Faridkot and asked to come back to Saeed bhai’s office after a week. After 10-12 days, Abu Hamza, Abu Kahfa and Saeed bhai came there for selection and chose 15 of us. We knew we had to go to Kashmir. We were taken to a bus stop in Muzaffarabad at night and boarded a bus to Muridke. Abu Kahfa was with us. This place was different from the earlier one in Muridke. Abu Imran taught us how to swim in a pond here. A month later, we were taken to Karachi, and then to the seashore, where we did marine training for 4-5 days. We were kept in a secure house in Karachi. Then we were brought back to Muzaffarabad. Abu Hamza met us here. We were seven boys left (from the original 15). Six had been sent to Kashmir earlier, two had run away, and three others had joined, making us 10. We would be called separately into the room. Hamza would show Ismail and me movies and pictures of CST 2-3 times on a laptop. Abu Jundal taught us Hindi. No one knew where we’d be deployed. We were taken to a forest again and asked to fire rounds in the training camp. Then we were back at Muzaffarabad. Two days later, we were given trousers and T-shirts. Our photos were taken for I-cards. On the 18th day of roza, we were brought to Karachi, given small kits and asked to note the time. We were also given mobiles, told to pull out the batteries and write our names on the label. Hamza came here and asked us to stay for some days, and stay in the room. We were also warned not to disobey him. We stayed for about a month and a half, brought out only for training in operating the inflatable boat. By the 22nd day, Abu Kahfa took three of us to a creekhouse (and told us), “Yeh ammunition apne bag mein bhar lo.” Bags were transported beforehand to Al Hussaini. We were taken to the port and boarded the ship. We started our journey towards India.
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