During the course of the investigation into the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, former Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria made Ajmal Kasab — the only Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist caught alive — say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” repeatedly.
Rakesh Maria revealed this in his memoir, titled “Let Me Say It Now”, which is set to be launched soon. The book is a personal account of the celebrated police officer who investigated the country’s most high-profile terror probe while serving as an IPS officer.
In his memoir, Rakesh Maria details how Ajmal Kasab was taken to the morgue when he tried explaining away the terror attack — which resulted in over 160 deaths — as his contribution to the cause of “jihad”. As the terrorist almost vomited upon seeing the bodies of his dead comrades, the police officer kept asking whether he still felt if his mission was justified.
Rakesh Maria says that although Ajmal Kasab seemed to lose his conviction at some point in time, he never really apologised for his deeds. The book also narrates how the police officer made him say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” while bringing the terrorist back from the morgue.
An excerpt from “Let Me Say It Now”:
The convoy came to the Metro junction, the stretch around which this monster had unleashed death just a few days ago, killing my dear colleagues and innocent fellow citizens. I don’t know what came over me again. I stopped the convoy and got out of my car. I made them take Kasab out. It must have been around 4:30 in the morning. The winter night was chilly and the temples and mosques had still not woken up to the gods.
‘Bend down and touch the ground with your forehead,’ I ordered Kasab. Spooked, he meekly followed my instructions.
‘Now say: Bharat Mata Ki Jai (Hail Mother India),’ I commanded.
‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai!’ said Kasab. Not satisfied with just once, I made him repeat it twice.
In his memoir, Rakesh Maria also says that Ajmal Kasab would have died a Bengaluru resident named “Samir Dinesh Chaudhari” with a “red threat tied around his wrist” if the terrorists had succeeded in their plan to project the attack as an act of “Hindu terror”.
The claim has sparked a political row, with the ruling BJP accusing the Congress of “plotting a conspiracy” to project “Hindu terror”.