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Indian Investigators Reveal Details Culled From Arrested Gunman

Video
India has demanded that Islamabad hand over dozens of suspected terrorists believed to be living in Pakistan, including India's most-wanted man. Video by AP

"He went through different stages of training. At first, it was the recitation of the Koran and lectures about jihad. He was being prepared mentally. Then small-weapons training," Bharti said in an interview. "Then came the hard physical, marine training. At first, Kasab used to vomit. They were taught how to survive at sea, on ground, and how to control thirst and hunger. From a batch of about 25, 10 were handpicked for the Mumbai mission."

Bharti said Kasab spoke in Punjabi and a little bit of Urdu during the interrogation, and uttered words in English only when mentioning the names of weapons.

He said Kasab, 22, is a little more than 5-foot-3 and has "a muscular, well-trained body." Kasab is being kept in solitary confinement, Bharti said, and he is "very calm but has a blank, cold stare all the time." Bharti also said Kasab's story has remained consistent during several days and nights of interrogation by different officers.

It was not clear under what conditions Kasab was being questioned and whether any details of his statement had been coerced. When asked how interrogators had broken Kasab's resistance to talk, Bharti said, "We have our techniques."

When he was arrested, police retrieved from his bulky, blue backpack one AK-47, a pistol, magazines, half a dozen hand grenades, raisins, cashews and the equivalent of a little more than $110. Police said they are cross-checking Kasab's statement with the data found in the cellphones and the satellite phone they recovered.

Police say Kasab does not know much about the top-level planners. But he allegedly has confessed to being briefed once by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the parent organization of Lashkar-i-Taiba.

"It was apparently towards the end. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed came and had an interaction with the men. He told them that this was good for the community and the religion, and that they were blessed to be martyrs," Bharti said, paraphrasing from an interrogation file.

The 10 gunmen reportedly were briefed about the Mumbai operation three months ago and were shown video footage and satellite images of the targeted sites.

"It is not proven by investigation that they have been here before on a reconnaissance. It appears this is their first time," said Gafoor, the police chief. "I do not think they knew the hotel inside out."

Mumbai police recently arrested several Indian Muslims on suspicion of involvement in a string of bombings that have rocked Indian cities in the past six months. The men, police said, belonged to a homegrown group called the Indian Mujaheddin.

Bharti said Kasab was very different from the members of the Indian Mujaheddin.

"Kasab is semiliterate and comes from a poor background. The Indian accused are intellectually sophisticated, computer-savvy," he said. "But Kasab is physically much stronger."

Police officials say they have had one round of talks with the FBI team that arrived in Mumbai late Monday. But the team has not been given access to Kasab.


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