Forty-nine-year-old Mangesh Naik, a head constable now attached with Malad police station, was among the first persons to pin down Mohamed Ajmal Amir Kasab after assistant sub-inspector Tukaram Ombale threw himself on the LeT terrorist.
Naik who was then a police constable attached to DB Marg police station has a distinct memory of the fateful night. “Even today, I get goose bumps when I think about that night,” said Naik. Naik feels that the blood of his colleagues has been accounted for with Kasab’s hanging.
Naik, who had received a President’s gallantry award for his contribution in the 26/11 anti-terrorist operation, recollected the fateful night on Wednesday. He said that after the news spread that the city was under a siege, the police started deploying nakabandis at various points in south Mumbai.
Naik, along with about seven other colleagues including Ombale, was posted at a nakabandi on the northbound stretch of Marine Drive, close to Girgaum Chowpatty.
“It was a double barricaded nakabandi. We were checking the bonnet and trunk of every vehicle that passed by. Around 12.15 am, a Skoda sedan numbered MH 02 HP 1276 came speeding towards us. Two men were seated inside. They saw the nakabandi and applied urgent brakes. The sedan stopped at least 15 feet before the nakabandi, but the head lights remained on” he said.
Naik said that they yelled at the car in Marathi and Hindi to put the lights off. In response, the driver tried to take a hasty U-turn. The wiper of the car started moving and the screen shower went on. Probably they lacked knowledge of the car and since the road was not broad enough for the U-turn, the driver tried to reverse the vehicle when the seven policemen marched towards the vehicle. While three stood on the left side, four stood on the right side of the vehicle.
“They again tried to take an U-turn when one of the officers on the right side saw the barrel of an AK47 between the driver’s legs. The officer yelled ‘Arre yeh wohi log hai’ and before we knew, the driver started firing at the policemen on his side. He was gunned down and we later learnt that he was Abu Ismail,” he said.
Naik further stated that after Ismail opened fire, the pillion passenger, Kasab also fished out an AK. Ombale grabbed Kasab by the collar and tried to pull him out of the car. Kasab got out and raised his hands, pretending that he had surrendered. And just then, he grabbed the AK and started firing.
“Ombale held on to the barrel of the AK47 and literally jumped on Kasab. Kasab fired six rounds into him and then both of them fell to the floor when I pinned him to the ground while my colleague snatched the AK47 from him. Another colleague tried to revive Ombale, however to no avail,” he said.
“We all knew that Ombale had died. And that several others had been killed too. We knew that this man who we had caught alive was responsible for those deaths. It was a collective fury that each of us standing there felt and then we started kicking Kasab, beating him with fists and blows until a senior officer asked us to stop. He was unconscious,” he added.
Naik said that they then took Omble to Harikisandas hospital at Girgaum while Ismail and Kasab were taken to Nair hospital. “Omble’s blood has gotten justice today. I am very happy,” he said.