Ajmal Kasab was shooting people as if playing video game: 26/11 witness recalls horror
Babloo Kumar Deepak remembers Lashar-e-Taiba operative Ajmal Kasab “looked like a college boy playing video games while firing on the passengers.” Deepak, 42, was the railway announcer at the outstation terminus at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and one of the eyewitnesses to the gruesome terrorist attack on the station that left more than 50 dead. Stationed on the first floor, near the entry to CSMT, Deepak saw the entire attack and was the first railway personnel to inform the railway control room of the attack.
On November 26, 2008, Deepak started his duty at 7am as announcer at Byculla railway station. Due to a staff crunch, he was also assigned CSMT and so when his shift at Byculla ended at 3pm, he headed to CSMT.
“Hussainsagar Express, operating between Mumbai and Hyderabad, had just left the station at 9.30pm. Indrayani Express, between Mumbai and Pune, had just arrived and I heard a loud blast from platform number 13. After which there was a complete chaos on the outstation platforms,” he said, remembering that night. “I saw people falling in front of me and collapsing. Kasab was laughing and saying things while he was shooting.”
Deepak made announcements in which passengers were asked to stay away from platform 13. “I started announcing and asking people to move from the platform number 13 as the blast had occurred there. There was utter chaos among passengers and they started rushing everywhere immediately,” he said.
Deepak stayed on at the station for another 27 hours and helped with rescue efforts, like moving the injured to St. George Hospital. “The one thing I remember very clearly was that the terrorists were firing and the porters were taking the injured to the hospital risking their lives,” he said. “I recall the incident every day and Kasab’s face is still fresh in my memory,” said Deepak who was awarded a bravery award by Central Railway and is currently a junior clerk at Byculla Railway Hospital.
The shadow of the attacks still looms large over him. “Loud noise still terrifies me. The sound of crackers bursting scares me as it brings back the memories of the terror attack,” said Deepak.