Sixty Hours of Terror


Sadanand Date, an additional commissioner of police for central Mumbai, was not supposed to be at Cama. The attacks were taking place out of his jurisdiction. But he was asked to go to CST and headed to the hospital as soon as he heard the gunmen had moved on, stopping on the way at a police station to get a carbine issued. It was his team that penetrated the hospital to face heavy fire and grenades from Kasab and Ismail, who they had isolated on the sixth floor. At 11:19 he made his first call to control for backup. Six more calls were made, with no response. The seventh, at 11:28, went through moments after a grenade blast critically injured two men; Date’s right eye was blinded by shrapnel. “Central Region walkie-talkie sends out an SOS: Heavy firing. We are all injured. Need help. Please send reinforcements.” Date traded fire with the gunmen until midnight. He was hit again, this time by a bullet to his left leg. Khan and Kasab decided to abandon their position. They released a hostage to provide cover, lobbed another grenade, and rushed toward the exit. In their hurry, Kasab dropped his rucksack, which contained several magazines and the satellite phone, but they had made it outside. The gunmen fled through the front entrance and headed north, under cover of darkness, past the stone archways of St. Xavier’s College and down an alley. They ducked into some bushes when they saw the headlights of a Qualis police SUV on patrol coming their way.

Part II of Jason Motlagh’s definitive narrative of the Bombay attacks at VQR here.