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After a 59-hour siege ended with the shooting dead of the last terrorists holed up in Nariman House Jewish centre, the country was united in shock and grief.

On the evening of November 26 2008 I was having a drink in one of Mumbai’s plethora of upmarket bars when I got a call from a journalist friend telling me there had been a bomb at Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station.

I sprinted out of the bar, caught a cab downtown and was one of the first reporters on the scene. The Taj Mahal Palace and Trident-Oberoi hotels and a Jewish centre had been occupied by gunmen.

Grenades blew up those queuing for tickets in the snaking lines.

Fifty-two people were killed and dozens more were injured as the vast ticket hall of the city’s busiest and most historic station – formerly called Victoria Terminus and inspired by St Pancras in London – was ruthlessly turned into a slaughterhouse.

Kasab’s father, Amir Shahban, came from a family of butchers, but after becoming estranged from his parents he ended up in Faridkot hawking fried snacks in the square.

The Kasabs were not cripplingly poor, but when Shahban’s health began to deteriorate after he contracted tuberculosis, he took Ajmal Amir, then 11, out of school and sent him to work the family’s handcart.

Yet when I returned to Mumbai last year to conduct research for an MA in terrorism at King’s College London, it was clear that many questions remained about the life of Kasab.

What had propelled him from a farming village in rural Pakistan via military-style boot camps run by the Islamic terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (Le T) and on to murder in Mumbai?

They moved on to the city of Rawalpindi and, before long, were back working in the sweltering kitchen of a grimy backstreet restaurant, bereft of money, ideas and hope.

Then, in December 2007, a chance encounter with a bearded Muslim preacher late one night at a market stall was to set Kasab and Muzaffar on to the path of jihad.

The figurehead for the country’s collective hatred over 26/11, as it came to be called, was Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving gunman.

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