“This is gonna be worse than it seems.” Mr. Kulkarni loosened his tie and snapped the file he was going through in his office, one of the most secured places in India, RAW headquarters. Kulkarni a Joint Secretary of RAW moved uncomfortably on his chair, sitting across him was Mr. Sinha, a senior field officer.

“Is it worse than whatever we have seen in past ten years…?” The creases on Kulkarni’s forehead made it evident for Sinha to worry. Kulkarni was a man of steel running to the core of his bones. No threats could ever shake him off easily but if he seemed worried then it’s something big with a causality count higher than the country had ever witnessed.

“Who is the key player…?” Sinha holding his breath asked, his finger crossed under the table hoping not to hear the name that had rattled the world.

“It’s Abu Hamza.” Kulkarni crushed the butt of his smoke in the ashtray and leaned back with a heavy sigh.

“Good Great Lord…” Sinha was aghast on hearing just the name.

Abu Hamza, one of the most dreaded terrorist leaders from Afghanistan and the second most wanted man on the earth by Interpol. Abu is the right hand of the world’s most dreadful terrorists and the most wanted man across the globe, Suleman Ul Hafiz.

Lighting another cigarette, Kulkarni fed the details to Sinha.

“We have received confirmed intel that Abu Hamza had left Afghanistan and he is heading to India. Abu is gonna strike hard this time.” Kulkarni blew a cloud of smoke above and shut his eyes tightly to get rid of this stress that had begun to hover over him like a dark black cloud.

“How bad is it on scale of one to ten…?” Sinha questioned only when he couldn’t resist the urge and tried to grasp every word that Kulkarni was about to share with him.

“Our best and deepest asset in Afghanistan, ROY, had sent a message that Abu is planning something worse than 26/11 and probably in multiple metro cities. I can bet on every word of Roy’s message.” Kulkarni took another long drag and looked straight into Sinha’s eyes.

Before Sinha could ask further questions which he won’t as per his position in the system, Kulkarni added more.

“We don’t have any details regarding the plan of Abu and time is ticking…”

Kulkarni looked at the clock on the wall and stabbing his smoke spoke.

“Time to get ready for the meeting.” Kulkarni along with Sinha walked out of his office, heading to the meeting Venue.

It was a closed door meeting with the Prime Minister, the Defence Secretary, and the Army General. Kulkarni led the meet with his file and all the details he had gathered.

The air in the room was tense like never before. Everyone was lost in their thoughts to tackle the situation with PM as the most worried person in the room.

“Do we have any way to confirm the whereabouts of Abu Hamza like when he will enter Indian territory and from which border he is planning to enter….” PM asked the people inside the room to which everyone was clueless. Clearing his throat, the Army General broke the silence.

“Sir, my best guess is that Abu will come to Kashmir as he has many sources there. A team that he’ll need to carry out his mission will come only after he sends the message.”

“What kind of people would be in his team?” PM shifts his gaze to the General now.

“Our intel says that it would be something like 26/11 and if that is true, his team will have fedayeen with two or three computer geeks.” General replied and sipped some water to swallow the big lump formed in his throat that nearly blocked his windpipe.

“Sir, the terror launch pads in our neighbouring country would be the source of Fedayeen and the tech guys must be travelling with Abu from all the way to Afghanistan.” Kulkarni replied with his best possible guess.

“Are you sure about it…?” PM leaned forward and looked at Kulkarni who sat opposite the PM.

“As of now sir, it is our best possible guess, as we don’t have any confirmation about the group travelling with Abu. Our asset could not get the details regarding it with obvious fear of dire consequences.” Kulkarni replied and released his long held breath.

“What should be our next step then?” PM asked looking at the Defence secretary and the Army General.

“Sir, we should tighten up our border securities, especially near Kashmir region and we should order I.B and RAW to gather more intel on ground to know the movement of Abu Hamza.” The defence secretary replied this time.

“Moreover sir, we should prepare a task force that will have selected commandos from all the groups that will rip apart Abu Hamza and his troop once we have their location.”

“OK, that sounds like a good plan.” PM nodded at the suggestions and orders for the special task force. Along with it, he ordered the I.B. and RAW chiefs to rigorously gather more intel on Abu Hamza and his plan.

Next day, early in the morning, the Army General called a meeting and assigned the compilation of commands for the task force. Colonel Kuldeep Singh, the best in the force, was made in charge of the mission with Major Avinash Batra as second in command.

This duo of colonel and major had an appreciable record of carrying out many covert operations and hunting down those bad guys that could have possibly harmed the nation.

With a high priority and urgency, Kuldeep Singh and Avinash Batra had handpicked the finest of the men for their mission and a rigorous training exercise began for the selected troop of most ferociously and deadly soldiers at a secluded spot that had been reserved for such purposes. None of the soldiers had been briefed about the mission and they were denied contact with their family, friends, and even the fellow officers.

“What do you think, Major?” Kuldeep Singh asked, sipping some coffee from his metal mug and without taking his eyes off the boys on the training ground.

“Sir, with whatever intel we have, our chances to nail Abu Hamza are very thin. Till we know more about his entry point and further plans, we are just fighting the battle with blind folds on.” Avinash lit his smoke and took a long drag.

“Something what I too feel… Without any whereabouts of Hamza, all I can see is chaos accompanied with bloodbath, building debris and rummages with bodies strewn turning this paradise into living hell.” The heavy sigh of Colonel was enough to reveal the fears he hid.

Moments of tense silence passed, Major was still battling over the thoughts which could be the key to crack the situation but he was not sure of it.

“Anything on your mind Major…?” Colonel asked. Major took the final drag before crushing the cigarette butt under his military shoes and released a cloud of smoke. Colonel was all ears as he knew that Major had something worth on his mind.

“AJAZ KASHMIRI…” Major gaped into the Colonel’s eye for counter reactions.

Colonel opened his mouth but words failed to step out. All he could do was just looking at the Major, trying to study where all this was going exactly.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Written by: Hemang
Sketch: Paranj Sankdecha

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