Perhaps if we had kept 1-2 terrorists alive then we had a better chance, but we had only Zahid and no one in our team was ready to trust that feral pig. But he was the only chance that we had and we took it. He was dragged inside the hut and thrown in front of box face down. It was hard to read his facial expressions at that time but he did stare at the box for some time before looking back at us. Even then I noted that his stare fell back only at the Major, not anyone else.
He walked up to the Zahid, grabbed him by his hair and put his knife on neck of the prisoner. Then he brought his face close to prisoner’s and growled, “Now you’re going to tell me what’s in the box or I will cut your throat just enough to make sure that you bleed to death in a long and agonising way. Trust me, I’d rather cut you to a million pieces while you’re still alive rather than take you back. Now I’m going to take off this cloth off your face and you are going to tell me what’s inside and you’re going to tell just that. Do you understand me ? “
While the Major was doing this, he had pressed the knife to Zahid’s throat hard enough to draw blood and his eyes were streaming tears probably due to pressure on his head and neck and as well as due to fear. He just blinked his eyes and gestured towards the knife silently begging the Major to remove it. Bheem advanced and removed the gag from his mouth. Zahid perhaps wanted to get his arms free too but the icy stare from soldiers in his field of view stopped him from asking for it. As the Major left his hair, he let his head fall down on the floor and sobbed. Major yanked his head up again by hair and gave him a loud smack across the face which must have loosened atleast a couple of Zahid’s teeth. He hissed again, ” Are you going to tell me what I want to know or do you want to be cut in to pieces ? “
Zahid had recovered from the smack just enough to moan a vehement no. He tried to sit up and was yanked up by the arms in to a sitting position. He moved his gaze towards the box and said simply, “It’s a bomb”.
Major nodded, walked around to the back of cowering terrorist and asked, ” What kind and why are you carrying it that way?”
“It is not an ordinary bomb. It is what you call a dirty bomb. No nuclear reaction but the fallout caused by spread of radioactive material is enough to contaminate a small town.”
” Where did you get this from and what was your target ?”
“What do you think ? Anywhere in that kafir filled land that we could take it.”
He had just finished uttering these words only to be smacked again across the mouth. His cheek started to swell up and his eyes were streaming copious amount of tears.
Major let him moan and writhe in pain before speaking again, ” Now you are going to answer just what I asked, no attempts at being funny or cryptic. Why did one of your students jumped on it instead of going for a grenade or a gun ?”
Zahid held up his hands in front of his face in anticipation of another blow, ” I don’t know ! May be he wanted to kill you all ? “
Major walked around Zahid and squatted to bring himself on eye level with the terrorist. He stared at him for a while before saying, “If that’s the case, then why shouldn’t I make you open the case right now ?”
To be honest, I was not very comfortable with the idea but if anyone else felt the same way, it was not enough for them to speak up and everyone in the hut remained quiet. Zahid looked past the major at the box and shrugged, ” I could do that but it is just what I told you, nothing more. There will be an explosion of 4-5 kg of RDX, whoever is within 35-40 meters will be dead or severely injured and people within a few hundred meters or may be kilometer will get severe radiation poisoning. No one will die in a second or perhaps even a month even if I throw what’s inside at any of you. This bomb even if it’s rigged with more explosive and exploded in a crowded city street will lead to only a few hundred immediate causalities if extremely lucky. It is all about making a point, not increasing the kill count by thousands or lakhs,”
At this point, we had no reason to trust Zahid, but it was simply a thing which we couldn’t pass up. Capturing him was our primary mission and if what he was saying was true, that would change the whole equation of Pakistani terrorism. The job of opening it was better done by the experts, not by us. It was the best decision we could make at that point under the circumstances. Some of us had doubts about the whole carrying back the bomb inside Indian territory considering it was part of plan of the terrorist, but some one above me had the to take final call for it and he ordered us to take it back with us. Major went out for few minutes and came back to order that the bomb to be carried back.