Indian news outlets have reported that one of the terrorists from Oberoi Hotel called into the India TV television station. He claimed to be from the Deccan Mujahideen and recited his demands. Earlier, an email from a group calling itself the "Mujahideen Hyderabad Deccan" emailed a message to Indian media outlets. "Deccan", by the way, means "Southern". Hyderabad is in the south of India.
Here is the video of the TV interview. There is no way to know if the call is authentic, but Western news outlets have been relying on this conversation in their reporting of the terrorists’ demands.
With the help of my wife, who is a fluent Urdu and Hindi speaker (and who has lived in Pakistan for many years), I have translated the exchange between the terrorist (who calls himself ‘Shahadullah’) and the two reporters who spoke to him via telephone.
A few things immediately jump out. First, Shahadullah claims to be from Hyderabad in India. He also makes reference to the destruction of the Babri mosque by Hindu nationalists. The destruction of the mosque is a source of much conflict between India’s Muslim and Hindu communities. He also seems to stumble when asked what their demands are. He has to check with someone next to him, who he refers to as "Sirji" (boss), for the demands. He also says that there are seven terrorists in Oberoi Hotel after initially hesitating to divulge the number.
The TV segment begins in mid interview. Below is the transcript as translated by my wife. [The audio is garbled at a few points so some of the translation may need improvement]:
Female Journalist (FJ): What is the biggest criminal saying?
Shahadullah (S): So many Muslims have been mass murdered, at that time who had surrendered. Our mosques were torn down and we were not allowed to sleep in peace. Our mothers and sisters were mass murdered. Who was it then and why couldnt he surrender? The commandos came and we will teach him such a lesson that his kids will become orphans.
FJ: Where are you from and who are you connected with?
S: Yes, yes, we are from Hyderabad and we are connected to Deccan (Southern) Mujahideen.
Male Journalist (MJ): What are your demands?
FJ: What do you want to say and what are your demands?
S: Wait one minute.
S: [Spoken to someone in the background] Yes, [possibly spoken in Punjabi] say demand. [spoken in Hindi/Urdu] What is the demand?
MJ: Yes, we have Shahadullah present with us. Shahadullah, we want to know what your demands are, what do you want? Tell us your demand. Entire Hindustan is watching you, is listening to you.
S: [Spoken to someone in the background] Sir, she’s coming to the demands.
FJ: Come on, tell us, how many of you have come here and how many places do you plan to attack?
MJ: Yes, Shahadullah,speak.
S: All the Mujahideen in India, all the ones imprisoned, they should free them. And after that we will release the hostages.
S: Otherwise we will [garbled]…you might have seen what is happening.
FJ: How many of you are in the Oberoi Hotel?
S: Ha! [laughs]…why should I tell you?
MJ: No, because you are saying that you are fighting a battle. At least say how many people you are.
S: We are seven. Seven.
MJ: Seven? You are seven people inside Hotel Oberoi?
S: Yes, yes.
MJ: So, you have only one demand that all the Mujahedeen should be released? Besides this you have no other demand?
S: Yes, should be released. All the Muslims who are residents of India should not be disturbed. It should not happen that somewhere Babri Mosque is being torn down and somewhere Muslims are being…[garbled]
MJ: Shahadullah, Shahadullah. We want to say something to you. You are also a citizen of Hindustan. You yourself are saying you are a resident of Hyderabad. Don’t you have any love for this country? Because the people who are killed can also be your brother, can be someone else’s brother.
S; Yes, I have love for them. It is my country, it is my nation. But the problem is when our elders, our brothers, our mothers and our sisters were killed, then they didn’t see this. Ok, Allah Hafez [good bye].
[At this point he apparently hangs up]
The female reporter says after the interview that the terrorist sounded Pakistani. However, the accent is most likely native to India. According to my wife, people from Hyderabad, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other places would speak with similar accents. His accent is not common to Pakistan. Also of note, his manner of speaking is very colloquial and does not suggest a high level of education.
All of this suggests that, if this call was in fact from one of the terrorists, that some of the terrorists are at least Indian Muslims. They may have worked in conjunction with foreign fighters, but, this interview at least suggests that the grievances of this terrorist appear to be local.