Six years later, Mumbai recalls horror of 26/11 terror attacks

  • IANS, Mumbai
  • Updated: Nov 26, 2014 20:45 IST

Mumbaiites paid homage to the martyrs of the 2008 terror attack on Wednesday on the sixth anniversary of the deadly strike when 10 gunmen from Pakistan sneaked into the city and created mayhem for 60 hours.

Maharashtra industry minister Prakash Mehta led the state in paying homage in the morning at the 26/11 police memorial raised at the Mumbai Police Gymkhana.

He paid floral tributes to the brave security personnel who laid their lives battling the 10 Pakistani terrorists during the November 26-29, 2008, attack.

Mehta was standing in for chief minister Devendra Fadnavis who was accompanying President Pranab Mukherjee at various functions during his two-day visit to the state.

Education minister Vinod Tawde, director general of police (DGP) Sanjeev Dayal, commissioner of police Rakesh Maria and other top police officials and family members of the victims were present at the solemn ceremony.

Earlier in a message, Fadnavis recalled the sacrifices of the brave policemen who fought during those 60 hours to secure Mumbai's safety from the clutches of the terrorists.

"I pay homage to the policemen who fought for Mumbai's safety and laid down their lives for us. We are proud of them. We shall strive hard for the safety and security of our state," Fadnavis said, adding that police would be strengthened with better weapons on priority.

Commemorative events with prayers were held at the railways' Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Hotel Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Hotel Trident, the refurbished Nariman House, the Leopold Cafe, and other locations targeted by the terrorists who killed 166 people, including 18 security personnel.

Among those killed were Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare, Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte, Anti-Extortion Squad chief Vijay Salaskar, policeman Tukaram Ombale, who caught alive the lone Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab, and Indian Army Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan.

People offered floral tributes at the CST and at the Ombale Memorial at Chowpatty.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also paid homage to the martyrs on Wednesday.

"We remember the horrific terror attacks in Mumbai on this day in 2008 and pay homage to the innocent men and women who lost their lives," Modi said in a message.

He said India salutes the brave security personnel who laid down their lives to protect several lives on that fateful day. "They are our true heroes."

"Today is a day to reaffirm our commitment to work together to combat the menace of terror and uproot it from the face of humankind," Modi urged.

Home minister Rajnath Singh expressed his "heartfelt tributes" to the people who lost their lives in the attack and also showed concern at the "very slow progress" in the trial of the 26/11 perpetrators in Pakistan.

Rajnath Singh also paid homage to the security personnel who died while battling the terrorists six years ago.

The 10 heavily armed terrorists sneaked into Mumbai from Karachi through the Arabian Sea by a small boat and quickly fanned out to the targeted locations virtually unnoticed.

As the world watched stunned, they held at ransom important sites of national and international importance and indiscriminately opened fire, killing 166 people, including 25 foreigners and 18 security personnel, and injuring more than 300.

The sites selected by the terrorsits fell in a four-square km prime hub of Mumbai, including world heritage building CST, Hotel Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Hotel Trident, Nariman House, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, and Wadi Bunder, the hub of shipping and transport agencies.

A bomb also exploded in a taxi taken by the terrorists at Vile Parle, a quiet upper middle-class residential locality.

While nine terrorists were gunned down by security personnel, Ajmal Amir Kasab was nabbed alive from Chowpatty in south Mumbai.

Kasab was lodged in a specially-created cell inside the high-security Arthur Road jail and was tried in a special court inside the prison for security reasons.

He was sentenced to death and was hanged in Pune's Yerawada jail November 21, 2012.

Eminent criminal lawyer and 26/11 trial special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam on Wednesday acknowledged that now India was indeed safe as the government has taken measures to counter any such attacks in future.

"I feel we are very safe. But can't say about any changed tactics that attackers may employ in the future. We must be ever vigilant," he said.

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