Justice long overdue in 26/11 attacks: US
As India observed the 13th anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Friday remembered the “resiliency of Mumbaikars” and said it is long overdue for the perpetrators to face justice.
Also remembering the six Americans who were killed in the terror attacks, Blinken tweeted: “Thirteen years have passed since the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. On today’s anniversary, we remember the victims, including six Americans, and the resiliency of Mumbaikars. It is long overdue for the perpetrators to face justice.”
On November 26, 2008, 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists from Pakistan arrived by sea route and opened fire, killing 166 people, including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others during the 60-hour siege in Mumbai.
The then Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, Army Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Mumbai’s Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte, Senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar and Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Tukaram Omble were among those killed in the attack.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Hotel, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital and the Nariman House Jewish community centre, now renamed Nariman Light House, were some of the places targeted by terrorists.
Nine terrorists were later killed by the security forces, including the NSG, the country’s elite commando force. Ajmal Kasab was the only terrorist who was captured alive. He was hanged four years later on November 21, 2012.
India and several other countries, including the US, the UK and France, have repeatedly asked Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the 26/11 attacks to justice, but no such firm initiative has been taken yet by Islamabad.
The United States tried and punished David Headley, a Pakistan-American, who had visited India to scout the targets hit by the attackers. He is currently serving a 35-year jail term.
Tahawwur Rana, a Canadian-Pakistani, was also sentenced in the US to 14 years of imprisonment for providing support to LeT.
Pakistan has dragged its feet prosecuting Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rahman, the man who directly led the operations, even as India has shared detailed evidence with Islamabad on a number of occasions.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has already completed its probe against all the perpetrators and shared detailed evidence with Pakistani authorities several times, but there has been no response till date.
Saeed was arrested and released several times by the Pakistan government, prompting the former Donald Trump-led US administration, on one occasion, to warn of “repercussions”. He was finally sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2020 in two terror cases.
Saeed, who carried a US bounty of $10 million for his arrest, had openly challenged the US to arrest him.
Rahman, likewise, was finally tried and convicted in January this year for of terror financing.