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‘Remember every second of that day’: 9 years after 26/11 attacks, survivors have moved on, but scars are for life

On November 26, 2008, Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists attacked key locations in Mumbai, including Taj Hotel, Trident leaving 166 people dead and several injured.

mumbai Updated: Nov 26, 2017 10:03 IST
Rahul  Mahajani
Rahul Mahajani
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbai terror attacks,2008 Mumbai attacks,26/11 Mumbai attacks
Survivors of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks Dilip Mehta and Devika Rotawan remember the day vividly nine years later.(HT photo)

It has been nine years since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks but survivors remember the day vividly.

“I remember every second of that day,” says Devika Rotawan, then 10, who was shot in the leg at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). During the trial, Devika, the youngest survivor of the attacks, identified arrested gunman Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab as one of the two who fired indiscriminately at the other passengers. The teenager, who is now studying, has a message: “Nobody should sit at home because they are scared of terrorists. They should fight terrorists.”

On November 26, 2008, ten Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists entered Mumbai via sea route and attacked key locations killing 166 people.

Dilip Mehta had come to Taj hotel for a conference that day. “Around 9pm, there were reports of a ‘gang war’ and we were stopped from leaving the hotel. Within 10 minutes, we were told it was a terror attack. We were told not to go near the windows. We heard explosions and started to pray,” says Mehta.

Stuck on the 21st floor of the hotel for hours, he was the first one to be rescued. “It was not easy. I had to undergo counselling for six months,” says Mehta, who represented India at the International Congress on victims of terrorism, in Paris in 2015.

Mehta, however, is happy with the security measures in place. “The city is relatively safe now. The government has taken a lot of steps and no one will dare attack us again,” he says.

However, another survivor Dr PN Vaswani, who was at Taj hotel on the day of the attacks, says we need more security at vital installations such as Siddhivinayak temple. “I remember the attack sometimes, but my work keeps me busy,” he says.

First Published: Nov 26, 2017 07:22 IST