Tragedy can hit anyone, anytime. The November 26, 2008 attacks in Mumbai sent tremors across the globe, like the 9/11 attack in the USA. The world may have forgotten that horrific incident, but it has left an indelible mark on survivors and families of victims whose lives were changed forever.
On November 26, 2008, 10 terrorists of the Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba attacked people in public places like Taj Mahal Hotel, Leopold Cafe, Oberoi Hotel, Nariman (Chabad) House and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
The terrible night of 26/11 has been imprinted in the memories of Mumbaikars… the night when 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba entered Mumbai and carried out 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days. Around 174 people died and more than 300 were wounded because of that attack.
On 22 November 2008, the terrorists took the small boat from Karachi at 8 in the morning, then they shifted to the larger boat ‘Al-Husseini". On November 23, 2008, at 3 PM, they took another boat and shifted to the Indian registered fishing vessel called ‘Mu-Kuber’. The terrorists had their separate bags containing arm pistols, IEDs, hand grenades and dry fruits.
They landed at Badhur Park in South Mumbai at 8:30 PM. After that they break into five pairs, Kasab was with the team leader Ismail Khan. They all took taxis and planted IEDs in the taxis, one at Wadi Bunder and the other at Vile Parle.
First target- CST Railway Station
At 9:20 PM, the two terrorists Kasab and Ismail attack the CST railway station. They started firing and around 58 died and 104 got injured.
Terrorist Kasab shot many innocent lives during the 2008 Mumbai attack. He was caught alive only because of one person that was Tukaram Omble, he was an assistant sub-inspector of Mumbai police. He was standing opposite to Kasab and holding the rifle's barrel. That terrorist shot 23 bullets at him and after that rest of the constables came to the picture and arrested the terrorist. Tukaram Omble was awarded Ashoka Chakra. Later on, his statue was made at Girgaum Chowpatty, Mumbai.
Second target- Leopold Café and Bar
The second attack was at Leopold Café and Bar at 9:40 PM two terrorists Hafiz Arshad and, Naser entered the café and started firing. Around ten people were killed. After that, they ran towards Taj Mahal Hotel. Which was half a kilometre away from the café.
On the day of the attack, the most happening city of India i.e., Mumbai faced one of the deadliest terror attacks in the history of the world. The speed of Mumbai was almost reduced to nil. Nobody in the administration or the general public is aware of what is going on, and the media, as usual, is speculating.
Third target- Taj Mahal Hotel
Taj Mahal was built in 1903, in Mumbai. It consists of 290 rooms and the Taj Towers with 275 rooms.
Four terrorists entered the main lobby at 9:38 pm and started firing and around 20 people were killed in the first few minutes. Then the four terrorists moved to the sixth floor of the hotel, they were killing people who came in their way. Three floors of the hotel First, Fifth and Sixth were badly damaged.
With all other means proving futile, the National Security Guard (Indian Army) was called from New Delhi. When NSG reached the Taj Mahal hotel at Coloba, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan volunteered to lead the first hit inside the hotel, Taj Mahal. He selflessly went on to save other people and finally rescued him. But one terrorist attacked him from behind and he fiercely fought till his last breath. His last words were, "Do not come up, I will handle them." Yes, he handled everything by losing his life. He kept his promise and saved many people's lives.
The operation continued until the morning of 29 November. Around 32 people were killed and, 450 guests were rescued. In the end, the four terrorists were killed.
Fourth Attack-The Oberoi Trident Hotel
At 10 pm, two terrorists entered The Oberoi Trident Hotel and started firing, killing guests and staff who came in their way. On the 16th and 18th floors, they kept many guests hostage.
After the operation of 42 hours, the two terrorists were killed. They killed 33 people in The Oberoi Trident.
Fifth Target-Nariman House
At 10:25 pm two terrorists entered the building and started firing on the police. On November 27, policemen killed both the terrorists and our NSG commando, and five hostages' bodies were discovered, all of whom had been killed by the inhumane.
Mumbai city was in shock around 26 foreigners were killed in Mumbai Terrorist attack. After a few days, Mumbai was back to normal with everyone talking about the spirit of Mumbai.
Ajmal Mohammad Amir Kasab was Mohammad Ajmal Khan's son. Kasab lived in the Pakistani village of Faridkot, in the district of Okara. He was the only terrorist and perpetrator of the Mumbai assault who was captured alive. He was trained at Lashkar-e-Taiba camps located in Muzaffarabad, Muridke. He was the only one who was caught alive because of Tukaram Omble.
During interrogation by police, he disclosed the names of eight other terrorists who were killed. They were Ismail khan, Babar Imran, Naser, Shoaib, Nazir, Hafiz Arshad and Javed. On 21 November 2012 Kasab was sentenced to death and buried at Yervada Jail in Pune.
Tahawwur Rana, a Pak-origin Canadian businessman, was one of the culprits and plotters of the 26/11 attacks, and his USD 1.5 million bail application was denied by the US court. He was involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. He was arrested for the second time on June 10 in Los Angeles after his extradition request by India. The US District Court Judge in Los Angeles Jacqueline Chooljian denied his bail. He served as a doctor in the Pakistani army for more than a decade. He is in the US and currently serving 35-year imprisonment.
Many brave hearts sacrificed their lives in the 26/11 attack. Hemant Karkare was Chief of the Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad; he was shot 3 times in the chest and killed in action during the 2008 Mumbai Attacks. He was honoured with the Ashoka Chakra. There were more brave hearts who lost their lives in that attack they were;
- Ashok Kamte IPS, Ashoka Chakra(P), was ACP at East Region Mumbai
- Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Ashoka Chakra(P) he was in 51 SAG NSG/7 Bihar Indian Army
- Vijay Salaskar, Ashoka Chakra(P), was Police Inspector Anti Extortion Cell, Mumbai
- Shashank Shinde was Police Inspector, CST Railway Station
- Prakash P More was PSI, LT Marg Police Station
- Babusaheb Durugade was PSI, LA 1, Naigoan
- Tukaram G Omble, Ashoka Chakra(P), was ASI at O.B Marg Police Station.
- Balasaheb Bhosale was ASI.
- M.C Chowdhary was Head Constable RPF.
- Havaldar Gajender Singh, Ashoka Chakra(P), 51 SAG NSG/Indian Army
- Jayawant Patil was Police Constable
- Vijay Khandekar was Police Constable
- Arun Chitte was Police Constable
- Yogesh Patil was Police Constable
- Ambadas Pawar was a Police Constable.
- Rahul S Shinde was Police Constable, SRPF
- Mukesh B Jadhav was Home Guard Constable
India has seen many such attacks...then should not we have a memorial too...as a tribute to innocent people when they were snatched away from their loved ones...or army forces who fought against terrorism during 26/11...Think about it!
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