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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Remembering the heroes of 26/11 ..... when Mumbai (Nation) was under siege !!

Today is a (sad) day to remember – it is 26/11.  Six years ago, as night was to unfold,  fishermen at Mumbai’s Machhimaar Colony saw ten young men with large rucksack disembark from an inflatable Zodiac speedboat. An hour later, armed with hand grenades and automatic rifles, they created terror across the city, held the city and thereby the Nation itself to ransom.  It was indeed India’s time of shame and pain.  Before midnight, over a ton of people including some Top Police cops were dead.   It took nearly 3 days for semblance of total control.  Its perpetrators or executants including the lone arrested Ajmal Kasab is no more – but those schemers are still large and the pain remains !.

The horrific memories of the night when the terrorists hijacked the police vehicle  and killed top cops and then went on shooting innocents haunts people.   Comics are an integral part of every child’s growth – in our days we had the Ambulimama (chandamama) / Amar chitra katha.  Today’s kid are obsessed with Jetix of Walt Disney.     The illustrious   Bhaskar Kadam, Hemant Bawdhankar, Sanjay Govilkar, Tukaram Omble,  Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte ,  Vijay Salaskar, Shashank Shinde, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Hawaldar Gajendra Singh – and the like should be the heroes whom the Nation must be reading and knowing.  There were so many unsung heroes too – for example the Fire Service of Mumbai whose personnel did not flinch once as they grabbed their gear and rushed to douse fire amid an intense gun battle. 

Tukaram Omble,  with his sacrifice and his daring act  ensured the arrest of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the sole gunman involved in the terror strikes to be caught alive.

Today marks the Sixth anniversary of that dreaded attack.  The Nation’s  Prime Minister Narendra Modi SAARC leaders that India feels the “endless pain” of lost lives and urged the eight-nation grouping to combat terrorism unitedly. Mr. Modi made a reference to the Mumbai carnage that claimed 166 lives in his maiden address to the 18th SAARC summit during when he reached out to the South Asian countries, announcing business visas to India for three to five years and immediate medical visa for the patient and an attendant travelling to the country for medical treatment.

Today, as we remember the horror of the terror attack in Mumbai in 2008, we feel the endless pain of lost lives. Let us work together to fulfil the pledge we have taken to combat terrorism and trans-national crimes,” Mr. Modi told the SAARC leaders who included Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Besides India and Pakistan, the other SAARC countries are  Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan.

On 26 November, 2008, the terrorists had gone from Backbay in South Mumbai to different locations undetected by the police.  Now, Chief Minister of Maharashtra  Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the home portfolio, has expedited the process to install 5,000 CCTV cameras at key points in Mumbai. As the last hurdles in the project have been cleared, the work on the installation of cameras would start soon.

Of the many stories that appeared in various sections of Press, here is something written by a survivor in Firstpost as what one should have learnt as a lesson from the incident :
Firstly, value your family and friends. I strongly recommend you check on
1. Make sure you are covered well by insurance. Even if you are well off - leave them better off if the unfortunate were to happen.
2. Let them know details on things like bank accounts, investments etc. Keep a folio with your spouse and close family.
3. Use every waking moment to cherish what you have - family, friends, nature. Stay smiling, laughing and caring.

In the melee, filmmaker  Ram Gopal Varma, who infamously managed to gain access to the Taj Hotel—the most well-known site of the Mumbai attacks—a mere three days after, directed a film that recreating  the events of that first fateful night. Varma’s terror-tourism is seen as shockingly bad taste, amidst claims that his visit has had no role to play in the making of the film, which contains absolutely no actual footage and relies instead on the dramatic recreation of events.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th Nov. 2014.

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