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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Nation salutes its martyrs and grimaces in pain on the anniversary of ghastly Mumbai siege

Remembering 26/11; saluting our bravemen who saved the Nation

One grimaces in pain to read the way Police were kept on their toes in Lakhimpur city on Friday morning after members of a community allegedly celebrated the release co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan. Some residents of Begum Bagh colony in Shivpuri area allegedly decorated their houses with green flags and also raised slogans like 'Hafiz Saeed zindabad' and 'Pakistan Zindabad'. The issue was immediately brought to district magistrate Akashdeep's notice after which police force was rushed to the colony.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji,  addressing the nation today in  radio programme Mann ki Baat, honoured the men and women who sacrificed their lives during the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008. Mr. Modi was speaking on the ninth anniversary of the terror attack. “We salute all those brave women and men who lost their lives in the gruesome 26/11 attacks in Mumbai,” Mr. Modi said. “Terrorism is a threat to humanity.” “For over four decades, India has been raising the issue of terror. Initially the world didn't take us seriously but now they are realising destruction caused by terrorism.

November 26 also happens to be Constitution Day, as it was on this day in 1949 when the Constitution of India was drafted. Today is a day -  Nation can never forget -  26/11 –the day,  when it Nation  under siege by militants from across the border.  On November 23, 2008, ten Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, trained by Pakistani military and spy agency ISI, left Karachi for Mumbai via sea. They entered India three days later on November 26, hijacking a ship owned by Indian fishermen and killing them en route. They targeted high-profile places including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Taj Hotel at the Gateway of India, Cafe Leopold, Chabad House, Rang Bhavan Lane near Cama Hospital and St Xavier's College. More than 160 people including 18 police officers and two NSG commandoes were killed. Around 310 others were injured as a fight back by security forces continued for about 60 hours.

Each of the terrorists landed clandestinely carried AK47 automatic rifle, around 500 rounds of ammunition, pistols, hand grenades and improvised explosive devices. The ammunition possessed by them proved enough for the Mumbai police and special commandos to keep them at toes for next three days. Of the gruesome murderers, Ajmal Kasab was captured alive. After attacking CST railway station, he and Ismail Khan had targeted the Cama Hospital. From there he ambushed a police team, killed six officials including ATS chief Hemant Karkare and hijacked their jeep. Kasab and Ismail Khan were intercepted near Girgaum Chowpatty, where Tukaram Omble grabbed the barrel of the rifle the former was firing from. This gave the police team time to overpower Kasab and capture him. He was tried and sentenced to death in May 2010. Kasab was hanged at the Yerawada jail in Pune in November 2012.

           In this great Nation of ours, even the killer was given a fair trial – the entire legal process unfolded with Kasab being served food and he asking for Urudu papers and more.  India took  the trouble to conduct and ensure, that it believed in a proper justice system and would deal with attacks against its people according to the law.

The deadly terror attacks on Mumbai in 2008 numbed the entire nation. It changed the lives of many who witnessed the macabre dance of death and destruction on Mumbai's roads and inside the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel.

It anyone ever thought that terrorism affected only those who suffered personally or only those in Mumbai, our thinking is flawed. It is worth hearing Capt Raghu Raman speak on this : in the video available on web, the hero  of the Indian National Intelligence Grid speaks at a Ted Talk at IIT-BHU, about the kind of on-the-ground decisions that the army had to take during the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai and what we can learn about leadership from that.

This year it saddens more as closer to the 9th anniversary of the ghastly killing, a  Pakistani court  ordered the release of Hafiz Saeed, an alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, in a move likely to worsen the country’s tattered relationship with the US. The Islamist cleric, who heads Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) – listed by the UN as a terrorist group – and has a $10m(£7.5m) US bounty on his head,  was to be freed after an year in detention.  On Wednesday the court in Lahore rejected a request from the provincial government of Punjab for a 60-day extension to his house arrest.  Though it was contended that JuD is a charity organisation, US says it is a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, an anti-India jihadi group that Saeed helped found in the 1990s.

The White House on Saturday called Pakistan’s release of a militant wanted by the US as the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai massacre of 2008 a “step in the wrong direction” and said a refusal to re-arrest him would damage bilateral ties and Pakistan’s international reputation around the world.

26.1. 2008  – a sad day it was for the Nation.! ~ and if you are to read the first para again now, it will sadden you more..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th Nov. 2o17

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