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Friday, November 26, 2021

2008 ! - black day - when Mumbai / Nation was under siege of Terrorists !!

We see them in every street corner, at busy traffic intersections, some movies come ridiculing their efforts, but Salutes to them – the Army and Police are the real protectors and WE live happily and peacefully because of their sacrifices. This is the photo of Tukaram Omble, who died this day 13 years ago ! – must have been part of our history and school curriculum .. .. were you able to recognize him ? 

The frontpage of newspapers are not exactly screaming today .. .. .. a visitor to Mumbai, may get down at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, have a sip at Cafe Leopold, look on the way at Cama and Albless Hospital, pass through  big buildings and wonder whether an ordinary man can ever walk into Oberoi-Trident Hotel or the much inspiring  Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel on the sea-front !


From every angle, the Taj Palace near the Gate way of India, the imposing arch monument on the Arabic sea erected  to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary at Apollo Bunder on their visit to India in 1911, prior to Delhi Durbar. The hotel preceded it – the Queen could have seen the hotel, but not the monument.                                

                                             The historic Taj Mahal Palace hotel first opened its doors to guests 113 years ago, on December 16, 1903. Located in Colaba, Mumbai, the Taj Mahal hotel, or the Taj Palace hotel, was the country's first ever harbour landmark. Over the last century or so, the hotel has played host to royalty, several dignitaries, and eminent personalities from all over the world. A popular theory states that Jamshedji Tata built the hotel because he was refused entry at Watson Hotel, one of the grandest hotels of that time, which was for 'whites only. It was the first Indian hotel that had electricity, American fans, Turkish baths, German elevators, and English butlers. Later, it became the first ever hotel in the city that had a licensed bar and India's first discotheque, called Blow Up. It was also the first Indian hotel to have an air-conditioned ballroom and an all-day dining restaurant.  In 1903, when it first opened to guests, a room with fans and attached bathrooms would cost 13.  

In the beautiful motherland, there have been debates on surgical strikes with politicians calling for proof !! -  Nation can never forget this day  26/11 when it was  under siege by militants from across the border.  How many felt sorrowed and spoke for those martyrs of Police and jawans of the motherland ??  .. .. and blatant media who were for ratings showing all the plan and movement of Army jawans !! – how mindless it was.


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. 

It was the carnage of innocents – the  2008 Mumbai attacks [simply 26/11 – Indian hour of shame] were 11 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, by terrorists who came from Pakistan. Ajmal Kasab  who was captured alive, later claimed upon interrogation that the attacks were conducted with the support of Pakistan's ISI.  The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday, 26 November and lasted until Saturday, 29 November 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308.  The heroic efforts of Police, Military and NSG ensured that things were brought under control.   On 29 November, India's National Security Guards (NSG) conducted Operation Black Tornado to flush out the remaining attackers; it resulted in the death of the last remaining attackers at the Taj hotel and ending all fighting in the attacks. 

Today, we recall those horrific memories and more particularly pay homage to our heroes who saved the Nation giving their lives protecting us.  Now to connect those places in 1st para  ~ they are not simply places, but places where innocents were butchered by the mindless Pakis.  At Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station – 58 people were killed; and leaving the station, the butchers fired at crowds killing 10 more;  at Cafe Leopold – 10 killed,  they did not leave hospitals too – at Cama and Albless Hospital a group of 6 Police officials were killed, at Nariman House, 7; at Oberoi-Trident Hotel, around 30 and at Iconic Taj, it was siege for 4 days when 31 people were killed.  

After 26/11 – the butcher massacerer Ajmal Kasab was executed in Nov 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.  In  Jan 2013, the planner Headley was sentenced to 35 years in prison.  In Mar 2015, the   Islamabad High Court in Pakistan ordered the release of Lakhvi, calling his detention illegal.  In 2017,   Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the leader of a group associated with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, was placed under house arrest in Pakistan for his suspected role in the Mumbai attacks.  However,   Authorities in Pakistan say that Saeed has been freed from house arrest. The United States, which labels Saeed as the leader of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, said it was "deeply concerned" about his release.  

While an  official communiqué released at Washington DC, by Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State in 2018  read :  

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America and all Americans, I express my solidarity with the people of India and the city of Mumbai on the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai terrorist attack. We stand with the families and friends of the victims, whose loved ones were lost in this act of barbarism, including six American citizens. The barbarity of 26/11 shocked the entire world. It is an affront to the families of the victims that, after ten years, those who planned the Mumbai attack have still not been convicted for their involvement. We call upon all countries, particularly Pakistan, to uphold their UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against the terrorists responsible for this atrocity, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and its affiliates. The United States is committed to seeing that those responsible for this attack face justice. The Department of State Rewards for Justice (RFJ) Program is offering a new reward for up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual who was involved in planning or facilitating the 2008 Mumbai attack.  

~  inside our Nation, we still have people supporting every killer, every anti-National, every Urban Naxal, and speaking against our armed forces and Nation. Fie upon them .. .. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th Nov. 2021

PS:   Ajmal Kasab, the face of Mumbai terror is no more; he had been given a name ‘Sameer Chaudhury’ with red thread around his visit; their heinous plan would have succeeded if all terrorists had been killed but destiny was otherwise, exeuctued by  martyr Tukaram Omble 

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