26/11 Terror Attack: Nation remembers martyrs, solemn prayers for the dead

26/11 or Mumbai Attack that rocked Mumbai 14 years ago on this day brings scary, alarming, horrifying memories to our mind. Over 10 terrorists from Pakistan had invaded India through the waterways in Gujarat. They were well trained, well equipped to make devastation in Mumbai. Perhaps, more devastation was in the offing had our brave men in the uniform did not take control of the situation, many of them had to sacrifice their lives.

On Saturday today, entire country is paying tributes to the brave men in uniform on the solemn occasion of 26/11 Mumbai Attack. Special programmes were organised at the martyrs’ memorial at Mumbai where Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde paid floral tributes to the martyrs who laid down their lives on this day 14 years ago. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his tributes to the martyrs during an event organised on the occasion of Constitution Day at the Supreme Court (SC). PM Modi recalled the sacrifices of the these brave men. A total of 175 people died, including nine attackers, and more than 300 were wounded. Also, Minister for External Affairs, Dr S Jaishankar remembered the martyrs.

Mumbai Attack – A glance

Ten members of terror outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba, had invaded the Indian sea line on the Gujarat coast line. They had chock out a full proof plan of Mumbai terror attack. For the next three days (Wednesday 26 November and lasted until Saturday 29 November 2008). Mumbai sat on the verge of terrorist attack as any moment anything could have happened. The terrorists held the city hostage for three days.

Where did the attacks take place:

There were eight terror attacks almost back to back in South Mumbai:
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), the Taj Palace & Tower, the Leopold Cafe, the Oberoi Trident, the Cama Hospital, the Nariman House, St. Xavier’s College and the Metro cinema. There was also an explosion at Mazgaon, the port area of Mumbai and in a taxi at Vile Parle.  The Mumbai Police had secure all the sites except for the Taj Hotel early by the morning of November 28. Entire electronic media was outside the Taj Hotel reporting each and every development.

The situation was almost under control except few places like Taj and Chabad House. Finally, Central government sent National security Guards (NSG). The NSG commandoes carried out the Operation Black Tornado to flush out the remaining attackers. The only terrorist was holed up at the Taj and killed. The only terrorist who survived was Ajmal Kasab who confessed about the entire planning and that the mastermind of the 26/11 was Lashkar terror mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. Kasab was later executed. However, in this entire terror activity, once again India’s long claim that Pakistan was infusing fringe element inside its country turned out to be true. India had been telling this to world that Pakistan has been running terror camps, giving training to terrorists and even masterminding proxy war across Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

The Leopold Cafe, a popular restaurant and bar on Colaba Causeway in South Mumbai, was one of the first sites to be attacked.

Let’s take a glance at the sacrifices of men in the uniform:

During the entire terror attack Mumbai Police, Indian Army, National Security Guards (NSG) commandoes played on their lives to make city and people safe and secure.

At the Cama Hospital, the terrorists intended to kill helpless patients but the hospital staff locked all of the patient wards. Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad led by police chief Hemant Karkare rthe CST and left in pursuit of Kasab and Khan. Kasab and Khan opened fire on the vehicle in a lane next to the hospital, and received return fire in response. Karkare, Vijay Salaskar, Ashok Kamte and Tukaram Omble lost their lives.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan of NSG was fatally shot during the rescue of Commando Sunil Yadav. Yadav, was hit in the leg by a bullet during the rescue operations at Taj. The NSG airdropped its commandoes in the Nariman House. During the first day, 9 hostages were rescued from the first floor. The following day, the house was stormed by NSG commandos fast-roping from helicopters onto the roof, covered by snipers positioned in nearby buildings.

A total of 175 people died, including nine attackers, and more than 300 were wounded.

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