NEW DELHI: The nation remembers with solemn hearts the carnage unleashed in Mumbai 13 years ago by Pakistani terrorists, on November 26, 2008.
166 people fell to terrorists’ bullets at several locations in Mumbai. They are being remembered through various events, organised in Mumbai and elsewhere.
President Ram Nath Kovind paid tributes to the martyrs and homage to the victims of the attacks, and said the nation will always be grateful to the security personnel who laid down their lives in the line of duty.
Union home minister Amit Shah termed the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks a “cowardly” act while paying tribute to those who had lost their lives. Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal also paid tribute to jawans, policemen and citizens who lost their lives.
मुंबई 26/11 आतंकी हमलों में जान गंवाने वालों को भावपूर्ण श्रद्धांजलि देता हूँ और उन सभी सुरक्षाकर्मियों के साहस को… https://t.co/n7qsN4CT0u
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) 1637896703000
The lone terrorist caught alive has been hanged after trial. However the kingpins of the operation based in Pakistan have still not been brought to justice, as the trial drags on through shady labyrinths of the Pakistani system.
We look back at how the events unfolded on that fateful night, and the course of the probe.
* 10 gunmen set sail from Pakistan’s Karachi on November 23, hijacked a fishing trawler mid-sea and landed on the evening of November 26 near Mumbai’s Cuffe Parade in a dinghy. They split into groups, each headed for pre-decided targets, to unleash mayhem.
* The targets picked were all famous Mumbai landmarks, and usually with large gatherings during business hours. The highest casualties were at Chhatrapati Shivaji railway terminus, where 58 people were killed in indiscriminate firing.
* 30 people were killed at Trident hotel, 31 at The Taj hotel, 11 at the Leopold café, 7 at Nariman House, a Jewish centre. Some people were killed in shooting at the Cama Hospital and near the Metro cinema. Some foreign nationals were also among the dead.
सीमा पर कठिन मौसम में परिवार से दूर रहकर देश की रक्षा करता है।आतंकवादी हमले में अपनी जान की बाज़ी लगाकर मासूमों को… https://t.co/QB6eNtJkGl
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) 1637896938000
* NSG commandos trooped onto the roof of Nariman House from helicopters and eliminated the attackers, securing the site by the morning of November 28. The siege at the Taj continued for the longest, and ended only on November 29 after an NSG operation. The NSG rescued 250 people from the Oberoi, 300 from the Taj and 60 people from Nariman House.
* Intercepts of wireless communication during the operation revealed that the terrorists were receiving instruction from handlers sitting in a control room in Pakistan. They were also monitoring TV footage to understand the movement of forces. TV links to the hotels were snapped once this was known.
Mumbai | Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil pay t… https://t.co/XKYhGAeQqF
— ANI (@ANI) 1637897885000
* There were casualties in Mumbai’s security forces, including some top brass officers. ATS chief Hemant Karkare, encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar, ACP Ashok Kamte were among those in uniform killed on that night. Only one terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, was caught alive thanks to the bravery of policeman Tukaram Ombale. He made the supreme sacrifice in the process. The NSG, deployed to flush out the terrorists from Taj, Trident and Nariman House, also suffered casualties.
* Interrogation of Ajmal Kasab revealed that the terrorists were from the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The plot was hatched in Pakistan, and the attackers trained for 18 months in Muzaffarabad of PoK before they set sail from Karachi.
Never forget. https://t.co/xXAVV5pT9h
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) 1637890248000
* Once the Pakistani links emerged, Islamabad promised to cooperate in the investigations. After initial denials, Pakistan admitted that the terrorists were Pakistanis and registered cases. Indian authorities said the level of sophistication in the attacks pointed to involvement of Pakistani authorities- a charge Islamabad denied.
* Under international pressure, Pakistan arrested Hafiz Saeed, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and other masterminds of the attacks. However the case made little progress, with several judges recusing themselves from the trial, and Pakistan’s lack of will to bring the case to a conclusion.
* In the US, David Coleman Headley was convicted of involvement in the attacks, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Ajmal Kasab was hanged on November 21, 2021 at Pune’s Yerawada jail, after a fair trial.