November 26, 2008, also called ‘26/11’, the date itself is enough to give us chills. It is the day when the city of dreams became the target of the ferocious terror attacks.
The next three days were gripped by terror, with the city witnessing lobbing grenades and firing weapons at prominent venues including railway station, hotels, and several other buildings, killing scores and wounding many. 10 terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba entered Mumbai through the sea route, armed with weapons and ammunition. It took four days for our security forces to kill all the terrorists and capture Mohammed Ajmal Kasab alive. But till then most of the damage was already done and the city bore the scars for years. Call it the spirit of Mumbai, but the city was back to its daily business within hours.
This photo feature is a revisit to the painful memories of the terror attacks and the pictures show the horror of the attacks and the spirit with which Mumbai fought back.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus
City’s busiest railway station was attacked by two terrorists Ismail Khan and Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist that was caught alive. Khan and Kasab entered the passenger hall at around 9:30 pm and opened fire using AK-47 rifles. The assault ended at 10:45 pm after killing 58 people and injuring 104. A railway announcer, Vishnu Dattaram Zende saved several lives by alerting the commuters and asking them to leave the station from the back gate.
Cama and Albless Hospital
After Kasab and Khan’s failed attempt to climb up the CSMT office due to resistance from the railway police, the two headed to Cama and Albless Hospital, one of the prominent hospitals for women and children. The duo entered the hospital from the rear entrance.
The terrorists were engaged by a group of policemen for 45 minutes. Later, the duo threw hand grenades on the policemen, thus killing two and injuring several others. The duo then left Cama Hospital and hid behind the bushes near Rang Bhavan and opened fire on a police jeep. The firing took the lives of three senior police officers Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte. Constable Arun Jadhav was the only survivor but was severely wounded.
The historic Leopold Cafe has been city’s one of the most iconic restaurants. On Nov 26, 2008, the cafe was attacked by two attackers, Shoaib alias Soheb and Nazir alias Abu Umer with gunfire and grenades during peak hours between 9:30 pm and 9:50 pm, leaving ten dead and injuring several others. The cafe was opened four days later but was again shut for security measures. Later, after a month of renovation the cafe was opened but it till date continues to have bullet marks on walls and mirrors as a reminder of the horrific incident.
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
The attack charred the interiors of the luxurious Taj hotel. The walls of the hotels were marred by bullet holes and grenade blasts and corridors with blood stains. The hotel was brought back to full glory and was reopened to guests after 21 months of the attacks.
Another hotel attacked was Oberoi Trident. Over 30 people were killed in the attack here. NSG rescued 250 people from the hotel.
Nariman House, also known as Chabad House, a Chabad Lubavitch Jewish centre in Colaba was attacked by two terrorists during the 26/11 attacks. The residents were held hostage. The adjacent buildings were evacuated by the police and the local residents were asked to stay indoors. A naval helicopter took an aerial survey of the area and NSG commandos were called. 9 hostages were rescued on the first day and on the second day the house was stormed by NSG commandos.
After a long battle between the commandos and the terrorists, NSG commando Havaldar Gajender Singh Bisht and both the terrorists were killed.
This article was originally published in freepressjournal.in