Nine years ago, this day, arrived on the sly a group of Pakistani terrorists, taking the porous sea route to launch one of the most reprehensible terror attack on innocent civilians in Mumbai. Loaded with ammunitions to destroy thousands, they spread out to as many as nine different places in the city, lobbing grenades and indiscriminately shooting at anyone in sight.
They terrorists were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba from Pakistan, and the dreadful attacks continued for four days until 29th November 2008. Chatrapati Shivaji Rail Terminus and Taj Mahal Hotel bore the brunt of the attacks.
A captured terrorist, Ajmal Kasab’s trial began on 6th May 2009 and on 3rd May 2010 he was convicted on 86 charges and sentenced to death and was hanged on 21 Nov 2012 at Yerawada Jail, in Pune, after his appeals and Mercy petition to the President were rejected. Another operative David Headley, who was a co-conspirator and visited Mumbai on earlier recce to facilitate the attacks was sentenced in the US for 35 years’ imprisonment.
There were stories of valour and courage as well. The chaperone in Nariman House, a Jewish Centre in Colaba risked her life and saved a Jewish child as did several policemen who braved the bullets in saving others and many laying their lives in the process. A part of the Taj Mahal hotel was aflame, but many staff discarded threat to their lives and were busy saving their guests.
Mumbai itself. like a phoenix arose with a renewed vigour and spirit and so did India. Proof of direct involvement of Pakistan through their handlers, in the attack were provided and the brain behind the attack, Hafiz Sayeed is still free, after a sham house arrest for a short while in Pakistan.
164 people were killed, including Indian civilians and service personnel, while 9 attackers were killed. The attacks invited worldwide condemnations and Pakistan joined the ignominious league of bastard nations.