It was on this day, 10 years ago, that 10 heavily-armed Pakistani terrorists unleashed mayhem in south Mumbai.

10 years of 2611 Leaders pay tributes as Mumbai terror attack victims still await justicePTI
news Mumbai terror attack Monday, November 26, 2018 - 13:07

Ten years ago, on the evening of Thursday, November 26, 2008, terror struck Mumbai, the financial capital of India. 166 people were killed – including Indian security personnel and 26 foreign nationals – and over 300 were injured as 10 heavily-armed terrorists from Pakistan attacked multiple locations within a small geographical area in south Mumbai.

Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Hotel Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Hotel Trident, Nariman House, Leopold Café, Cama Hospital and Wadi Bunder were attacked, inflicting huge damage to public and private properties. After an attack that lasted 60 hours, nine of the 10 terrorists were gunned down in the combined security operations that included the Mumbai police, army and naval commandos, and other paramilitary forces as the country waited with bated breath

Ajmal Amir Kasab (22) was caught alive following a fierce gun battle with the police near Chowpatty Beach and was sentenced to death two years after the attacks. On November 21, 2012, Kasab was hanged inside Pune's Yerawada Central Jail.

Remembering the lives lost

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to pay tribute to the lives lost during the attacks.

"Ten years after the Mumbai terror attacks, thoughts with families and individuals who suffered. We salute those from the police and security forces, who made the supreme sacrifice that day. India remains honour-bound to securing justice, and defeating terrorism," the President said in a tweet.

"Tributes to those who lost their lives... Our solidarity with the bereaved families. A grateful nation bows to our brave police and security forces who valiantly fought the terrorists during the Mumbai attacks," PM Modi tweeted.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis offered floral tributes to the martyrs who lost their lives, at the 26/11 police memorial site in the Mumbai Police Gymkhana premises in south Mumbai. The then Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, Army Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Mumbai's Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte and Senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar were among those killed in the attack.

Bengaluru’s Major Unnikrishnan was leading a team of NSG commandos to flush out terrorists from the Taj Palace Hotel in Mumbai when he was fatally wounded. Ashok Chakra, the country's highest peace-time gallantry award, was conferred on him on 26 January 2009.

‘Mumbai is safe’: Police

Ten years on, Mumbai Police Commissioner Subodh Kumar Jaiswal stated that Mumbai is safe and the police are equipped to handle any attack. 

"We have come a long way in the last 10 years," Jaiswal told PTI in an interview on the eve of the terror attack's 10th anniversary. "I can assure Mumbaikars that the city is safe and that the police are capable of protecting you from any eventuality. We have a strong and trained police force having the latest equipment, weapons, strategy tactics and are always ready to deal with all the challenges," he said.

However, while Kasab was hanged to death, the 166 victims of the attack are still awaiting justice. The head of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hafiz Saeed, who masterminded the attack, still roams free in Pakistan.


US offers reward for information on attackers

The US State Department has issued a strong-worded statement asking Pakistan to impose sanctions on all those responsible and has offered a fresh reward of up to $5 million for information on those involved in the attack. The reward offered under the State Department's Rewards for Justice (RFJ) Programme is for "any individual who committed, conspired to commit, or aided or abetted in the execution" of the attack that killed 166 people, a Department media note said on Sunday.

The RFJ website, which said the "reward offer extends to any individual who bears responsibility for this act of terror", mentioned four persons, who, it said, have been indicted by a US federal court. They are Sajid Mir, Major Iqbal, Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal (alias Abu al-Qama).

The RJF website said that Mir was the handler for Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley, who was sent by the LeT on a spying mission to India to prepare for the attacks. Headley, whose original name was Daood Sayed Gilani, is serving a 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai attack and in a terrorism conspiracy against a Danish newspaper.

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