Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday said that India’s national security has strengthened in the last 11 years since the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. Addressing the audience at the 26/11 Stories of Strength event, the defence minister said, “Ab Don ko pakadna mushkil nahi, aasan ho gaya.”
Hitting out at Pakistan over cross-border terrorism, Singh said the neighbouring country has “started seeing all shades of grey and will soon be blacklisted unless it stops terror emanating from its soil.”
Remembering the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Union Minister Gadkari said terrorism does not have caste or religion. “I salute the people of Mumbai for their resilience in the face of the terror attacks,” he said. Gadkari emphasised on the importance of using the past as a learning experience for the future and said the sacrifice of Hemant Karkare and others should not go in vain.
Honouring inspiring stories of courage, forgiveness, and resilience of survivors of the Mumbai terror attacks, the 26/11 Stories of Strength Memorial witnessed a united Mumbai standing up to fear and intimidation. At the fourth edition of the memorial hosted by The Indian Express at the Gateway of India, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari paid tributes to the heroes who saved lives even as theirs were in danger on that fateful day.
Stars including Rekha Bhardwaj, Shilpa Rao, Dr L Subramaniam, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Divya Kumar, Harshdeep Kaur and Mahesh Kale performed at the event. Veteran actor Amitabh Bachhan received standing ovation from the crowd as he concluded the event with a heart-touching performance featuring a powerful poem recited by him. The event also featured personal accounts of survivors that resonate uncannily with the message of Mahatma Gandhi, whose 150th birth anniversary we celebrated this year.
Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Indian Express Group, said: “The voices of these survivors force us to remind ourselves that even in these polarised times, the majority of India is fiercely moderate.”
On November 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists arrived by sea route and opened fire indiscriminately at people killing 166, including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others, besides damaging property worth crores.
The then Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, Army Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Mumbai’s Additional
Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte, Senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar and Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Tukaram Omble were among those killed in the attack.
The attacks had begun on November 26 and lasted till November 29. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Hotel, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital and the Nariman House Jewish community centre, now renamed Nariman Light House, were some of the places targeted by the terrorists.
Ajmal Kasab was the only terrorist who was captured alive. He was hanged four years later on November 21, 2012.