The security forces had never thought an attack of the magnitude of 26/11 would ever take place and that it was a “failure of imagination” on their part, a top police official of the Mumbai Police said on Saturday. “We never thought there could be a terrorist attack at multiple points from the sea side. After the attacks, police of other countries had to change their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to handle 5-6 attacks at the same time,” Joint Commissioner (Law & Order), Mumbai Police, Deven Bharti said.
He was speaking at a panel discussion during a video exhibition titled ’26/11: Stories of Strength’, at Kala Ghoda in South Mumbai, which was showcased by The Indian Express in association with Facebook and Instagram. Bharti, who was with the Crime branch when the attack took place on November 26, 2008, said city police did not have SOPs to handle an attack of this magnitude then and the senior personnel did whatever they could with the help of their teams, grit and determination.
“That attack was a failure of our imagination. But today, we have a fighting force as good as National Security Guards which is trained by agencies based in Israel, America and Germany. They are at par with any commandos. We can respond to a terror situation in a much better way today,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kia Scherr, who lost her family in the ghastly attacks said, she and her family in Florida could only watch news and wait to hear from her relatives who were in the city then. “I have forgiven those who killed my family because I want to be relieved from the burden of anger. Since the attacks, I have been reborn in Mumbai again. I have received so much of love, generosity from people here,” she said.
Sourav Mishra, another survivor of the attack who was part of the discussion, said he was at Cafe Leopold in Colaba when the terrorists opened fire and he feels lucky to have survived. “After bullets were lodged in my body, I somehow managed to escape through one of the doors and everything seemed like a movie scene then, all hazy. A local vendor outside the cafe took me to the hospital while I was all the time thinking I would not survive. I feel lucky today,” Mishra said.