Cops, commandos retrace terror route

Cops, commandos retrace terror route

A commando demonstrates his skills outside the Trident Hotel on the first anniversary of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai on Thursday. PTI

The march past was to honour the memory of 166 people killed in the terror strikes, which lasted for 62 hours. All save one terrorists were killed by the NSG commandos in their first real taste of urban terrorism of modern times.

As the commandos and QRT platoons marched past some of the city’s famous landmarks, the onlookers waved national flags and banners scribbled with slogans like ‘End the Violence.’ The Mumbai police showcased new weapons, amphibious and armoured vehicles bought after the 26/11 attacks, with the generous central funding.

The parade began from the Nariman Point, close to the Trident-Oberoi hotel - one of the targets of the 26/11 attacks. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal were also present.

The parade ended at Girguam-Chowpatty in South Mumbai, where one of the ten terrorists Ajmal Kasab was captured alive, while his accomplice Ismail Khan was killed in the encounter.

Thousands of commuters rushing to their offices halted to pay respects to those who were slaughtered in the attacks at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel also laid wreaths inside the station to remember the commuters and their colleagues brutally gunned down by terrorists.
The people also lit candles outside Nariman House, a Jewish centre, one of several sites  targeted by the Pakistan-based terrorists for three days.

A few people actually shouted “Hang Kasab” as they walked past the Taj Mahal hotel, where four terrorists killed 41 persons and battled with the NSG commandos.
Political parties too organised ceremonies to pay homage to the 26/11 martyrs. Hundreds of people donated blood at a blood donation camp organised at CST, where terrorists spilled blood of 58 innocent passengers waiting to board their trains on 26/11 night.

The chief minister himself encouraged volunteers to donate blood. The commuters paid tributes to the victims by offering flowers at a memorial. Prayers were also held with porters, railway workers and others laying wreaths at the memorial.

In yet another defiant signal to terrorists and their masterminds, Nariman House, whose five stories were ravaged by exchange of heavy fire of bullets and hand grenades, was reopened for the Jewish community and media.

Several portraits of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, who were among the six victims, were put up in the by-lanes of Nariman House, also known as Chabad House.

Inside the entracne of the building was a smiling photograph of the Rabbi and his wife, taken soon after their marriage.

Though the second floor of the building wears a fresh look now, it was on this floor that the two terrorists - Babar Imran and Nasir - ruthlessly killed the Rabbi, his pregnant wife and one of the guests.

After the terrorists went upstairs to look for more hostages, the Indian nanny Sandra Samuel, hiding in the storage room of the first floor with a cook Qazi Zakir Hussain, rushed to the second floor, where the Rabbi’s two-year old son Moshe was screaming. She wrapped him in her arms and fled out of the building in a miraculous escape. Moshe is now three years old and in Israel, taken care of by Sandra.

The terror impact is seen the most on the fourth floor as every inch of its walls is pockmarked with bullets from both the sides. A huge cavity caused by a grenade launched by the NSG commandos killing one terrorist still remains engraved on the wall opposite the main window on the fourth floor.

The only Jewish survivor of the attack, Daniel, had a miraculous escape after he jumped out of the third floor window from one air conditioner shaft to the other below. He now lives in Israel.

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