Mumbai salutes 26/11 victims
On the fifth anniversary of 26/11, Mumbai Tuesday held commemorative events across the city to remember the 166 Indians and foreigners killed by Pakistani terrorists.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, his cabinet colleagues and police officials along with a large number of families of the victims paid homage at a memorial at Police Gymkhana at Chowpatty.
Floral tributes were offered by, among others, Home Minister R.R. Patil and union Minister of State for Human Resource Shashi Tharoor.
Similar events have also been planned at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower and Oberoi Trident hotels, the Leopold Cafe and Nariman House, which were targeted by the terrorists during three days of mayhem Nov 26-29, 2008.
Obituary columns of newspapers carried photographs and tributes by family members, companies and employers of those killed five years ago.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus decided against making any arrangement to enable commuters to offer tributes at the railway station, which was one of the first and prominent targets of the terrorists.
"Life has moved on... We don't want to keep reminding people of those horrible days," a railway official said. "They can remember their near and dear ones in their hearts."
One of the survivors of the attack at Leopold Cafe, Bharat Gujjar, says memories of that chilling night have virtually gone.
"For how long can you live on memories and thinking about that tragic incident?" Gujjar said.
Sachin Bhonsale, whose father-policeman Balasaheb Bhonsale was killed near Chowpatty Beach while helping his colleagues to catch terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab, says the family has moved on.
"My mother still becomes emotional on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Our father had gone to work Wednesday and the next day the family got the earth-shattering news that he was dead," he said.
While his elder brother Deepak is working with Mumbai Police, Sachin has been given a job with the state government and also manages a petrol station given as compensation to the family.
On Monday, hundreds of students from international schools and colleges attending an exchange programme of WeSchool took a collective pledge to work for peace.
(Posted on 26-11-2013)