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When the City of Stars Shattered into Splinters of Terror

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25th November, 2021 18:46 IST

Happened on 26th November 2008

No force could stop the bustling financial capital of India – Mumbai, but the day when serial blasts of terror took place in yesteryear Bombay; things came to a standstill!

It was 9:20 p.m., just ten minutes before the tragedy struck. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus had the bystanders waiting for the train to Pune, which was running late. Somewhere in South Bombay, Café Leopold was bustling as usual with visitors.

The abode of luxury and elite gatherings, Hotel Taj has been a symbol of the city’s heritage for the past 105 years; adding up to the glory of the city. Similarly, Hotel Oberoi Trident was plunging into the serenity of November night, while the Nariman House in another corner was resting with the Jews residing in it. Things were transcending as usual with an eerie sense of being far away from the conscious of men and women enjoying the night and gatherings, with their plans for the night!

As the clock struck 9:30, Mumbaikars were left in a hysterical state when the news flashed with a sudden serial terror attack across the city of Mumbai. It was 9:30 p.m. when the news channels across India started reporting the blasts in Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station (CST) and indiscriminate firings at innocent people.

Bloodshed and destruction were in the air. Some of Southern Bombay’s most famous locations were burning with terror, as the people were screaming for help in fear and regret of staying out that night. The attacks, the motives, and the origin of the tragedy were yet not known. After around 5 hours, two groups of MARCOS team surrounded Hotel Oberoi Trident and Hotel Taj which was under terror siege and was reported to have been made terrorist’s haven for the night.

Café Leopold, Cama Hospital, Oberoi Trident, Taj Palace Hotel, and CST was now covered by 800 men of forces. NSG arrived at ground zero and planned to infiltrate the hotel in the siege, Taj Palace. It was planned the attack shall be conducted from both ends to trap the terrorists in the hotel.

Hotel Oberoi Trident was clear as the terrorists couldn’t survive the blazing fire. The hostages in Nariman house were shot and soon the terrorists also lost the game. It was noon on 27th November, and Taj Palace was still under siege as a number of rooms were being evacuated constantly. The terrorists were planning to escape the wrath they were trapped in, as predicted, the men soon began to escape and were met with an encounter with the forces leading to the forces registering their victory.

Ten men were assigned with the motive of shaking the city of Mumbai, which was linked to the terror group based in Pakistan, Lashkare-Taiba. Out of the ten, nine were dead and one was caught alive during an encounter.

It was reported that after the indiscriminate shooting the terrorists were fleeing after hijacking the police van of the officials who were assigned to capture them. The news was forwarded and soon, the city was barricaded. Assistant Sub-inspector, Shahid Tukaram Omble started following the car and the terrorists were halted. Tukaram soon got hold of the man firing at him, who was the lone surviving terrorist Kasab. The terrorist kept firing his AK-47 at him, but to no avail, as he was caught by bare hands. Sub Inspector Tukaram Omble succumbed to his injuries and the siege on the city was over.

The day when Mumbai came still, haunts every Mumbaikar to date, which led to the death of 175 innocent people, out of which 26 were foreign nationals, and 300 people were seriously injured. The attack was condemned by the world, leading to a vast investigation. Yet, the souls and the kins of those who couldn’t survive it state the mastermind and leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba still roams freely, with no remorse for his barbaric deeds. The constant requests by Indian officials to apprehend the man, have gone unheard!

The brave souls who lost their lives to such attack shall never be forgotten, and always be remembered by the nation.

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