5 Things To Know About India’s 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attack
Around 20.00 hours on 26 November 2008, Terrorist attacked several high-profile places in Mumbai that includes Taj Hotel, Oberai Hotel, Chhatrapati Sivaji Terminus Railway station and Leopold Café. More than 166 people were killed including 26 foreign nationals and 300 people were injured. This was the first time a large-scale terrorist attack was orchestrated especially on foreigners, thus making it international news.
There were a total of 10 terrorists who came by boat from Karachi. 6 of them disembark at the Macchimar nagar while the remaining 4 sail further south to Badhwar Park. 4 enter Taj Hotel, 2 enter Nariman house, 2 enter Oberoi Hotel which is interconnected with Taj Hotel and the remaining 2 enter the CST railway station. 9 terrorists are killed and a wounded Ajmal Kasab is captured.
- A Chaiwala (Tea Seller) almost got killed in the CST railway station on that dreadful day. After an explosion nearby he called for help to a passing commando who turned out to be Ajmal Kasab, one of the terrorist. Kasab started abusing and opened fire at the people inside the ticket counter where the chaiwala was hiding. A railway employee was seriously injured. He helped the railway master to nearby hospital and stayed back at the station to help others.
- Varun (name changed) a chef at Taj Banquet Kitchen in Hotel Taj, narrowly escaped death and was the lone survivor out of 7 chefs from that kitchen. When the attack happened many guests poured into the kitchen seeking shelter. After some time, all of them tried to escape through the back entrance when two terrorists emerged and started shooting. The first to fall were the head chef and sous chef and Varun hid behind a refrigerator. He ran back into the kitchen and waited for rescuers. Finally when he came out all his friends lay dead with many other guests. The refrigerator behind which he sheltered himself from gunshot had 3 bullet holes.
- Assistant Sub Inspector Tukaram Omble’s sacrificed his life and helped in capture of terrorist Kasab. Police had barricaded the Girgaum Chowpatty expecting two terrorists moving in a silver skoda car. On approaching the barricade they started firing at the police and Omble who was following the car in a motorcycle positioned himself between the two groups. He immediately went for the assault rifle held by Kasab disregarding his life. Though Kasab emptied the gun into Omble’s body, the sub-inspector did not let go of the gun and provided the perfect cover for his fellow personals to capture the terrorist.
- Hemant Karkare, Joint Commissioner of Police Mumbai Anti Terrorist Squad was killed during the fateful day. His death created a controversy surrounding the sub-standard bulletproof jacket that was provided to him. It raised more questions when the jacket was lost by the Indian authorities, who blamed a hospital staff for throwing it in a dustbin.
He along with other 6 members was travelling in a police jeep looking for the terrorists when they spotted Kasab and opened fire on him. The wounded Kasab lost his AK-47 and fled. Just at that time two more terrorists emerged from behind a tree and opened fire on the police vehicle. Instantly killing all but one Inspector Jadav seated at the back.
- The real unsung hero is Captain Ravi Dharnidharka, working in U.S Marine Corps, who was dinning at the 20th floor of Taj Mahal Hotel. When the shooting started he collaborated with few South African Ex-Commandos working for a private firm, and decided to take matters into their own hands. They ushered all the guests into a corridor and waited for some time for the rescue. Eventually realizing that the rescue operation would take more time, they evacuated 157 guests down the 20 floors safely, even carried a tired 84-year-old lady all the way down.