Mumbia Terror Attack - History

Mumbia Terror Attack - History


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A terror attack in Mumbai shccked Inda. A total of 166 people were killed by 10 terrorist who attacked multiple targets. The terrorist had come from Palistan.


On Wednesday night November 26th,2008 gunman from the Lashkar-e-Taiba, terrorist group from Pakistan attacked 10 targets around Mumbai India. Their main targets included a crowded railroad station, the two largest hotels in the city, the Taj Mahal the Oberoi Hotel, and the Chabad Jewish Community Center. In these three locations the terrorist seized hostages.

The Indian police and army were very slow in their response. It was not until Friday that they were able to assault the Chabad house and that attack took 12 hours. All the hostages were dead and according to the medical examiner the Jewish hostages there were tortured before being killed. In the four days that it took the Indian government to gain total control of the situation, over 170 people were killed.

India blamed Pakistan for not gaining control of the Pakistani based terrorist. The Indian government demanded that Pakistani government crack down on Lashkar-e Taiba. Many observers believe that the organization receives help from the Pakistani intelligence services


4 Survivors Of 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks Recall Their Brush With Death

Lachmi Deb Roy 2020-11-25T21:54:20+05:30 4 Survivors Of 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks Recall Their Brush With Death
Also read

It has been 12 years since Mumbai witnessed the most horrific terrorist attack in the city's history. Four survivors of recount their memories of that horrific night to Outlook&rsquos Lachmi Deb Roy.

Sonali Chatterjee, a media professional from Delhi


It was 12 years back, so memories do fade a bit over time, but some are as fresh as if it were yesterday. Our entire editorial team was down in Mumbai and all of us were checked in at the Taj Hotel. On the morning of November 26, when I reached the hotel, I remember hanging up all my clothes (for all the programmes in the next two to three days) and holding a series of meetings in the coffee shop and the business centre.

In the evening, a few of us went out for dinner and came back to the hotel around 9.30 pm. I was on the 17th floor of the new wing of the Taj Hotel. I got a call from my boss, who was in the heritage wing, and he said that he had heard shots and told me to lock my door. My first impression was that it must be crackers. Nevertheless, I did lock my door.

At 10.45 pm the phone in the room rang. It was an employee of Taj, who said that there had been an incident in the lobby and we were to switch off our lights, lock and barricade our doors and not open it for anyone other than Taj staff, and then she hung up. I tried asking her what was going on, and desperately called and pressed every button on the phone (reception, housekeeping, room service) but there was no answer. That&rsquos when I realised something was wrong.

After that, I heard the sound of continuous gunfire through the next few hours and loud explosions in between. We were sitting in our dark rooms, speaking to our family members across the world and to our colleagues. Our news organisation constituted a global Task Force on email which included four of us at the hotel. Their message was clear&mdashall four of us were to write back every 15 minutes to report if we were fine or not. In the meanwhile, they got our exact locations in the hotel.

I remember feeling cold, thirsty, but remarkably alert. I probably lost track of time, when we got an email from the head of the editorial, just three words&mdash&lsquoGet out now&rsquo.

We knew the hotel was on fire. That email kind of jerked us back to the immediate situation. He said it was best to wet a towel, as there may be smoke outside, and then make a run for it. I called my husband and told him I was heading out and would call him as soon as I was out. I opened the door and came out to a quiet and empty corridor. By force of habit, I walked to the elevator, but then cursed myself and tried to look for the fire escape and finally found it.

The fire escape was narrow and poorly lit, and as I kept going down, the gunfire became louder and louder. I was thinking that if anyone came into the stairs with a gun, there was nothing I could do. After what seemed an eternity, I reached a door with a push bar which read &ldquoif you push bar, the alarm will ring&rdquo. I probably hesitated for a few seconds, I had no idea where it would lead, but I just mustered courage and pushed, and found myself in the back lane of the Taj. Someone screamed to run for the main road, which we did. My boss, who was in the heritage wing, came running out a few minutes later. Our other colleague at the heritage wing came out almost 30 minutes later. The exit she had tried to take was blocked, she had to climb over a few bodies and finally jumped out of a first-floor window.

We went to the house of our Mumbai correspondent in South Mumbai and then I flew back to Delhi. I went to the office on Friday (November 28), I was absolutely fine. But Saturday (November 29) morning, I broke down and went to pieces. Survivors guilt, after seeing the commandos and old friends from the media who had not made it. I may still have a document of all our emails that night, the four of us rarely ever spoke of it. I went back to the Taj two years later for a meal at the Wasabi, with a client and my boss was there as well. As we walked into the hotel, he just said, &ldquoWe have never spoken about it ever, have we?&rdquo

Varsha Talreja Kansara, PR professional, Mumbai

We were a group of eight friends celebrating one of our friend&rsquos birthday. We rented a ferry boat that would sail for three hours, just off the coast from the Gateway of India. Loaded with our party supplies, some snacks and music, we started out in the boat at around 6 pm. The plan later was to head to one of our favourite hangouts&mdashLeopold Café or Indus&mdashwhich was located right behind the Taj Mahal hotel. Some more friends were to join us to bring in the birthday at midnight.

That would have been the ideal celebration, of course, but none of that happened. It was almost 9 pm, and our boat was heading back to the Gateway for docking. A friend called her driver and asked him to fetch some of us outside after a few minutes. He said he had been asked by the authorities to leave the area so he wouldn't be able to, and that there were terrorists outside. He said this and disconnected. We laughed it off, assuming he was joking, or drunk, or just being plain lazy and making excuses.

However, as soon as we arrived at the docking zone, we had a patrol boat come and warn us briefly, citing the same situation. It was then that we believed it to be real. We were asked to turn off all the lights and the music on the boat, and stay put until further notice. The driver powered off the engine and joined us. There was a similar ferry with about 30 or 40 school children right in front of us who were instructed to do the same. We saw them all crouch on the floor in fear.

Next, it was our parents who had started calling us frantically, but not knowing what to advise us to do. Our friends and colleagues, too, called to check on us. Based on what they heard on the news, they informed us that some terrorists had entered the Taj and Leopold Café, and there were casualties being reported. We were in utter shock and disbelief. They weren't able to keep us further apprised of the situation outside as our phones had soon run out of power, or lost connectivity by then.

In the next few moments, it seemed like all hell had broken loose. We could see for ourselves, although from a distance, people running in all directions, screaming. This continued for a couple of hours, and we sat silently and in complete darkness.

Finally, close to midnight, we were informed by the cops that we could get out around the corner bend in a single file and move into the nearby Yacht Club for safety. The good folks at the Club, which is in close proximity to the Taj Mahal hotel, were providing safe shelter by letting in civilians that night.

I remember one particular moment so vividly as if it were yesterday. As I put one foot forward to step into the gate at the Club, I heard a gunshot. The loudest and the scariest sound ever! A chill ran down my spine. My friends and I froze in horror, and the next minute, we scampered inside. The ordeal continued all night. There were several others like us gathered inside, glued to the news on TV. It was then that we learnt about all the other spots in the city that had been targeted.

In the morning, there was finally some relief. The din had stopped. We peeked through the curtains to see commandos positioned on the balconies of the hotel. It was around 11 am when a TOPS security van was arranged for us to be dropped off home to safety. The streets were deserted and there was an eerie silence all around. At that time, what we went through felt like a lot, but on hearing about so many innocent lives that were lost, and so many brave souls who fought to keep others safe, we just felt blessed to be back home.

Anup Sheth, a former senior staffer at the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai

The day is embedded in my memory as if it happened yesterday. I was the Assistant Manager of Golden Dragon at The Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai. It all started as a normal day for us until 9.15 at night, when everything changed. I was interacting with a guest who had come to dine in the restaurant. We heard some noises and we thought it to be firecrackers because there was a wedding going on in the hotel. But slowly the noise became intense. At that point in time, it was very difficult to relate to gunshots because I have never experienced or heard a live gunshot before in my life. Again, at the same time, I was sure that it was not firecrackers.

As a protocol, what we do generally is inform the operators. While I was standing at the hostess desk, I threw the key to the manager to lock the main door. And when the door was just being locked, we saw a terrorist entering. He was wearing an orange cap, a red and orange T-shirt and cargo pants. He could be easily mistaken as any normal Bombay college boy and then he pointed the gun at the ceiling. And for a moment I thought it to be a toy gun. As he fired at the ceiling, we all dived behind a pillar. We, unfortunately, couldn&rsquot switch off the lights because the entire light panel was next to the main door. We moved everyone to the Chamber on the first floor for the next seven hours.

It was a Wednesday night and the hotel was packed with guests. At around 3.30 am, we got the evacuation permission. Then we heard gunshots again and by hearing the intensity of the shot we were very sure that it was happening on our floor and that we were very close to it. Just before the Chamber, there is a fire exit and I took the fire exit to go down at the Food and Beverages office. The ceiling was shaking so I hid under a desk. Then I heard some footsteps and from under the table, I could see black shoes and black trousers. They were the Naval personnel who had come to rescue us and there was a hotel security manager also who was along with them. They asked me to take the lobby route and walk out of the hotel. It was around 5 am in the morning.

I lost Chef Hemant, one of my closest friends. He was 24-year-old. The bullet hit his shoulder and punctured his lungs. Sadly, a lot of chefs were the first to come in the line of fire.

Celebrity Chef Amrita Raichand, Mumbai

26/11 is my birthday and so it makes it all the spookier and scarier. We were at the Wasabi at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai with a family friend of ours. As luck would have it our table was booked for 9.30 pm. I wanted to sit at the harbour bar and my husband and I had to go to another friend&rsquos party after an early dinner. But our family friend had a suite just above Wasabi, so we decided to have a drink at his suite and then go. Anyways, thank god, my demand wasn&rsquot heard upon. So, we ended up going to the room.

We were having our first round of drinks and my entire family was present there and my one-year-old son was at home. Then we heard some sounds and we thought it to be firecrackers. After some time, we realised that something was amiss. We called up at the reception and they said that they also don&rsquot know what is going on and we were asked to stay in our rooms. Through the windows, we looked down on the porch of the Taj and suddenly we saw bodies being taken out. Strangely enough, the first people who were shot at were inside the Harbour Bar where I was insisting to go. Suddenly, all our windows were shattered and that&rsquos when we realised that this is a terrorist attack. We decided that we will not try and escape. We turned off the lights and we were hoping that somebody would come to rescue us. But then finally at 5 am my brother who was not present at the hotel found out that there was a second fire brigade coming to rescue the people trapped at the Taj.

My husband switched on the lights and started waving through the windows to the white cars and luckily, they spotted us. Around 7.30 am, they rescued us and we were immediately rushed to the first ambulance which brought us home. And I saw my son, which I was just not hopeful about, and kept thinking had my family been wiped out, my son wouldn&rsquot have any of us. But I guess God wanted us to live on. That was the most traumatic and also, the most dramatic night of my life. I could see the chandeliers breaking, windows shattering in front of my eyes. So, every 26/11 I start getting calls and for the longest time, I didn&rsquot celebrate my birthday.


12 years of 26/11 Mumbai attack: 10 fast facts you should know about the darkest days in history of India

New Delhi| Jagran News Desk: Twelve years ago on this day, India witnessed one of the darkest days in the history as one of the most brutal terror attack ever carried out by terrorists. Ten Lashkar - e Taiba terrorists entered Mumbai and carried out a series of shooting and bombing attacks for four days killing 164 people and injuring over 300.

At that time, the terrorist who participated in 26/11 attacks were trained and they came through sea route to enter India. Their main motive was to create terror and get some key terrorists released a la Kandhar hijacking episode.

Here are 10 Fast Facts that you need to know about the 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attack:

1. The Mumbai terror attack was planned several months ago in advance. The terrorist involved in this attack used at least three SIM cards purchased on the India-Bangladesh border. There were also reports that a SIM card was purchased in the US state New Jersey.

2. On November 21, 2008, ten terrorists left Pakistan in the boat and came to India. On their way, they also killed four fishermen and hijacked an Indian trawler, the Kuber and threatened the captain to sail to India on 23rd November.

3. On November 26, 2008, the terrorists killed the captain and headed towards Colaba in inflatable speedboats.

4. The terrorists before entering Mumbai, they consumed LSG, cocaine, and steroids to keep them awake and active.

5. Ajmal Kasam was the only terrorist who was caught alive was booked under various acts including Arms Act, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Explosives Act, Customs Act, Waging war against the country and other various sections of Railway Act. Not only this, but he was also booked for entering railway premises without a proper ticket.

6. Retired army man Tukaram Omble and Assistant sub-inspector of Mumbai Police gave their life to nab the lone surviving terrorist Ajmal Kasab. Omble was awarded the Ashoka Chakra for extraordinary bravery and valour in the line of duty.

7. The ten terrorist who came to Mumbai killed around 64 people and injuring more than 600 people, all of the terrorists were killed but one was caught alive- Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, who was hanged to death on 21 November 2012 in Yerwada jail, Pune.

8. It is said that Hafiz Saeed, leader of Jama'at-ud-Da'wah was the mastermind behind the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

9. There were around six explosions at the Taj Mahal Hotel and Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka Holtzberg, who was six months pregnant, were murdered with four other hostages inside the house by the attackers.

10. Marine Commandos also played a crucial role in this and Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan of the NSG was killed during the rescue of Commando Sunil Yadav, who was hit in the leg by a bullet during the rescue operations at Taj.


Also read

Barack Obama on Dr Manmohan Singh: Had resisted calls to retaliate against Pakistan after 26/11 attacks

Nirmala Ponnudurai says that she was going to get married before the Mumbai attack. She was at Chhatrapati Shivaji Station when the militants started firing. Bullets penetrated Nirmala's head. A person took her to the hospital on a cart. She got married in November the same year, and after that, they got their operation done. A few days after the surgery, paralysis affected the face.


Background Information

Facts about the November 2008 Mumbai Terrorist Attacks

The attacks began around 9:40 p.m. on Wednesday, November 26, 2008.
The last of the attacks was declared at an end on the following Saturday morning, November 29.

The Targets

There were multiple, coordinated attacks on targets across Mumbai, India’s largest city, financial capital, and home to the Bollywood film industry.

The most notable targets were:
1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – formerly known as Victoria Station
2. The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel
3. Leopold Café
4. The Trident-Oberoi Hotel
5. Nariman House, a Jewish community center
6. Cama Hospital
There were also shootings in the streets and strikes on many other locations.

Just 10 gunmen, Indian authorities say, were responsible for the attacks. Many people dispute this figure, arguing that help from others must have been necessary to gain access and carry out the attacks.

They came by boat from Pakistan and on landing in Mumbai Harbour, split up into pairs and spread out across the city.

They were from Jihadist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure). Despite their proclaimed Islamist agenda, there were scores of Muslims amongst their victims. The bodies of the nine gunmen who were killed remain unclaimed, in Mumbai’s morgue: the Indian Islamic Council has declined to give them an Islamic burial.

The lone surviving gunman, 21-year old, Azam Amir Kasab is currently on trial in India, on a host of charges ranging from making war on India to fare evasion at Victoria Station.

The Course of the Attacks

The attacks were mounted within minutes of each other. Some were straight out attacks, such as the strike on Victoria Station and the Leopold Café. At The Taj Hotel and the Oberoi Hotel and Nariman House, there were multiple killings as the gunmen entered the buildings and then a state of siege developed. In both hotels, the gunmen went from floor to floor and room to room seeking out targets. They also lit fires and threw grenades. Many people perished in the smoke.

Hundreds of people caught up in the attacks later reported that their mobile phones had been critical to their survival. The ability to access information literally meant the difference between life and death. News reports gathered instantly from all over the world informed those suddenly caught up in the terror, that this was not a hit and run attack, that the gunmen were still in the building and to stay in hiding until they were told it was safe to leave.

Shockingly, the same media coverage and consumer communications technology used by the victims were also used by the terrorists to hunt down their victims and further their mission.

172 people were killed in the attacks.

These included many local Mumbaikars, as well as visitors from all over the world. At both hotels, many staff died or were wounded as they attempted to protect their guests.

Stories and Incidents

1. Debra Bayne’s daughter Deirdre, was on the other side of the world in British Columbia. She was doing research in a remote village with indigenous communities, but still saw news of the attacks on her hotel TV. When news of the attack broke, the chief insisted on collecting Deirdre from her hotel and Deirdre watched the rest of the siege unfold on TV from his home, surrounded by his family. At one stage Debra was able to reassure Deirdre that she was a long way from the fighting, high up on the 19th floor, while all the gunfire was downstairs in the lobby. Not long after, news reports showed that the gunmen had moved up through the Oberoi Hotel – the floor they had dug in on? The 19th.

2. Michael and Anjali Pollack were married in the Taj Hotel. They were back having dinner with friends when the attacks began. Before dinner, Anjali went to buy a book in the bookshop on the other side of the hotel. If she had stayed only a few more minutes, she would have been caught in the opening gunfire in the lobby.

3. Meltem Müezzino?lu’s telephone was seized by the gunmen and used to communicate with their handlers in Pakistan over the next days. Meltem’s husband Seyfi says they later got a bill many times the normal amount.

4. Anthony Rose credits his mobile phone with saving his life in the Taj hotel – being connected to information from all over the world instantly gave him the best possible options to survive. Within an hour of escaping from the siege, and giving a quick interview to news cameras, he’d become part of the news cycle too: immortalized by a young man in Texas who saw the interview and uploaded to YouTube a song he wrote on the spot: The Ballad Of Anthony Rose.


Eleven years since 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks

The second site of the attack was Nariman House business and residential complex where a Rabbi, his wife, and six others, including five Israeli citizens, were killed by the terrorists who first held them as a hostage.

The two-year-old child of the Rabbi couple, Moshe, survived in the attack. Then 'Baby Moshe' became a face of the innocent victims of ruthless terrorism.

In July 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Moshe during his visit to Israel. Later, in January 2018 the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on also met the survivor of 26/11, Moshe Holtzberg at Nariman House in Mumbai.

The attack and seize finally culminated on the morning of November 29, 2008, after the National Security Guards (NSG) secured the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

By the time commandos of the National Security Guards (NSG) gunned down the last terrorists who had been holed up in south Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace hotel, over 160 people were killed and hundreds were left injured.In these gruesome attacks, 9 terrorists were killed and the lone survivor, Ajmal Amir Kasab, was caught and was sentenced to death at Yerwada Central Jail in Pune in 2012.

New Delhi has, time and again, protested against Islamabad for harboring Saeed, who is wanted for allegedly plotting the 2008 attack. India's stand on Hafiz has been supported by many International personalities including a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director and former Afghanistan President.

Ties between India and Pakistan have remained tense since the 2008 Mumbai terror attack and nosedived after the Uri and Pulwama terror attack by Pakistan-based terrorists in September 2016 and Feburary, 2019 respectively, in which many soldiers lost their lives.

After combating the attack several policy decisions were taken to strengthen nations anti-terrorism framework. One of the immediate decisions the then government took after the attacks were to deploy the NSG commandos in few metropolitan cities. Later on, several NSG hubs were set up for faster response to terror attacks.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday remembered the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks on its eleventh anniversary and said that the nation is committed to defeating all forms of terrorism.
"On the 11th anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks, we remember everyone who lost their lives and mourn with their families. A grateful nation salutes the security personnel who made the supreme sacrifice. We remain firm in our resolve to defeat all forms of terrorism," he tweeted.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday paid tribute to the victims of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, in which as many as 166 people were killed while another 300 were injured."My tributes to all those who lost their lives in the dastardly Mumbai terror attack of 2008. We stand in solidarity with the bereaved families. I salute the bravery and devotion of our security personnel who laid down their lives to protect the motherland," Naidu said.


Made up of the 10 southern-most states of Sudan, South Sudan is one of the most diverse countries in Africa. It is home to over 60 different major ethnic groups, and the majority of its people follow traditional religions. Independence did not bring conflict in South Sudan to an end.

South Sudan, also called Southern Sudan, country located in northeastern Africa. Its rich biodiversity includes lush savannas, swamplands, and rainforests that are home to many species of wildlife. Prior to 2011, South Sudan was part of Sudan, its neighbour to the north.


How 26/11 Mumbai attack happened in 2008: From first eyewitness to Kasab

On November 23, 2008, ten Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, trained by Pakistani military and spy agency ISI, left Karachi for Mumbai via sea. They entered India three days later on November 26, hijacking a ship owned by Indian fishermen and killing them en route.

They targeted high-profile places including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Taj Hotel at the Gateway of India, Cafe Leopold, Chabad House, Rang Bhavan Lane near Cama Hospital and St Xavier's College.

More than 160 people including 18 police officers and two NSG commandoes were killed. Around 310 others were injured as a fight back by security forces continued for about 60 hours.

Though, the terrorists were dressed as tourists, the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack of 2008 was considered as a professional commando operation of Pakistani military and ISI by experts.


Did the siege of the hotel really last for days?

Throughout the film, guests and staff remain trapped in the hotel, stalked by murderous terrorists for days on end, as security forces remain outside. This depiction of events is pretty close to the reality of the situation during the chaotic days of Nov. 26 to 29, 2008. According to a RAND report, it took nearly 10 hours for India&rsquos elite NSG commandos to arrive on the scene of the attacks in Mumbai, in part due to the fact that the country&rsquos rapid-reaction force was based near Delhi, hundreds of miles away. In the meantime, civilians trapped in the Taj Hotel and other hostage situations around Mumbai were essentially left to fend for themselves. It wasn&rsquot until the morning of Nov. 29 that counterterrorism operatives finally cleared the building and the siege of the Taj Hotel officially ended.


Mumbai 26/11 attacks: Six corpses, a mobile phone call and one survivor

The Mumbai terror attacks of 26 November 2008 left 166 people dead and soured ties between India and Pakistan. During the 60-hour siege, the gunmen also ambushed a group of policemen, including three of the city's top officers travelling in a vehicle and killed six of them. The only surviving policeman, Arun Jadhav, tells the grisly story of his escape.

The thick air inside the Toyota SUV stank of gunpowder and blood.

In the cramped rear of the squad vehicle, head constable Arun Jadhav helplessly slid down his seat, blood oozing out of gunshot wounds on his right hand and left shoulder.

Three constables, two dead and one barely breathing, had collapsed on top of him after being hit by a hail of gunfire from two men firing AK-47s.

In the middle seat, the top policeman in charge of the city's anti-terror unit had slammed against the window and died after being shot in the chest.

And in the front, gunshots had sliced through an officer and an inspector. In the driver's seat, a senior inspector with a formidable reputation for taking on the city's gangsters, lay slumped over the steering wheel.

Outside, a night of hell was descending swiftly on Mumbai.

It was the evening of 26 November 2008. India's teeming financial and entertainment capital was in the throes of one of the most shocking terror attacks the world had ever seen.

Ten heavily-armed militants, all Pakistani nationals, had arrived by sea in the evening, split into groups, hijacked vehicles and attacked targets, including the main railway station, two luxury hotels, a Jewish cultural centre and a hospital. The 60-hour siege of the city had left 166 dead and soured ties between India and Pakistan.

Mr Jadhav and six other policemen had rushed out in the white SUV to take out two of the gunmen who had attacked a hospital for women and children in the heart of the battered city. But the staff had kept their cool and locked the wards of the 367-bed hospital to save the patients.

Police had entered the hospital, and a senior officer had fired a round to meet the gunfire coming from an upper floor. The gunmen had left the building and were hiding in a palm-fringed lane behind the hospital when the SUV with dimmed headlights and a flashing red beacon drove up slowly.

Within seconds, the hunters became the hunted. The gunmen promptly ambushed the vehicle and emptied two magazines into it. Only Mr Jadhav had been able to respond - firing three shots at the gunmen from the rear of the vehicle - and survive the barrage.

The gunmen quickly dragged out the three dead officers from the front and middle seats and dumped them on the street. One of them joked that only one of the dead policemen was wearing a bulletproof vest. They came to the rear to take the three remaining men out, but were unable to open the door.

Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab and Ismail Khan then drove off with what they thought were four corpses in the rear.

In reality, one of them was alive another was breathing shallowly. The two other men were dead.

Suddenly, breaking the silence, a mobile phone began ringing in dying constable Yogesh Patil's pocket. He had forgotten to put it on silent mode before joining the operation.

Qasab, who was in the passenger's seat, pivoted around and fired an additional burst of fire into the rear. The bullets ripped through the middle seat, finally killing Mr Patil.

Mr Jadhav, unbeknownst to the gunmen, now remained the only policeman alive, bathed in blood and buried under a pile of corpses.

"If Qasab had turned his gun a little more I would have been dead."

Studies of near-death experiences often report people feeling a sensation of peacefulness and a detachment from the body, seeing a bright light at the end of a tunnel and encountering apparitions.

Mr Jadhav, who had cut his teeth fighting crime in Mumbai's gritty neighbourhoods, says he felt nothing of the sort.

Memories of his family began unspooling in his mind. He thought his time had finally run out.

"I am going to die very soon," Mr Jadhav, now 51, remembers telling himself.

"I was remembering my wife, my children, my parents.

Mr Jadhav says he made an effort to pick up his loaded automatic rifle which had fallen on the floor, but there was no strength left in his wounded arm. He regretted giving away his 9mm pistol to a colleague before boarding the vehicle. "I could have easily killed the gunmen from the back with a lighter weapon."

The vehicle was now being driven recklessly without any direction. At a crossing the gunmen fired at bystanders, sparking further panic. Police had fired at the vehicle and a bullet had hit a rear tyre.

The wireless in the vehicle of death crackled with panicky messages of the unfolding attacks. "There's been some firing from a police van just now!" a message said.

The gunmen drove around for 20-odd minutes until the punctured tyre wore out. They abandoned the vehicle, stopped a Skoda sedan, pulled out its three terrified riders, hijacked the vehicle and drove off towards the city's seaside boulevard.

There, they ran into a police checkpoint. After a gunfight, in which Ismail and a policeman was killed, Qasab became the only gunman to be caught alive.

"I had played dead, watching everything from the back," Mr Jadhav says.

He had managed to pick up the wireless receiver and radio the control room. He told them about the ambush, the bodies of the policemen in the lane and in his vehicle and sought help. When the ambulance arrived, he walked into it without assistance, and was taken to hospital.

Among those who were killed in the vehicle were three of the city's top cops: chief of the city's anti-terrorist squad Hemant Karkare, additional commissioner Ashok Kamte, and Inspector Vijay Salaskar. After joining the Mumbai police in 1988, Mr Jadhav had worked his way up the ranks, and joined Mr Salaskar's team to "eliminate" the city's gangsters.

At his one-room home, Mr Jadhav's wife and three school-going children had followed the attacks on TV all night. They had prayed and howled when the news of the ambush broke.

From the hospital, Mr Jadhav spoke to his wife briefly early the next morning, after which he was wheeled into surgery to have five bullets removed from his arm and shoulder. Doctors treating him were surprised that he had not gone into shock. He told them he had escaped with bullet injuries twice in the past while chasing gangsters. He was back at work in seven months.

Mr Jadhav also became the prime witness in the conviction of Qasab, identifying him in prison, and relating to judges the chilling details of the carnage in the squad vehicle. In May 2010, Qasab was handed the death penalty, and two years later, hanged in a prison in Pune city.

Mr Jadhav received gallantry awards for his bravery and was compensated for his injuries. His eldest daughter was provided with a government job, and his two other children - a son and daughter - are in college studying engineering and computer science.

Ten years later, life hasn't changed much for Mr Jadav. At work, he continues to chase gangsters, extortionists and car thieves. Two rounds of surgery later, his partially-disabled arm - "It still hurts quite a bit" - means that he has to be extra careful.

A few things have changed all right. He has to keep calling his wife whenever he goes out for an "operation", keeping the family informed about his whereabouts - after all, on that fateful November day, he had spent his entire day looking unsuccessfully for a mobster before being called in to help hunt down the militants.

On 26 November, the 10th anniversary of the attack, a film containing an interview with Mr Jadhav will be shown near the Gateway of India overlooking the iconic Taj Hotel, which was one of the prime targets.

Billboards carrying a picture of him, two other survivors and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan have sprung up all over Mumbai for a memorial organised by The Indian Express newspaper.

But Mr Jadhav, a tough, non-fussy policeman, will not be in the city. He, along with his family, will be visiting a guru's ashram in northern India to take his blessings and "find peace".

"Peace of mind can be difficult to keep after such an incident," Mr Jadhav says.

"During the nights, when I wake up, I am often unable to sleep again. Some of the memories of the night still return to my mind.

"I often wonder how did I come out alive in the carnage? I have no idea. Was I plain lucky? Was it karma? Was it some higher thing? I guess I will never know."



Comments:

  1. Ditaxe

    Absolutely with you it agree. It seems to me it is very excellent idea. Completely with you I will agree.

  2. Pessach

    It's amazing! Admirably!

  3. Danny

    Quite right! I think this is a good idea. And she has a right to life.



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