Reliving Mumbai’s nightmare of 26/11

Murali Gopalan
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Thanks to television, the magnitude of the attacks was beamed to living rooms acrossthe country

Ajmal Kasab’s date with his executioner on Wednesday morning was a well-kept secret. When the news was finally made public, not too many people shed tears.

The images of a gun-toting Kasab and the horrific carnage that began in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 and went on till November 29 will not be forgotten easily. His hanging will hopefully erase the last memories of a merciless killing spree that snuffed out hundreds of innocent lives.

What began as yet another routine evening for most Mumbaikars four years ago soon unfolded into a nightmare. The typically chaotic CST railway terminus, where people are in a rush to board their local trains back home, turned into a bloodbath on November 26. As news began pouring in of attacks on other prominent landmarks like Leopold Café as well as the Oberoi and Taj hotels, it was evident that this was just not another act of terror, but something bigger and deadlier.

It was thanks to television that the magnitude of the attacks was beamed to living rooms across the country. The residents of Mumbai were petrified because they had never seen anything like this before. It only reminded them that their city was even more vulnerable than they thought. In the midst of this came the news of one terrorist being captured and Ajmal Kasab soon became the most reviled person in the country.

For the next four years, he was the man in the news and reminded us that he was still around. Till about a fortnight ago, speculation was rife that he had been hit by dengue in jail. He made it to the gallows instead. Next Monday will mark the fourth anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks. Kasab is dead but will still end up being the core of all studio discussions that day. It will take a while before he is completely forgotten.

(This article was published on November 21, 2012)
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