26/11: Remembering the martyrs

Rahul Thekdi Mumbai | Updated on January 23, 2018

Police personnel pay homage to the martyrs of the 26/11 terrorattacks in Mumbai VIVEK BENDRE

The noise of guns that devastated the city on this day seven years ago has today been replaced by the noise of rusted wheels of police barricades.

The iconic Gateway of India that witnessed much bloodshed on this day will on Thursday be dressed in shimmering lights. An eye catching rangoli and  a huge poster of the soldiers who lost their lives in the terror siege has also been mounted to welcome visitors who will gather to witness the commemorating ceremony. 

 On November 26, 2008, Mumbai was literally held hostage by 10 gunmen who attacked six locations: Leopold café, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Oberoi Trident, Cama Hospital, Nariman House and Taj Mahal Palace hotel facing the iconic Gateway of India.

Memorials put up

In fact, The Taj and Oberoi have put up memorials within the premises of their respective hotels to remember those lost in the attack. “There was (a) memorial service held for the employees which was addressed by Devendra Bharma, Executive Vice-President at the poolside of the hotel. He also asked us to be alert about any security threats. Candle lights were lit in the staff canteen to remind ourselves of the terrible event which happened at our hotel,” said a spokesperson for Oberoi Hotels & Resorts.

“It is an internal and private meeting that we have every year at the memorial we have set up inside the hotel for those who lost their lives,” said a spokesperson from Taj.

Meanwhile, the Gateway of India, a key attraction in the city that draws hundreds of tourists’ everyday, is expected to see more visitors, said a police official present at the venue. Amidst the hustle and bustle of people and tourists, life goes on in a small shop right behind The Taj Mahal Palace hotel. Simon and George, a laundry shop which has been here for more than 50 years now was witness to the carnage. “The families who lost their dear ones on this day in 2008 will never be able to forget that day,” says Shankar Prasad, an employee of the shop.

Others moved on

While some seem to be have difficulties in getting over the emotional damage of the 26/11 attacks, others have moved on with their ordinary lives. Leopold café, which was one of the first sites to be attacked, is today buzzing with people. The owner of the café who was busy handling multiple bills sternly refused to speak due to sentimental reasons.

Following the recent terror attacks in France and Mali, countries across the world have come to realise the growing threat facing their societies. But Prasad from the neighbouring laundry is optimistic. “If there is unity then that day is not far when terrorism will be wiped out from the world,” he says.

Published on November 26, 2015

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