Nation Pays Homage To 26/11 Victims, Big B Sings, SRK PaintsMumbai and cities across the country paused in homage to the victims of the terror attack on its first anniversary on Thursday marked by candlelight vigils, prayer meetings and reassuring display of security by city
Mumbai and cities across the country paused in homage to the victims of the terror attack on its first anniversary on Thursday marked by candlelight vigils, prayer meetings and reassuring display of security by city police.
Bearing its sorrow with fortitude, Mumbai remembered its dead as the country stood united behind it in grief and resolve to vanquish terror a year after 10 gunmen arrived from Pakistan with their weapons blazing to snuff out the lives of 166 innocent persons during a bloody 60-hour siege. One guman Ajmal Kasab was captured alive.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal, teeming with ordinary people, Cama hospital tending to the sick and dying, India's icons of hospitality--Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Oberoi and Trident, or the modest Jewish centre in Nariman House, all silently remembered the unprecedented attack on the country's financial capital as the terrorists scripted a gory tale in blood with bullets.
From Shahrukh Khan who turned painter for the occasion to Amitabh Bachchan joining a chorus of singers, India's film fraternity also paid tribute to the heroes and victims of the 26/11 terror attacks.
Black-clad commandos rappelled down tall buildings, as prayers and vigils were held across Mumbai and silent tributes were held in Parliament and before India's cricket Test match with Sri Lanka in Kanpur.
Showing solidarity with the people of Mumbai, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram unveiled a martyrs' memorial for 18 security personnel including policemen killed during the terror attacks.
In Delhi, Parliament remembered the victims and resolved to unitedly defeat the forces of terrorism which posed the gravest threat to humanity.
A slew of memorials and events were held across the country with the underlying message "we are resilient and strong".
In Mumbai, candle light vigils, multi-faith prayer meetings, a smart parade by Maharashtra police's anti-terror arm `Force One' with an assortment of weaponry to reassure a shaken city about its safety and solemn promises to keep it out of harm's way marked the day-long commemoration.
Life in the city went on at the usual robust pace with the suburban trains, its lifeline, gobbling up and disgorging its vast multitudes, and streets and thoroughfares abuzz with activity. Leopold cafe where the first bullets were fired by the terrorists bustled with activity.
Children went to school and able-bodied to work, but all bowed reverently in solemn silence in front of large posters of the martyrs that dotted the city.
Posters of Mumbai police bravehearts--its ATS chief Hemant Karkare, Addl Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte, encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and constable Tukaram Ombale, who grappled with and pinned down Ajmal Kasab, the lone Pakistani gunman captured alive, dominated major streets.
Thousands who thronged the Gateway of India for a memorial congregation led by Chidambaram and Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, made the pledge to "together protect Mumbai and Maharashtra".
In southern Mumbai, diplomats and local faith leaders attended a service at a synagogue, where candles were lit for the victims of the Nariman House attack.
Patriotism alternated with anger as many in the crowd shouted "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Kasab Ko Phansi Do" in the same breath.
"What is the point in serving Kasab, who killed our brothers, Biryani. If the government's hands are tied, hand him over to us, we will do justice," one of them demanded.
A smiling portrait of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, taken after their marriage greeted the pensive stream of visitors at Nariman House, the Jewish Chhabad movement centre that was seized by the terrorists.
Hundreds of Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Christians lined up to light candles in the memory of those killed during the Nariman House siege.
A grim-faced Chidambaram told a gathering after inaugurating the martyrs' memorial to honour the supreme sacrifice made by security forces "a year ago, the very idea of secular, plural, tolerant and democratic India was attacked."
"This is an occasion for remembrance and thanksgiving and not to make a speech. The adversary chose the target carefully which included two iconic buildings," he said.
Commending the Mumbai police for rising as one force to defend the integrity of India, he said,"I ask all of you to respect the security forces of India. They keep vigil in jungles of Assam, on naval bases and our skies."
Shah Rukh Khan joined a unique attempt to remember those who lost their lives on the eventful day by painting on a wall at Marine Lines even as Bollywood remembered the day the city was hit by one of the most bloody attacks in it's history.
"It was a very tragic event, but the good thing that happened was that the tragedy brought the people of Mumbai together and closer," said actor Aamir Khan.
Amitabh Bachchan recently joined the chorus for a special song as a tribute to the victims of the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.
"Sonu Nigam had asked me to participate in a song that he was doing for those whom we lost that fateful day. I did,' Amitabh wrote on his blog.
"Many different singers from our trade had participated in it to lend it a spirit of togetherness and strength, of faith in our independence, and the love for those that became ours in defending our freedom. I am joyed by the effort and give voice to it," he added.
Actor Akshay Kumar, whose wife Twinkle was at the Taj when the terrorists stormed in, saluted the spirit of the city which defied all odds to get back on it's feet.
"I know I am the luckiest guy in the world as my family was saved from a tragedy but I would like to extend my support and love to those who have lost there loved ones," Akshay said.
The actor's upcoming film 'De Dana Dan' incidentally began shooting the same day as the attacks and will release a day after the first anniversary.
His co-star actor Suneil Shetty said that terror attacks are meant to disrupt the peace and economy of the country but the best way is to fight back.
"I am very happy the way we have fought back and resumed with our responsibilities. This is the perfect way to tell the terrorists that they have not succeeded," Shetty said.
Actress Neha Dhupia recalled that she was shooting for 'De Dana Dan' when the attacks happened.
"We were shooting when the news broke out but our director Priyadarshan said that we would not be affected by it and will continue our jobs and that is to entertain people and give them a reason to smile at such times," Neha said. PTI