Remembering one of the most terror-stricken days in modern Indian History- the 26/11 terrorist attack in one of the most developed cities of the country- Mumbai, undoubtedly brings chills to our spines.
Even to date people of India have several questions on what exactly and how exactly did just 10 terrorists' shook the city of lights. What was their main motive? How did they enter the city? What ammunition's did they carry? How were they caught? Questions arise every day and it's been 13 years since the unforgettable incidents occurred.
According to the reports released, Ten shooters suspected to be linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based terrorist organisation, pulled out all the operations.
The attackers used automatic guns and hand grenades to attack people at a number of locations in Mumbai's south, including the Chhatrapati Shivaji train station, the renowned Leopold Café, two hospitals, and a theatre.
The violence kept going on at three different locations where hostages were taken—the Nariman House, where a Jewish outreach centre was located, and the luxury hotels Oberoi Trident and Taj Mahal Palace & Tower—while almost all of the attacks ended just a few hours after they began at around 9:30 p.m. on November 26.
Six hostages and two attackers had been shot by the time the siege at the Nariman House occurred on the evening of November 26. Hundreds of visitors and employees were either detained or taken hostage at the two hotels. On November 28, Indian security forces lifted the standoff at the Oberoi Trident at noon and at the Taj Mahal Palace the next morning.
At least 174 individuals were murdered in all, including 20 security officers and 26 foreign nationals. More than 300 individuals were seriously injured in the accident. Nine of the ten terrorists were killed, while the tenth was apprehended.
An unidentified group that called itself Mujahideen Hyderabad Deccan claimed responsibility for the assaults in an e-mail sent amid conjecture about the terrorists' identities; however, the e-mail was eventually traced to a computer in Pakistan, so it became clear that no such organisation operated.
Some speculated that the Islamic militant group al-Qaeda was associated because of the way the terrorists undoubtedly singled out Western foreigners at both the luxury hotels and the Nariman House, but this emerged to be false after the lone arrested terrorist, Ajmal Amir Kasab, provided considerable details concerning the planning and execution of the attacks.
Kasab, a native of Pakistan's Punjab state, informed authorities that the ten terrorists had extensive guerrilla training in Lashkar-e-Taiba camps. He also stated that the attackers spent considerable time at the headquarters of a second, linked group, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, in the United Arab Emirates.
The gunmen hijacked an Indian fishing boat and slaughtered its crew after initially sailing aboard a Pakistani-flagged cargo ship; once near the Mumbai shore, they utilised inflatable boats to approach Badhwar Park and the Sassoon Docks, near the city's Gateway of India landmark. The attackers then divided into small groups of people and started out for their various objectives.
Kasab later recanted his testimony after being charged with a variety of crimes, including murder and waging war. Kasab's trial began in April 2009, but there were multiple setbacks, including a halt while officials confirmed that Kasab was over the age of 18 and so could not be prosecuted in a juvenile court. Despite pleading guilty in July, the trial went on, and he later retracted in December, professing his innocence. Kasab was found guilty and sentenced to death in May 2010, and he was executed two years later.
Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari (or Syed Zabiuddin) was detained by Delhi police in June 2012, on suspicion of being among the who trained and led the terrorists during the assaults. In addition, David C. Headley, a Pakistani American, pled guilty in 2011 to assisting the perpetrators in planning the assaults and was sentenced to 35 years in prison in a federal court in the United States in January 2013.
Lashkar-e-Taiba sometimes written Lashkar-e-Tayyiba or Lashkar-e-Toiba, is an Islamist terrorist group founded in Pakistan in the late 1980s as a militant arm of Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad, a Sunni Islamist organisation motivated by the Wahhb sect. It aimed to establish Muslim sovereignty over the whole Indian subcontinent in the end.
Although founded in Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba began its operations in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is located on the Pakistan-India border, but by the first decade of the twenty-first century, the organisation had spread its influence farther into India. Jammu and Kashmir was disputed by both India, a predominantly Hindu country, and Pakistan, a predominantly Muslim one, and the conflict spawned a slew of armed factions in the region.
Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the most powerful organisations operating in Jammu and Kashmir, was staunchly pro-Pakistan in terms of regional domination. Any agreements to India were rejected by the group. Its leaders have also professed a desire to impose Islamic authority across India. In an attempt to establish a Muslim state in Jammu and Kashmir, the organisation took part in multiple attacks targeting non-Muslim civilians.
Many of the members of Lashkar-e-Taiba were Pakistani or Afghan. The organisation was said to have links to the Taliban administration in Afghanistan as well as rich Saudi extremist and al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. When US cruise missiles targeted bin Laden's training camps in Afghanistan in August 1998, fighters from Lashkar-e-Taiba and another militant Muslim group, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, were killed, and a top al-Qaeda leader was caught in a Lashkar-e-Taiba safe house in Pakistan in March 2002.
In 1993, the Lashkar-e-Taiba launched its first attacks in Jammu & Kashmir. Lashkar-e-Taiba was accused of receiving funds from Pakistani government agencies in the late 1990s, which the government has denied.
The gang first operated in the Jammu area, which had a sizable non-Muslim population. Lashkar-e-Taiba initiated a campaign of assaults targeting Hindus and Sikhs in collaboration with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Lashkar-e-Taiba assaults against bystanders were common.
Lashkar-e-Taiba began a series of suicide assaults against Indian security personnel in 1999, typically targeting what seemed to be safe headquarters. Lashkar-e-Taiba soldiers were outmanned and subsequently slain in similar raids, but not before murdering Indian troops and causing significant damage.
Lashkar-e-Taiba used to have a breaking out with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen in 2000 when the latter proclaimed a brief cease-fire with India. After the September 11 attacks on the United States, the Taliban administration in Afghanistan was deposed by US-led military troops, and the party lost additional friends in 2001.
On December 13, that year, Lashkar-e-Taiba, in collaboration with Jaish-e-Mohammed, launched a suicide attack on India's parliament complex in New Delhi, the country's capital. As a result, the US authorities froze Lashkar-e-assets Taiba's in the US and designated it as a terrorist organisation.
The Pakistani government outlawed the organisation in January 2002 and detained its head, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, under US pressures to start cracking down on terrorist groups and avert a confrontation with India. He was freed a few months later. He founded the Jamaat ud-Dawa, a charitable organisation that became well-known.
Despite a cease-fire agreement involving India and Pakistan in 2003, Lashkar-e-Taiba is said to have relocated the majority of its movements to northwestern Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan and is not under the jurisdiction of the central government. In addition, the organization's operations have been more concentrated on India.
During the first decade of the twenty-first century, Lashkar-e-Taiba militants were thought to have maintained their assaults. Those attacks were largely directed towards Indian security forces.
However, in 2006, the gang was linked to a far more lethal attack on civilians in Mumbai (Bombay), India's most populated city. During the evening rush hour on July 11, that year, numerous explosives ripped through Mumbai's commuter rail system, killing over 180 people and wounding over 800 more. In an apparent attempt to target India's professional elite, the devices were all placed in first-class railway cabins.
After the incident, which India blamed on Lashkar-e-Taiba, Pakistan held and then freed Saeed, arguing that India's probe was biased.
The trial for the Lashkar-e-Taiba members apprehended in Pakistan in October 2009 was delayed due to several delays and disputes, notably allegations that one of the defence lawyers had a fraudulent law degree. However, the Pakistani authorities did not decisively link Saeed to the attack, and he claimed to have forsaken violence. Despite this, he was placed under house arrest several times.
Considering the evidence that points to the assaults' origins in Pakistan, India summoned the attendance of Lieut. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director-general of Pakistan's intelligence agency, on November 28, 2008, as part of its exploratory process. Pakistan first consented to the proposal, but afterwards changed its mind, agreeing to send a proxy for the directorate general rather than Pasha himself to India. The bombings had an instant effect on the peace and reconciliation effort between the two countries.
"If they don't act, then it won't be business as usual," India's external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said, accusing the Pakistani government of passivity against terrorist forces. The visit to Pakistan by India's cricket team, which had been set for January–February 2009, was eventually cancelled.
The international community backed India's efforts to persuade Pakistan to tighten up on terrorists operating within its borders. Having followed the Mumbai attacks, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited India and Pakistan. U.S. officials and others pushed Pakistan's civilian government to intervene against all those believed of participating in the attacks in a frenzy of diplomatic effort that was generally considered as an exercise in "conflict prevention."
There were fears that dispute between the two nuclear-armed neighbours might rise. However, unlike after the December 13, 2001, attack on India's parliament, which was also conducted out by Pakistan-based terrorists, India did not stockpile soldiers near the Pakistan border. Rather, India concentrated on gaining foreign public support through a variety of diplomatic and media channels. India petitioned the UN Security Council for measures on Jamaat-ud-Dawa, claiming that the group was a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which Pakistan had outlawed in 2002. On December 11, 2008, the Security Council slapped sanctions on Jamaat-ud-Dawa and formally labelled the group a terrorist organisation, in response to India's request.
On December 8, 2008, Pakistan reported to have detained Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander and the accused mastermind of the Mumbai attacks. Security personnel in Pakistan raided Jamaat-ud-Dawa offices all around the nation. The military buffer zones that had been put around Jamaat-ud-Dawa headquarters were loosened after this crackdown lasted barely a few days.
The operations of Jamaat-ud-Dawa should not be prohibited, according to Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, because "thousands of people" benefit from the group's "welfare initiatives." Pakistan also claimed that India had failed to give adequate proof against a number of suspected terrorists, and that any action against these individuals could only be taken if such evidence was delivered "via diplomatic channels rather than the media." Pakistan has rejected to surrender 20 persons wanted by India for their alleged participation in various terrorist acts on Indian soil. Headley, on the other hand, offered comprehensive testimony during his 2011 trial concerning Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistani intelligence service participation in the Mumbai attacks.
The Mumbai terrorist attacks showed flaws in India's security establishment for dealing with this "new brand" of terrorism—urban warfare typified by symbolic strikes, multiple targets, and heavy deaths.
Following investigations, it was revealed that many intelligence indications from Indian and US sources had anticipated the assaults, but that officials had rejected them due to a lack of "actionable intelligence."
Furthermore, the deployment of India's elite National Security Guards took an unusually long time, with commandos arriving at the besieged hotels 10 hours after the initial gunfire on November 26. The early crisis response was further hampered by a lack of communication among the administration in New Delhi, India's capital, and officials in Maharashtra, Maharashtra's state capital. Shivraj Patil, India's interior minister, who was extensively chastised in the aftermath of the murders, resigned on November 30, 2008, claiming "moral responsibility" for the attacks.
Following the November assaults, the Indian government established key new organisations and legislative actions to combat terrorism. On December 17, 2008, the Indian parliament approved the formation of the National Investigation Agency, a government counterterrorism organisation with much of the same tasks as the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.
Parliament also passed modifications to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which included more restrictive methods for containing and investigating terrorism. Although there were many parallels drawn between the September 11, 2001, strikes in the United States and the Mumbai attacks, the latter terrorist epidemic was on a far smaller scale in terms of both deaths and financial consequences. The Mumbai assaults, on the other hand, elicited a comparable national and worldwide outcry against such brutality, as well as fresh calls to step up efforts to combat the threat of terrorism.
The group remained a concern in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, particularly for its efforts to communicate with militant Muslims throughout the world. Several Lashkar-e-Taiba trainees have been detained or connected to terrorist activities in the United Kingdom.
In September 2015, a Mumbai court found 12 Lashkar-e-Taiba militants guilty of crimes related to the 2006 train attacks. Criminal conspiracy and participation in a terrorist organisation were among the allegations, and five of the 12 were also found guilty of murder.
International pressure on Pakistan to tighten down on terrorists operating illegally within its borders increased in 2019 after a suicide attack by Jaish-e-Mohammed in Jammu and Kashmir. Later that year, Saeed was arrested and accused of being a member of a banned group. In 2020, he was sentenced to more than five years in jail, but he intended to appeal.
On Friday, tributes were offered to the warriors who sacrificed their lives combating terrorists in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. At the monument at the police headquarters in south Mumbai, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, and state Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil paid their condolences.
President Ram Nath Kovind paid respect to the heroes and victims of the Mumbai terror attacks on November 26th, saying that the country would always be thankful to the military people who gave their lives in the line of duty.
"My sincere condolences to the martyrs and honour to the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks on November 26, 2001." The country will always be grateful for the security services' bravery and sacrifice in the course of duty," Kovind said.
"Heartfelt condolences to those who sacrificed their lives in the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks and applaud the heroism of all the paramilitary forces who fearlessly fought the terrorists in the cowardly atrocities," Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted. Your gallantry will be remembered by the whole nation. Your sacrifice will always be remembered by grateful people."
Because of continuing construction on the Coastal Road project, the martyrs' memorial has been moved from its original location at the Police Gymkhana in Marine Drive to the police headquarters at Crawford Market.
Uddhav Thackeray, who is recovering in a Mumbai hospital following spine surgery, also paid tribute to the 26/11 martyrs. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 epidemic, only a small number of individuals commemorated the 13th anniversary of the fatal terror assault. At the ceremony, the family members of several of the fallen cops also paid their respects.
During the event, officials met with the families of some of the deceased. During the 60-hour standoff in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, ten Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists from Pakistan arrived by ship and began fire, killing 166 people, including 18 security officials, and wounded numerous more.
The attack murdered Hemant Karkare, the then-head of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), Army Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Mumbai's Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte, Senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar, and Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Tukaram Omble. Terrorists attacked the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, and the Nariman House Jewish community facility, now called Nariman Light House.