Real Heroes – Sacrificed their Lives for Civilians


(Image credit: ANI News)

Real Heroes – Sacrificed their Lives for Civilians  

The scene of the about 100 years old property of the vintage Taj Mahal Hotel, on the day of 26th November 2008 was normal like any other day. The guests kept arriving to spend their time in this grand hotel, and there was also a conference supposed to be taking place.

Just out of the blue, there was a commotion upon seeing some masked young men firing through their automatic rifles. To save the lives of the guests the hotel staff locked in the restaurants and the meeting halls from inside and instructed people to bend down under the tables. A few brave lots among the staff quietly led the guests towards the kitchen and basement, to be secure.

There was also an announcement for the guests in the rooms, not to open the doors in any case. The gunmen who had barged in frantically banged on the doors of the floors above. On the ground floor, they had already killed the dozen-odd unsuspecting guests.

During the invasion of the Taj Mumbai, 31 people succumbed, and 28 were injured, but the hotel earned only acclaim the next day. Its guests were dazzled by the employees’ devotion to duty, their goal to protect each guest without caring for individual safety, and their quick decision-making minds.

There was a fearful environment in the entire hotel, till the terrorists were not overpowered or gunned down by the courageous Policemen of Mumbai. A few selflessly laid down their lives for this purpose.

As many as 11 Taj Mahal Hotel’s staff, a third of the hotel’s casualties, passed away while assisting between 1,200  to 1,500 guests during the evacuation.

Equipped with automatic weapons and hand grenades, the ten terrorists targeted civilians at multiple sites in the southern portion of Mumbai, including the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station, the popular Leopold Café, a theatre, and two hospitals. Though most of the attacks stopped within a few hours after they started at around 9:30 p.m on November 26, the terror went on to unravel at three areas where hostages were seized, the Nariman House, where a Jewish outreach center was placed, and the luxury hotels Oberoi Trident and Taj Mahal Palace.

A sum of 175 people, including security personnel, civilians, and nine gunmen, were killed during the attacks. Among the deceased were 29 foreign citizens. Only one terrorist called Ajmal Kasab was arrested. Many of the executed hostages’ bodies revealed signs of torment. Many of those who were killed were leading figures in media, business, and security duties.

Real Heroes
Real Heroes

(Image credit: Google)

The then chief minister of Maharashtra, Shri. Vilasrao Deshmukh declared that 15 policemen and two NSG commandos were slain, involving the following officers:

  • Assistant Police Sub-Inspector- Tukaram Omble, achieved this with his bare hands. nabbing a terrorist alive.
  • Joint Commissioner of Police- Hemant Karkare, the Chief of the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad.
  • Additional Commissioner of Police- Ashok Kamte.
  • Encounter specialist Senior Inspector- Vijay Salaskar.
  • Senior Inspector- Shashank Shinde.
  • NSG Commando- Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan.
  • NSG Commando- Hawaldar Gajender Singh Bisht.

A heartfelt tribute to the truly heroic and unsung heroes of the terror attacks in Mumbai, from 26 to 29 November 2008. The whole of India will forever remember their sacrifice. One of the most disastrous in the nation’s history was the terror attacks that happened over four days. November 26 records the 14th anniversary of the Mumbai terror strikes as India pays homage to fatalities, recalling the real heroes of 26/11. 

-Shashi Thakur

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