Mumbai: Floral tributes were on Saturday paid to those who laid down their lives while fighting terrorists who had attacked the west-Indian metropolis on this day eight years ago.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was among the dignitaries who paid homage at the 26/11 police memorial site at the Mumbai Police Gymkhana in south Mumbai. "I pay homage to the brave policemen who fought for Mumbai's safety and laid down their lives for us on 26/11. We are proud of them and we will strive hard for safety and security of our state," Fadnavis said. "We will strengthen police force with better equipment. It is our priority," he said.
Governor Vidyasagar Rao, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, former Mumbai police commissioners Julio Ribeiro, M. N. Singh and several senior present and former police officers were present.
Maharashtra police chief Satish Mathur and Mumbai Commissioner of Police Datta Padsalgikar were away on official duty and could not attend the ceremony. Family members of the policemen, who lost their lives during the November 2008 attacks, were also present during the ceremony.
On November 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists arrived by sea route and opened fire indiscriminately at people killing 166, including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others, besides damaging property worth crores.
The then ATS chief Hemant Karkare, Army Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Mumbai's Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte and Senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar were among those killed in the attack. The attack had begun on 26 November and lasted until 29 November. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Nariman House Jewish community centre were some of the places targeted by the terrorists. Ajmal Kasab was the only terrorist who was captured alive. He was hanged four years later on November 21, 2012.
Indian Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, actress Shabana Azmi, actor Anupam Kher among others remembered the sacrifices of martyrs and mourned the death of innocent people on the eighth anniversary of Mumbai terror attacks.
The celebrities took to Twitter to pay homage to the diseased and saluted the men in uniform who bravely fought the terrorists. "In remembrance of those that sacrificed in death, so we could live!" Bachchan wrote. "We will not forget 26/11 and the selflessness of those who sacrificed their lives beyond the call of duty," Azmi posted. Kher tweeted, "While we remember these 26/11 images, please send a warm hug to the families who have lost their dear ones on this day forever. Mumbai Attacks."
Actor Varun Dhawan said, "Today is a day we must not ever forget as a nation. We will always be in debt to the police and armed forces who sacrificed their lives."
Music composer Shekhar Ravjiani and Vishal Dadlani also took to Twitter to grieve for the lives lost. "Thoughts and prayers with the families of victims and martyrs of #26/11. I salute the brave souls who led us to safety that fateful night," Shekhar said. Vishal added, "Eight years since 26/11. Police reformed/trained? Coast Guard stronger? Are we more prepared in any way? Nah. May it never happen again. Jai ho!"
Actress Raveena Tandon tweeted, "#26/11 never forgive. Never forget... May this never happen again. May we get strength to wipe out this evil and then may peace prevail." Comedian-actor Johny Lever tweeted, "We salute our Martyrs and also remember the innocent lives we lost in the #26/11 #MumbaiAttacks Our prayers are always with their families."
"Salute to the bravehearts who fought gallantly to protect us... prayers for all the victims and their families. Mumbai attacks, jai hind," filmmaker Sajid Khan wrote.