Nine years have passed, but memories of those frightening days can never be forgotten. November 26, 2008, was the day when Mumbai experienced a terror attack which left everybody scared for life. is known as 26/11, reminding us of the horrible attacks by Pakistani terrorists at various spots in Mumbai, including the Taj and Trident hotels and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
Ten 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.
There were some bravehearts who fought and died in the battle against terrorists. These heroes fought against the Pakistani attackers, saving many lives. Five of those brave heroes who sacrificed their life to remove the dirt of terrorism from India.
1. Hemant Karkare: Chief of Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS)
The Chief of ATS died while fighting terrorists in the lane between St. Xavier’s College and Rang Bhavan in Mumbai, near the Crime Branch office. He was shot thrice in the chest and died on the spot, having removed his bullet-proof jacket. His act of bravery was honoured with a posthumous Ashok Chakra on January 26, 2009. Karkare was well-known amongst his team for investigating the Mumbai serial bombing case and also for leading the special investigation of the Malegaon blasts.
- Ashok Kamte: Additional Commissioner of Police
Kamte died on the same night, shot by a terrorist near St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. He was with Hemant Karkare. Kamte’s act of heroism was honoured with Ashok Chakra on January 26, 2009. He was quite famous for his great skills in negotiating. Ismail Khan, a Pakistani terrorist fired a volley of bullets which hit him on his head. In spite of being injured, this braveheart was the only person who managed to retaliate.
- Tukaram Gopal Omble: Asst. Sub-inspector and retired army man
Omble sacrificed his life while fighting with the terrorist at Girgaum Chowpatty. Omble played an important role in capturing alive Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, who was subsequently hanged. He was posthumously honoured by the government with Ashoka Chakra for his fearless attitude and bravery. Kasab was instrumental in killing him
- Vijay Salaskar: Senior Police Inspector and encounter specialist
Salaskar served the Mumbai Police with great skills as an encounter specialist. He was a terror to all terrorists, as he had carried out the encounter of 75-80 criminals. Unfortunately Salaskar was killed while he was fighting terrorists. He was the Head of the Anti-Extortion Cell. His patriotism was recognised with Ashoka Chakra on January 26, 2009.
- Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan: National Security Guards (NSG) commando
Probably the least known among the five, Major Unnikrishnan was an officer in the Indian Army. He served the Special Action Group of the National Security Guards (NSG). He lost his life while fighting with Pakistani terrorists who had taken the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers hotel under siege. Like all the other brave heroes, Major Unnikrishnan was also honoured with a posthumous Ashoka Chakra in 2009.
He was the head of the mission Operation Black Tornado and team commander of 51 SAG during the 26/11 encounter. One of the terrorists shot him from the back and he died on the spot. Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and top police officials from Kerala, the soldier’s home state, were among those present at his funeral.
Apart from these heroes, we have a never-ending list which includes several more names of 26/11 bravehearts – Havaldar Gajender Singh, Nagappa R Mahale, Kishore K. Shinde, Sanjay Govilkar, Sunil Kumar Yadav, and many more. A salute to these heroes!
The attack had begun on 26 November and lasted until 29 November. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace and 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 on November 21, 2012 four years after the attacks.