Mumbai/New Delhi: Three years after a group of Pakistani terrorists wantonly killed 166 people in an audatious strike in Mumbai, India Saturday paid homage to the victims and reminded Islamabad that it was still awaiting 'decisive' action against the perpetrators. It has provided 'enough evidence' to prosecute the guilty. it stressed.
In India's financial capital, Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, and Home Minister R.R. Patil laid wreaths at the 26/11 memorial at the Police Gymkhana on Marine Drive in south Mumbai.
Cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and M.S. Dhoni, who are staying at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel - one of the targets - also paid homage to the victims at a solemn ceremony at the hotel in the morning. The two were there to play the last of the three-Test India-West Indies series.
The family members of many of the policemen who were martyred while battling the terrorists also laid wreaths at the 26/11 memorial at the Police Gymkhana.
Thousands of commuters on the Central Railway paused briefly at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), one of the attack sites targeted in 2008.
Some kept flowers in memory of the commuters killed by the terrorists, who sneaked into the city unhindered through the Arabian Sea and created mayhem.
Similar homage functions were held at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, the Oberoi Trident Hotel, Nariman House, the Cama Hospital and at Chowpatty - the last being the site where policeman Tukaram Ombale managed to grapple with and catch alive one of the terrorists - Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab. Ombale was killed in the process.
In the national capital, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna warned against dangers of using terrorism as 'an instrument of state policy' and made it clear to Pakistan that the resumed dialogue can only proceed in an atmosphere free from terror.
'It must be realized that use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy has no place in today's world and is self destructive,' he said.
'We are still waiting for Pakistan to act decisively to bring to justice the perpetrators of the mindless violence that was unleashed on Mumbai. We are still waiting,' Krishna told reporters here.
Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik Friday said India had not provided sufficient evidence against Hafiz Saeed, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief and the suspected 26/11 mastermind.
Cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar described the 26/11 incident as 'a terrible attack on Mumbai.'
'We were not sure what had exactly happened, then we got back to our room and watched it on TV...It was shocking,' he said while paying tributes, along with M.S. Dhoni, to the 26/11 victims at Taj Mahal Palace.
Damayanti Gohel, whose son Deepak was killed in the attack on Chabad House or Nariman House as it is also called, lamented that three years after the incident, the family has not been given the house promised by the government. 'We have been let down and we have lost our only son, but the government has money to spend on Kasab,' she said.
Dhoni said he was 'moved' after seeing the destruction caused by the 26/11 attacks. 'The soldiers, jawans and commandos are the real heroes and not cricketers,' Dhoni added, referring to the rank of Honorary Lt. Col. conferred on him by the Terriotrial Army.
Navi Mumbai resident Amit Mohite, who narrowly escaped being wounded in the CST attack, said the biggest tribute to the 26/11 victims would be to hang Kasab immediately. 'That alone can give peace to the souls of the victims, survivors and their families,' Mohite said.
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya said that three years on, the kin of the victims continue to suffer as the government did not give them the promised jobs, accommodation, medical aid, etc.
'But, central and state governments have funds to keep the convicted Pakistani terrorist, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, comfortably in jail. They have no money for the people widowed or orphaned by him and his nine other associates,' Somaiya said from a police lock-up where he and some relatives of victims were detained while taking a procession to meet Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.