Three years after 26/11, Mumbai residents say city is still unsafe

Last Updated: Sat, Nov 26, 2011 07:20 hrs

Residents of Mumbai continue to maintain that the city is still unsafe because of the poor level of security.

Speaking on the third anniversary of the militant attacks in Mumbai on Saturday, residents expressed their apprehension and fear over the security measures.

They called for adopting stringent measures to combat militancy effectively.

This morning, people stood outside the Taj Mahal Hotel near the Gateway of India to pay homage to victims of the massacre on November 26, 2008. The hotel was one of the 10 sites attacked by armed gunmen during a 60-hour siege in the city three years ago.

"It was a much safer city and now you do not feel all that safe when you are on the streets. There was a time in life when you could come on these very streets really late in the night but now you do not really feel safe," said Mayur Morekar, a doctor.

The day reminds many of the lives that were lost and scores of people may want to erase the gruesome episode from their lives but the horror and panic refuses to let go off the victims and their families.

"Now, the question arises how safe we are here after three years. The safety of a common man is the big question right now. Do you think you are safe? Do I think that am I safe?," said Aatish Rizwan, a resident.

Many locals questioned if the city is well equipped to prevent another such attack.

The attack, one of the darkest days in the history of the country, had forced people and the city authorities to fix the loopholes in the security arrangements.

"I don't think the city is safe right now but we can do a lot for our city. We can train ourselves and we can fight them," said Hardik Mehta, a student.

On Saturday, a sort of silence descended upon Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) Railway Station also known as Victoria Terminus and the areas around the Oberoi and Trident hotels that were also one of the targets of the militants.

Ten gunmen landed on the city shores by boats at sunset on November 26, 2008 and fired indiscriminately at a busy railway station, a Jewish settlement, restaurants and luxury hotels.

Two armed militants carrying loaded AK-47 rifles open fired and launched grenades at people at the busy CST station killing 58 and injuring more than 100 people.

One of the militants who had earlier managed to escape after the killings, Ajmal Kasab was filmed walking through the train station carrying an AK-47 rifle and a knapsack on his back.

Several people were held hostage over the next three days and at least 166 people were killed before Indian commandos smoked out the last of the terrorists on November 28, 2008.

The lone surviving militant, Ajmal Kasab who was caught later by security personnel was sentenced to death in May 06, 2010.

The Bombay High Court in February this year upheld Kasab's death penalty after which he approached India's apex court.n October 10, 2011, the apex court stayed his death sentence and now his appeal is listed for a hearing in January next year.

India blames Pakistan for promoting militancy and says that the elements within Pakistan were behind the Mumbai attacks in 2008. (ANI)

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