Ashok Chakra. A Tribute to Mumbai 26/11.
Today, 26/11/2010 marks the 2nd anniversary of one of the most horrifying incidents of Post-Independence India. Let us salute the brave souls who lost their lives fighting selflessly on the 3 black letter days in Mumbai and also pray for all of the deceased souls.
Everyone will have a story to tell about this day, the date. My story of the Mumbai attacks goes on like this. On the night of 26th Nov, 2008, I was chatting with a friend of mine from Mumbai. So while we were chatting, the news of a terrorist strike broke out and this friend was the one who told me about it. She rushed on to make a couple of phone calls to ensure the safety of her friends. I glanced across several websites to get to know the details and was incidentally relieved to find out it was not a bomb blast, which could really take away lots of lives instantly. Only after a while did I notice that the attack was even more dangerous and serious than a bomb blast. Live terrorists were shooting down innocent lives with machine guns in many crowded and landmark places of one of the most populous cities in the world. While this friend was chatting with me late in the night, she got a call and a moment or two later, returned to say her friend was also shot at the Taj Mahal Palace and went offline before I could offer a word of console.
I’ve always had this belief that the best of anyone comes out when in troubled times. I have fond memories how people unite in face of troubled times. Back in Sainik School while in the 9th class, we used to be the junior-most in the house, inferior to the 10th, 11th & the 12th guys. So facing the rigorous punishments on a day to day basis, what really happens is that it unites each one of the sufferers into one, one big nutshell. Mumbaikars found the same strength in the troubled times and they showed their courage and determination by going to their respective works from the very next day. By doing so, they had given out a clear message to the perpetuators of the attack that nothing can hinder the spirits of the people of Mumbai and the citizens of India.
Two years have gone and the lone captured terrorist Ajmal Kasab is still alive. Several leads have been found, but no real action has been taken against the real organizers of the crime. Heaven knows what, ‘Dossiers’ have been exchanged between the Indian & Pakistani governments and even the Media doesn’t have a count of it. The country has been spending crores of money to keep Ajmal Kasab alive, on his safety and security, but honestly, does that man deserve all these?
I can’t help myself not to criticize the judicial system of our nation. A person who killed 166 innocent people with machine guns; who as per the court waged war against the country, why in the hell is he alive still? I don’t know if many are aware of this, but SI Tukaram Omble sacrificed his own life while trying to arrest Kasab alive. This is an excerpt from Wikipedia.
Baudankar says that Assistant Sub Inspector Tukaram Omble was hit by the bullets as he was the first to charge towards Kasab and his associate armed with just a stick. "All those who were with Omble survived as he stood like a shield," adds Kadam. "When we saw that Omble was not letting go of the terrorist's gun, we knew we could not let his sacrifice go in vain. He held on and we completed his unfinished task," his colleague Sanjay Govilkar said.
It’s nothing like the news of a death sentence for Kasab makes any change in my life or gives me a high, but it’s that the life and sacrifice of brave men like SI Omble goes down the lane worthless in the present situation. The loop-holes in our Judiciary that keeps him alive even today are almost making fun of the sacrifices of those valiant officers. Lets hope the perpetuators of the attack gets caught, and soon the whole of terrorism gets wiped away from the face of our planet.
26/11 is now a part of history and bullet holes on the walls and the scars in the hearts of Mumbaikars shall remain forever. The least we can do is to be better citizens of this vibrant nation. For a nation which has had to face many unfortunate challenges like the terrorist attacks, cross-border insurgency and interior Naxalism, it’s a shame that our politicians are adding on to the woes by stupid scams and scandals, which becomes bigger & filthier every next time.
The Ashok Chakra is an Indian military decoration awarded for valor, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield, during peace time. 15 Police men and 2 NSG commandos lost their lives encountering terrorists. Officers Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar, Ashok Kamte and Tukaram Ombale and 2 NSG commando’s Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan & Havildar Gajendar Singh were awarded Ashok Chakra for their sacrifices. We salute one and all of them.
Image Courtesy - Flickr