Mumbai: Life moves on,
but what remains are the ugly scars. Nearly three years after the
gruesome attack on Mumbai, 26/11 is still fresh in the minds of
survivors and victims' families, many of whom mince no words while
saying that security has hardly improved and lives still come
For Kavita Karkare, wife of the slain Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist
Squad chief Hemant Karkare, the day has left a deafening silence.
"There is still a trace of shock in the voices of my three
children when they speak of their father," she told IANS.
"But what shocks me more is the apathy of the government. Our
'great politicians' had made tall claims that the security system
has been strengthened and no such attack will take place again.
But the blasts in July exposed their so-called security. It is
depressing," she said.
She was referring to the terror blasts in three Mumbai places July
13 this year that claimed 27 lives and brought back memories of
Karkare's two daughters - one a software engineer in the US and
another a peace activist working for the United Nations in Vienna
- seem to have taken the bitter dose in their stride.
But her 20-year-old son who is studying law is looking forward to
fighting terror in his own way. "He doesn't discuss his ideas with
me in detail; it is too painful for all of us," Kavita Karkare
Hemant Karkare was one of the 166 people killed in the attack at
prominent Mumbai locations by 10 Pakistan-based terrorists three
For 31-year-old Baby Chowdhary, life is an everyday struggle.
Baby's husband Shyamsunder used to work in a biscuit factory in
suburban Vile Parle until he was grievously injured in the bomb
blast which annihilated the taxi the terrorists used during the
"My husband suffered multiple injuries and developed a brain
disability that left him paralysed. He still gets disturbed if he
accidentally watches bomb blast related clips or movies. He has
become too sensitive and over-alert," Baby said.
"There are still times when he shudders remembering the incident.
He is flustered all the more because he cannot speak. He had
started crying like a baby when he heard about the July 13 blasts
at Opera House and Zaveri Bazar," she added.
Columnist Bhisham Mansukhani, 33, who escaped the attack at the
Taj Hotel, says it is the media that keeps reminding him of the
attack. "Not many people in my social circle remind me of the
horror of 26/11. But I do get agitated sometimes thinking of what
happened then," he said.
Talking about the government's action on terrorism - or inaction
as he calls it - he says he is completely at a loss for words over
the July blasts.
"I am not really surprised with the July 13 bombings. I am surely
shocked that many more people suffered the fate we did in 2008,
but this is what we can expect when all our ministers know is to
play the blame game," he quipped.
Bharat Gujjar, 34, who used to man the counter at Leopold Cafe,
one of the 26/11 attack sites, feels life must go on, but he has
become more careful.
"I cannot describe the thoughts I had started having when the
grenade burst near me. I had to be operated upon and my stomach
received 14 stitches," he said.
"I have now learned to survey any crowded place, train or bus
before making myself comfortable there. This is the lesson I have
learnt," he added.
Assistant police inspector Sanjay Govilkar, who along with
colleague Tukaram Ombale literally wrestled with Kasab and caught
hold of him, is now part of an NGo he started with some friends.
"Our NGO takes up various causes like cremating dead bodies,
holding blood donation drives and bringing together Indians, not
as communities, but as citizens of the entire nation," he added.
A bust of Ombale will be inaugurated Nov 26 at a prominent
location at Girgaum Chowpatty in south Mumbai.
For some, life reminds them daily of that day and they seethe with
rage, especially at the thought of Ajmal Amir Kasab - the only
26/11 attacker who was caught alive - still living.
For Mohammed Hanif Peer Mohammed, 62, it is an everyday ordeal to
see his widowed sister - his brother-in-law fell to the terrorist
bullets at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
Said Mohammed, "Kasab killed my sister's husband. He should be
hanged in public."
(Mauli Buch can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)