Mumbai’s tribute to victims of the day they call 26/11
People gathered around Mumbai yesterday, holding vigils, calling for police reform and painting murals to remember the 166 killed in the deadly terror attacks a year ago.
The attacks paralysed Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, for 60 hours when 10 Pakistan-based gunmen fanned out across the Indian financial capital, attacking luxury hotels, a railway station and other sites, as police and military struggled for three days to regain control.
Seven men were charged in Pakistan yesterday over the assault.
Two non-governmental groups gathered 100 people to paint about a stretch of wall in south Mumbai, where the attacks were focused.
“We want to make sure 26/11 is not forgotten,” said Shaina NC, one of the organisers.
Schoolgirls left red handprints on the yellow wall. Someone painted “I (heart) Mumbai” in big black letters. A man left the words “Wake up govt” in drippy red paint. A woman in a black chador wrote in small block letters: “We forget what they were dying for.”
Police, criticised for being poorly trained and poorly-armed, are using the anniversary to showcase security improvements.
Camouflaged armoured vehicles and bright yellow boats — part of Mumbai's new £16.6m plan to beef up security — rumbled up Marine Drive yesterday, rehearsing for an official parade.
Mumbai's new Force One commando unit, an elite anti-terror brigade of more than 200 men, was inaugurated on Tuesday but during the two-hour ceremony several commandos, clad in dark blue, fainted in the heat.
A handful of people from a citizen's group gathered outside the Taj Mahal hotel last night to urge further reform. They lit candles and chanted a patriotic song before a flank of flashing cameras.
Diplomats from around the world lit candles in memory of those who died.