On November 26, 2008, Mumbai fell victim to one of the worst terrorist attacks in Indian history. Its perpetrators, members of the terrorist group Lashkar-Taiba, terrorized Maximum City for three days, targeting some of its most best-known locations and killing up to 166 people.
On the eighth anniversary of the attacks, here’s a short guide to the events that unfolded on November 26 and the days that followed.
1. A three-day onslaught
In a three-day onslaught that began on November 26, 2016, 10 terrorists targeted several high-profile locations in Mumbai, including the landmark Taj Hotel at the Gateway, the Oberoi Trident at Nariman Point, Leopold Café, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – killing up to 166 people, and leaving 300 injured. Up to 26 foreign nationals were among those killed by the terrorists.
2. From Karachi to Mumbai
The terrorists, arrived in Mumbai on the night of November 26, after travelling from Karachi by sea. All of them, save one – Ajmal Kasab, – were eventually killed by in counter-terror operations.
3. Kasab hanged
Kasab, captured alive, was sentenced to death by a special anti-terror court in May 2010, and hanged at the Yerawada central prison in Pune in November 2012.
4. The martyrs of 26/11
Up to 18 security personnel were martyred in the attack. Among them were Mumbai Anti-Terrorist squad chief Hemant Karkare, Army Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Mumbai’s Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte, Senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar, and assistant sub-inspector Tukaram Gopal Omble.
5. Omble’s valour
It was Omble’s supreme sacrifice that made the capture of Ajmal Kasab possible. On the night of November 26 near Girgaum Chowpatty, he grabbed the barrel of the Kasab’s assault rifle, and – when the terrorist began shooting him – didn’t let go of him, providing his team-mates with the perfect cover and preventing Kasab from harming anyone else.
6. The 26/11 attacks case in Pakistan
Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi stands accused – along with six others – of abetment to murder, attempted murder, and planning and executing the Mumbai attack, in a case that has been drawn out for more than six years in Pakistan. Another accused, former LeT member Sufayan Zafar – who was arrested on charges that he financed the Mumbai attacks – was recently absolved by Pakistan’s Federal Investigative Agency.
7. India suggests ways to expedite trial
India wrote to Pakistan in September to suggest ways in which the trial in the 26/11 terrorist attacks case could be expedited, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. The prosecution in the trial, on its part, said in October that India hadn’t responded to Pakistan’s request that it send 24 witnesses in the case to testify in court, and that the case couldn’t move forward until India did so.
8. The case goes on
The seven people accused of planning and executing the Mumbai attacks – including Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi – in September challenged the legality of a Pakistani judicial commission which went to India in 2013 to probe the attacks. Lakhvi was released from prison on bail last year, while the other six accused are in Rawalpindi’s Adaila Jail.
9. Hafiz Saeed’s role
Hafiz Saeed, founder of the terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the chief of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (or JuD, a charity organisation considered to be a cover for the LeT), is another key mastermind of the attack.
10. JuD banned in Pakistan; Saeed put under house arrest, then released
The United Nations Security Council banned the JuD after the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan, too, gave in to international pressure and banned the JuD, and placed Hafiz Saeed under house arrest for months, but ended up letting him go. He now lives as a free citizen in Lahore, and India’s demands that he be brought to book have been met with the response that Pakistan doesn’t have the evidence it needs to prosecute him.