Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday paid tributes to those who dies in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack on its 12th anniversary, and said the police force needs to be so strong that terrorists do not dare to attack the state or its capital city.
Speaking at the Maharashtra Police headquarters after paying floral tributes to the martyrs, Mr Thackeray said though the state is facing a financial crisis, his government will take every step to strengthen the police force.
Earlier, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray also paid respects to the martyrs, who died fighting terrorists during the attack on November 26, 2008, at the newly-built memorial at the police headquarters in south Mumbai.
Wives of some of the personnel killed in the 26/11 attack inaugurated the martyrs' gallery at the state police headquarters i Mumbai.
On the occasion, Mr Thackeray released of coffee table book, titled ''True Grit'' on the Maharashtra Police's work during COVID-19 pandemic.
"We should make our force so strong that the idea of attack on Maharashtra and Mumbai does not come into the mind of terrorists, they should not dare to attack the state and Mumbai. If any terrorist comes forward, he should be killed on the spot," he said.
"We woke up about strengthening the police force afterthe 26/11 terror attack. As we made necessary arrangements for health facilities after COVID-19 outbreak, we can also work to strengthen our police force," he said.
मुख्यमंत्री उद्धव बाळासाहेब ठाकरे यांच्या उपस्थितीत आज मुंबई येथील पोलिस महासंचालक कार्यालय येथे हुतात्मा दालनाचे उद्घाटन तसेच "अतुल्य हिंमत" या कॉफी टेबल बूकचे प्रकाशन करण्यात आले. pic.twitter.com/LWQjkmL3OH- CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) November 26, 2020
Mr Thackeray remembered the day of the attack in 2008 when he was on a tour of Dhule and Nashik for poll rallies. "After getting information about the attack, I had called police inspector Vijay Salaskar and he said he had just reached home and was again rushing to the spot," he recalled.
"I then made two-three calls to him. When he picked up the call, Salaskar said he was in front of the Taj Mahal Hotel and that the police force will enter it after a survey," the chief minister said.
Mr Salaskar was later killed while fighting with the terrorists. "Later, I made various calls to Salakar, and till this day, he hasn''t picked up the call," the CM said on an emotional note.
People should be aware of what conditions police personnel are working in, what is the meaning of police, what is their life, he said, adding the concept of martyrs gallery should also be extended to other major cities of the state.
On the occasion, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said the 26/11 terror attack was a "national crisis".
"The black face of the neighboring country (Pakistan) came to light after the police caught one of the terrorists (Ajmal Kasab) alive," he added.
At least 797 Maharashtra Police personnel have died in various operations, including Naxal attacks, terror attacks, communal riots, and other official duties from 1965 to 2020, according to the state police.
The 12th anniversary of the deadly terror attack was attended by a limited number of people in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Family members of some of the martyred police personnel also paid tributes at the memorial.