Mumbai, a year after 26/11

A siege that lasted nearly 3 days scarred Mumbai and Mumbaikars forever. We take a look back at how life has changed for Mumbai in the last one year after the 26/11 attacks.
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
In what was possibly the largest terrorist attacks in recent Indian history, nearly 200 people were killed and over 300 injured in the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008.

A siege that lasted nearly 3 days, scarred Mumbai and Mumbaikars, possibly forever. Maharashtra as a state was affected, and after effects on the Indian government were observed. Also affected were the relations between India and Pakistan as well as the center and state relations within India. Through this photo gallery NDTV.com takes a look back at how life has changed for Mumbai in the last one year after these attacks.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
Causing condemnation throughout India and the world, the attacks also caused widespread anger demanding better security measures by the people of urban India. People from all walks of life got out on the streets and held candle lit vigils in the memory of those who lost their lives during these attacks. Not just in Mumbai, people took to the streets to pay their respects all across the nation and the world.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
The general reaction amongst people of Mumbai was that enough is enough, and measures to prevent any such attacks in the future should be taken immediately.

In the words of Mumbai residents:

“Mumbaikars want only peace, non-interference in their routine lives, because that's the only way the city thrives. There have been so many terror attacks in the past two decades, but Mumbai has learnt to survive with or without them."

"Yes, we are angry. Yes, one feels cheated. Cheated by the very establishment, that we believe works for us".

“Enough is enough, there is a need to take steps to avenge the attacks on our people and democracy.”

Commenting on the poor equipment levels of the Mumbai police, Late Hemant Karkare’s wife said, “It has become a fashion to announce compensation for the fallen heroes after such incidents. If the police had been better equipped, such incidents would not occur.”(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
Just four days after the attacks, on November 29, 2008, Leopold café reopened to public. The blood was wiped off, broken window panes, shattered glass replaced. The only direction Leopold was looking at was forward. Restoration began at full pace, and although the entire café was rebuilt from within, a wall with bullet marks was still kept the way it was, in remembrance of those terror attacks.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
The crowd was so big on the first day of reopening that police had to shut it down again for Leopold to reopen again on the next day (November 30, 2008). According to Jehani Farhang, Owner, Leopold Café, “Mumbai believes in looking ahead. Nothing can dent its spirit.”(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
Being the worst hit during these attacks, the iconic 106-year-old Taj had taken maximum damage. The terrorists wanted to blow up Taj but did not succeed. With grenades going off, bullets shot, numerous fires and blood stained walls, Taj was scarred. In fact, the heritage wing of the hotel was nearly charred from inside.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
Led by Mr Ratan Tata, the management announced a complete rebuild of the hotel and the Taj reopened its new wing, the Taj Mahal Tower to public on December 21, 2008. Restoration work in the badly hit heritage wing of the hotel is also eighty percent complete and it will too reopen to public very soon.

When the Taj Hotel reopened for public back in December 2008, Ratan Tata had remarked, “You can hit us…we cannot be knocked down.” A statement signifying the undefeated spirit of Mumbai.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
One of the most heart-wrenching stories of 26/11 was that of the general manager of the Taj Hotel Karambir Kang. While he and his staff bravely helped hotel guests that night, his wife and two sons could not make it out alive. In a recent interview to NDTV on life after 26/11 he said, "I don't think I will ever heal but this is my family and being here does help me." (AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
Just three weeks after the attacks, coinciding with Taj’s reopening date, Trident Oberoi also reopened its gates on December 21, 2008. The 550 room big Trident Oberoi fast progressed from the extensive damage it sustained. Multiple agencies worked on doing up the air-conditioning system, the elevators, electric network, the water pipeline and the flooring to get the hotel back to its pristine condition.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
Metal detectors and X-ray machines, along with the presence of many security personnel are the new security measures in place. The guests at the reopening said they were determined to fight terrorism and to show its perpetrators that Mumbaikars grit cannot be broken even by such ghastly incidents. “I don’t feel any fear. I feel hope. The terrorists failed and Mumbaikars won,” said Rick McElrea of Canada, who was among the first to check-in into the Trident.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, where Kasab and one of his accomplices had fired bullets at everybody in sight, killing 60 and injuring 30 others, also resumed normal schedule by December 1, 2008. It received security upgrades with metal detectors and more security personnel were deployed at the station.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
These metal detectors have been heavily criticised though. As many citizens have themselves reportedly tested with their own licensed weapons, the noise caused in the presence of a large crowd results in the alert sound of the metal detectors getting drowned which lets one take their weapon inside the Terminus without much of a problem. (AFP Photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
Restoration work recently started at the Nariman House and is going on in full swing. The temporary construction is expected to finish soon and then, will begin complete restoration. Bringing back memories of the gruesome massacre, the walls inside still have bullet and grenade splinter marks.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
However, life goes on as usual on the street below with people immersed in their daily affairs, forgetful of the tragedy that will forever remain etched on Mumbai's psyche.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
As the pressure increased on the government to act, taking full moral responsibility of the security lapse, Home Affairs Minister Shivraj Patil resigned from his post and was unexpectedly succeeded by P Chidambaram who earlier took care of the Finance ministry.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
It was not just Shivraj Patil who had to resign from his post. Following a controversial visit to Taj and a controversial statement respectively, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil also resigned from their posts.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
The 26/11 terror attacks had exposed the chinks in the Indian internal security armour. The state government had already been alerted before the attacks, after an intercept between a LeT militant and a suspect in Bangladesh talking about arranging 5 international SIM cards. This was the follow up to the previous warnings that the Taj and Trident were possible targets.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
A month after the attacks, newly appointed Home Affairs Minister P Chidambaram gave the Intelligence Bureau the go ahead to recruit 6000 field operatives and to open 20 counter insurgency schools to train the police all across the country.

Maharashtra government also announced plans to buy 36 speed boats to guard the coastal area and to acquire several helicopters for the same. Plans were also made to create an Anti-Terror force called ‘Force One’ and to upgrade all the weapons of the Mumbai police.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
The attacks damaged India's already strained relationship with Pakistan. India kept on claiming that the lone captured terrorist Kasab was a Pakistani national but Pakistan kept on denying this. However, later in January 2009, Pakistan did accept Kasab to be a Pakistani national. Following this, a charge-sheet containing 11,000 pages was filed on Kasab and his trial is still underway.

All eyes are now set on the special court where the prosecution is gearing up to wrap up the case against Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab and two others who are charged with killing 166 persons.(AFP photo)
Mumbai, a year after 26/11
There are still protest marches, candle light vigils, condemning banners or posters, and human chains in rememberance of the attacks. A year after 26/11, Mumbaikars, still bleeding and angry from the nightmare that lasted nearly 72 hours, are rebuilding their lives, little by little. Life, as they say, goes on.(AFP photo)

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