Mumbai: The siege of Mumbai came to a bloody end on Saturday when commandos of the National Security Guards killed the last terrorists and cleared the Taj Mahal Hotel in the biggest anti-terrorist operations ever mounted in India.
"All operations are over. All the terrorists have been killed," Mumbai police chief Hassan Gafoor said, as the special forces units emerged from the smoke-filled hotel and firemen moved in to douse a raging blaze.
Another luxury hotel that was attacked, the Oberoi Trident, was declared clear of militants late on Friday, with scores of trapped guests rescued. Thirty-two bodies were found from the hotel.
"They were the kind of people who had no remorse - anybody and whomsoever came in front of them they fired at," an Indian commando said of the attackers.
Intelligence officials said they were "all well-built and at the peak of their health, aged between 24 and 30, and were heavily trained in military tactics."
Mumbai disaster official R. Jadhav said that 195 people had been killed and nearly 300 injured in the attacks, which began when the dozen or so militants split into groups to strike multiple targets across the city, including the main railway station and a hospital. TV channels dubbed the attacks "India's 9/11."
The foreigners killed included nine Israelis, five Americans, two French, two Australians, two Canadians, a German, a Japan-ese, a British Cypriot, an Italian, a Singaporean, a Thai and a Mauritian.
About 15 security personnel were killed, including the head of Mumbai's anti-terrorist squad, who was cremated with full honours on Saturday at a funeral attended by thousands.
Eleven militants were confirmed dead and one, a Pakistani national, captured.
A number of Indian officials suggested the militants were from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba - notorious for a deadly assault on the Indian parliament in 2001 that pushed New Delhi and Islamabad to the edge of war.
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari warned India against any "over-reaction" and vowed the "strictest" action if Pakistani involvement was proved.
Hours after the battle for Mumbai ended, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met the chiefs of the army, navy, air force and intelligence services to discuss the attacks. "The prime minister wants a detailed report on the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and actions being taken," an aide to the premier said.
The official said "ways to prevent such attacks" from happening again were being discussed in the meeting but gave no further details.
In Islamabad, Pakistan's cabinet held crisis talks to discuss a response to the Mumbai attacks after Islamabad reversed a decision to send the head of its military intelligence to India.
Fallout: What next for india
- The Congress-led federal government could be punished in the polls if voters blame the government for being soft. The attacks could play into the hands of the opposition BJP.
- Indians could also rally around the government, as can happen in times of crisis.
- With militants claiming responsibility for the attacks, communal politics could also become an election issue. Religious tensions could increase.
- The attacks could hasten the pace of monetary easing as policy makers could try to counter the negative sentiment.
How have you been affected by the attacks in Mumbai? Do you think the steps taken to control the situation were effective and timely? What more could have been done? How should the Indian government prioritise its forthcoming actions? Fill in the form bellow to send your comments.
First of all there needs to be unity within the government, which is most important. Only after that can one perform his or her duties to the fullest. The commandos carried out the entire operation very well and some of them even risked their lives to save the citizens of India as well as the tourists. We must learn from our mistakes and get down to having some kind of system to regulate the flow of people into the country. Our marine security needs to be strengthened as well as our armed forces along with the fire fighting officers, who I believe did not even have bullet-proof jackets. All this can happen if our current politicians are changed.
Posted: November 30, 2008, 10:30
It is because of the brave movement by the Indian soldiers that things have become under control. Otherwise the militants would have targeted around 5000 peoples and destroyed the Taj Hotel completely just like the New York World Trade Centre. Indians are proud of those commandos who gave their life for their nation and all those who participated in the operations.
Posted: November 30, 2008, 10:16
I have been affected emotionally as I am an Indian. It is hard to see our people shedding blood without any reason and it also gives a fear in our hearts to move in and out of the city not knowing what will happen next. The action against the terrorists needs to be severe and the public should remain calm till the decision is made so that no cold war or religious issues would crop out. The aim behind this attack must be to shake the peace and unity of our country and make a war within the people of India. We should stay calm and united.
Posted: November 30, 2008, 09:48
We do not need reasons to put an end to terrorism. We want to have actions taken so we could learn from what has happened and avoid such incidents in future. We want a better security system.
Posted: November 30, 2008, 09:26
Although I was not personally affected by the attacks, an attack on my country is as bad as me being personally affected. The steps taken to control the situation were timely and effective. India should tighten the security in all entry and exit points in all parts of India in order to avoid any such occurrence in the future.
Posted: November 30, 2008, 09:17
Being a Pakistani, we understand how one feels when being attacked by terrorists. As per what we have been reading and hearing about the plot, the Indian forces did a great job to minimise the collateral damage. We Pakistanis give our condolences to those who lost their loved ones. Furthermore, the Indian government should conduct a firm and fair investigation instead of pointing their fingers at Pakistan. Pakistan has been decimated by terrorists during the past four years and we have not point our figures to India. Likewise, we expect a fair chance.
Fahd Ali Akmal
Posted: November 30, 2008, 08:56
The Indian economy will get affected yet steps taken to control the situation were great. Nothing else can be done. The Indian authorities should issue a notice to all the states to seize the border and have proper checkups in all railway stations, airports and busy shopping malls. They need to increase security personnel, not for a while but forever. At a time like this I hope people will not blame each other. Instead, support the government.
Posted: November 30, 2008, 08:30
I am a Mumbaiker and it bleeds my heart to see the terror and havoc the terrorists have caused. I salute our armed forces that have saved our city and country. It is good that we have people who still want to live and stand up for our country, unlike our so-called politicians. Where is Raj Thackery now when "Amchi [our] Mumbai" was facing the worst 61 hours?
Posted: November 30, 2008, 08:21