Kudos to the security forces, National Security Guard (NSG) commandos, Marine commandos, Army personnel, Maharashtra/Mumbai Police and particularly its Anti-terrorists squad (ATS), State Reserve Police, Railway Police Force (RPF) and Home Guard among others. The Taj staffers, fire services personnel (without bullet proof jackets), the medical professional, the railway and BEST bus service providers, the media and many others also contributed. I salute all of them.
The siege started on Wednesday night and went on till Saturday afternoon (26-29 November 2008). Nearly 200 dead (including 20 security forces) and more than 300 injured. The attack has been meticulously planned and designed, the terrorists well trained and familiar with the place. It is very hard to believe that there were only ten of them. There is a very high possibility that more people must have been involved in providing logistic support even during the operation. The question that disturbs is who are they and where are they?
There are obviously some lessons. The worst of them have been the politicians. At least this is one time where they should have come together. Is this the state of the largest democracy? Are we expecting a bit too much from them? It is a sorry state of affairs that not a single party has a semblance of intra-party democracy. And, on important issues, voting in the parliament is not based on one's reasoned understanding but by the whip issued by the party that one represents - this is the state of freedom enjoyed by a people's representative.
The Police did a great job. Arriving on the multiple scenes immediately. Nevertheless, it is a fact that they are ill-equipped and cannot handle such situations. Loosing three senior personnel in a single encounter is a pity. In future, if possible, they should avoid travelling in the same vehicle and take escort. The government should seriously think of revising the pay scales, provide decent housing and other amenities to the police as well as other public service providers.
The media's role, I reiterate, has been of help, but there is a strong case of restraint to be followed in future. The real time telecast (by most) revealed some vital aspects of preparation but it does leave one thinking of whether this was a mere absence of foresight or by design.
Some of the news channels have given lists of the deceased/injured, but they may consider identifying the security/police personnel. Some of them have also come up with video homages which includes all the twenty personnel who lost their lives. Despite this, I am sorry to state that the coverage was hierarchical. The junior personnel who died in the operation have not been given adequate space. This is sad. Get out of this hierarchy at least during their death. All these bravehearts live on. Mumbai, and its spirit, also lives on.