Meenakshi Dantani is desperately looking for a job.
The 31-year-old was at Leopold Cafe, along with her friends, on the fateful night of November 26, 2008, when terrorists attacked it. The café — a popular joint for Mumbai residents and tourists — was one of the earliest sites of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, when Pakistani national Ajmal Kasab and his accomplices attacked a number of places in the city before holing up in the Taj Mahal hotel.
Despite extensive treatment, Meenakshi is unable to dance anymore, though she can walk around without any trouble. She is optimistic that the NDA government would be successful in preventing such incidents in the future.
“I sincerely hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be able to effectively deal with terrorism,” said the resident of Nalasopara, a western suburb, adding that she was proud to hail from the same state (Gujarat) as the PM.
Abdul Saleen Sheikh — another survivor of the terror attack — is also jobless. “I’m worried about my family’s survival,” he said. Now a resident of Virar, Abdul was injured in the head when the terrorists blew up a taxi at Wadi Bunder in central Mazgaon. “I have faith only in God. I hope peace prevails,” he said. One of the heros of that night, 46-year-old police naik in the Anti-Terrorism Squad, Arun Jadhav, believes in the ability of the police force to protect the city.
"The police are now well equipped," said the receipient of the President's Medal. He added the government has taken a series of measures following the advice of the Ram Pradhan Inquiry Commission - a two-member committee set-up by the Maharashtra government to investigate the attack.
The horrific memories of the night when the terrorists hijacked the police vehicle in which Jadhav and his colleagues were travelling him still haunt him. "Along with me, there was ATS chief Hemant Karkare, additional commissioner Ashok Kamte and senior inspector Vijay Salaksar."
All of them were killed in the conflict. "After I informed the wirelesss department about the attack, one terrorist was killed near Girgaum Chhowpatty and Kasab was caught there," recalls Jadhav.
Whoever they may invest their trust in, all the survivors of the 26/11 attack believe that Pakistan has continued to shelter terrorists and engineer such attacks. They all expect the Narendra Modi-led NDA government to take strong measures to prevent a rerun of the incident.
On the sixth anniversary of the attack, the police have put Greater Mumbai on high alert and additional force has been deployed across the city and its suburbs. Rehearsals are on at the Mumbai Police Gymkhana at Marine Drive for a programme to commemorate the martyrs.
Preparations at the iconic Taj Mahal and the Trident hotels — which were sites of the attacks — to remember those who were killed are complete. The government, too, seems keen to boost the security in the city.
Additional chief secretary (home) Amitabh Rajan told the Business Standard: “About Rs 850 crore is now available from both the central and the state governments for capital investment on equipment, modernisation, mobility, technology and research and development.”
He said a high-powered committee has selected L&T on Monday for a Rs 950-crore project to install CCTV cameras across the city in phases.
Another official said: “The government has made efforts to implement the recommendations made by the Ram Pradhan Inquiry Commission, especially to strengthen intelligence and counter-intelligence mechanism, modernise the police force, and bring about coordination among various agencies.”
Besides, attention has been paid on the interface between the police and public, and making mohalla committees active. More than Rs 5,000 crore have been spent in last five years on modernisation and infrastructure development."
He also said the state-of-the art Information Management and Analysis Centre for coastal security inaugurated last week by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar would accentuate the security of the city. IMAC is the nodal centre of the National Control Communications and Intelligence Network.