Chabad House in Colaba, one of the six targets of the bloody 26/11 terror attacks, will reinvent itself in less than six months as a restaurant, a community hall and a museum to the memory of those killed by terrorists at this Jewish outreach centre.
As the 26/11 attacks — that left 164 people dead and over 300 injured — complete five years today, Chabad House, where six people, including Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were killed, has set into motion a project to transform the building into a monument of peace and hope. “When you want to fight darkness, you cannot chase it away with a stick or an AK-47. One can chase darkness away only with light and peace,” said Rabbi Israel Kozlovsky, who assumed office last year.
As part of the $900,000 (Rs 5.6 crore) revamp, the entire ground floor of the building located in the narrow Hormusji Street will be taken over by Israeli security agencies. Though entry to the building will be heavily regulated and visitors will have to pass through two layers of security, the restaurant on the first floor will be open to people of all faiths. “It will be a Jewish speciality cuisine restaurant, but everybody will be welcome,” said a source.
The outer ring of security around Chabad House will be handled by the Mumbai police. The outer ring of security around the Chabad House will be handled by the Mumbai police.
The building’s second floor, which was earlier a prayer room, will now also accommodate a library, a small waiting area and the new Rabbi’s office. While the entire floor will be spruced up, a corner where Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife Rivka’s bodies were found will be left untouched. “It will be a small memorial to the couple. The wall in this corner is riddled with bullet marks. Nobody had the heart to touch it,” the source said.
The third floor, which earlier served as a guest house, will be turned into a community hall. Apart from community gatherings, the hall will also be used to host private events by local Jews.
The Mumbai police has sounded a high alert after the control room received calls claiming that six terrorists have sneaked into the city and may carry out a major attack at Juhu Chowpatty or Bandra Bandstand on Valentine’s Day.
On February 14, youngsters throng both these places.
Police commissioner Satyapal Singh on Sunday night contacted all senior police inspectors in the western suburbs and asked them to carry out searches in hotels and lodges and stage nakabandis.
Security agencies are not taking chances following Saturday’s hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
“The Pakistani terrorist outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), has given an open threat after the hanging of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab; now there is the Afzal Guru case,” said a senior police official. Jamaat-ud-Dawaa and LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, accused mastermind of the 26/11 attacks, delivered threats in Pakistan and strongly protested after Guru’s execution, claiming it amounted to “judicial terrorism”.
Sanal Edmaruku charged after debunking crying Jesus statue
11:00 PM, Dec 6, 2012
By Ram Ramgopal, CNN
An effort to debunk what many considered a miracle has triggered an argument over free speech and religious tolerance in the world’s largest democracy.Sanal Edamaruku
A man was charged with blasphemy after giving a rational explanation for a statue of Jesus that seemed to weep.
It’s known to happen all over the world; a religious statue appears to cry, devout Catholics flock to it believe it to be a miracle.
From weeping Mary statues in California, to a tearful Jesus in Israel, usually it’s just a matter of personal faith.
But now one man in Mumbai is facing jail time for debunking what was thought to be a similar miracle.
In March, water began dripping down a statue of Jesus on the cross at Our Lady of Velankanni in Mumbai. Parishioners collected the so-called Holy Water others drank it hoping it would cure ailments.
But rationalist and atheist Sanal Edamaruku investigated, and said it was actually sewage water percolating through the statue, because of a leaky water pipe.
Mumbai on Monday paused to remember India’s most wounding terrorist attack, that began this day four years ago. The terrorists had launched war on India for 60 hours, killing 166 and injuring around 300 people even as combined security forces battled them and managed to gun down nine.
Five days ago, on Nov 21, Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole surviving Pakistani terrorist caught alive, was hanged in a Pune jail. The security has been beefed up all across the city on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks fearing possible terror strikes.
According to the police, there would be heavy security deployment in and around the city. Vital installations, including the airports and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), has reportedly been put under tight vigil and extra security would be deployed there.
Sources said that the security appratus has also been tightened after the Pakistan Taliban said they would attack Indian targets to avenge the ‘killing’ of Kasab. Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan had said they would mount attacks “in India and anywhere” to avenge the hanging of Kasab.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh said the police force is fully prepared to deal with another 26/11-like attack.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday, he said, “Not just today but we are on an alert each and every day to keep the city safe. Since the last few days all our officers have been alerted.We will have nakabandis and combing operations in place for the day.”
On Monday morning, brief commemoration events were held at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, Oberoi Trident, Leopold Cafe and Nariman House, some of Mumbai’s most loved landmarks that were targeted by the terrorists who sneaked into Mumbai on the night of Nov 26, 2008 through the Arabian Sea route and landed at Colaba.
The main function to remember the martyrs and victims of the terror strike, which began on Nov 26, 2008, and continued till the afternoon of Nov 29, was held at the Mumbai Police Gymkhana at Chowpatty where a permanent 26/11 memorial has been erected.
Read more at: indiatoday.intoday.in
I am against the death penalty in most cases. Not in this case though. What bothers me as an American is that this terrorist attack was carried out by an American ally, Pakistan (their security apparatus runs the terror groups).
What makes it frustrating is how pretty much all the enemies the USA has been fighting related to 9/11 are linked to American regional allies (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc). The official silence (by both parties) about this is just unbearable sometimes.
India hangs lone surviving gunman from 2008 terror attack on Mumbai
By Associated Press, Published: November 20 | Updated: Wednesday, November 21, 12:59 AM
MUMBAI, India — India executed the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 terror attack on Mumbai early Wednesday, the country’s home ministry said.
Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani citizen, was one of 10 gunmen who rampaged through the streets of India’s financial capital for three days in November 2008, killing 166 people.
Kasab was hanged in secrecy at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at a jail in Pune, a city near Mumbai, after Indian President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his plea for mercy.
Kasab and the other gunmen entered Mumbai by boat on November 26, 2008. Carrying mobile phones, grenades and automatic weapons, the gunmen fanned out across India’s financial capital, targeting luxury hotels, a Jewish center and the city’s main train station. The three-day attack was broadcast live on television, transfixing the nation and world.
India blames Laskhar e-Taiba, a militant Pakistani organization, for orchestrating the attacks. The incident inflamed relations between the nuclear armed neighbors.
Reuters) - India hanged Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the only militant to have survived the 2008 attacks on the financial capital Mumbai, the Home Ministry said on Wednesday.
In August, India’s Supreme Court upheld Kasab’s death sentence over the attack on a string of targets in Mumbai that killed 166 people. Kasab was a Pakistani national.
“Ajmal Kasab was executed at 7.30 this morning,” Home ministry spokesman K. S. Dhatwalia said.
The execution at Yerawada Prison in Pune, near Mumbai, came just hours after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected a mercy plea by Kasab, who had said he belonged to the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
It was the first time a capital sentence had been carried out in India since 2004.
For over 30 hours following the death of the Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray on Saturday, stores throughout Mumbai closed their shutters and taxis and autorickshaws stayed off the streets. While analysts throughout Mumbai debated whether the citywide shutdown following the death of Mr. Thackeray was inspired by fear or respect, one 21-year-old woman and her friend were arrested for raising a similar question.
On Sunday, the police in Palghar, in Thane district, on the outskirts of Mumbai, arrested Shaheen Dhadha after she posted a status update on Facebook that questioned the shutdown, also known as a bandh. A local daily, the Mumbai Mirror, reported that Ms. Dhadha, 21, had written, “People like Thackeray are born and die daily and one should not observe a bandh for that.” The police also arrested her friend who “liked” the post, whom NDTV identified by her first name, Renu.
The women were arrested under Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code for “statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes.” Srikant Pingle, station house in charge of the Palghar police, told India Ink that the local Shiv Sena chief, whom he identified as “Mr. Bhushan,” filed the complaint against Ms. Dhadha because her comment on Facebook hurt Shiv Sena’s sentiments. Mr. Pingle declined to comment further on the details of the arrests.
The Indian government has given Twitter a 12-hour deadline to remove hate pages or risk being temporarily blocked in the country.
According to a Times of India report Thursday, the country’s information ministry has issued a notice to the microblogging site on Wednesday to remove “inflammatory” material and “morphed” photographs that spread communal hatred.
The deadline was set because Twitter did not respond to the its request on Tuesday to remove 28 pages carrying “inflammatory content with fictitious details” about the outbreaks of riots in the state of Assam. On Monday, the government blocked over 250 sites with similar content.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that thousands of students and workers from India’s northeast region fled Mumbai, Bangalore, and other cities last week fearing retaliation for violence against Muslims in Assam after threatening mobile phone text messages and Web site images sowed unrest.
However, Twitter did respond to a separate complaint by India’s Prime Minister Office over fake accounts on Wednesday, said the report. The U.S. company said it would cooperate in removing “unlawful” content and Twitter accounts.
Mumbai: Muslim leaders in Mumbai have termed the ongoing killings of minority community in Assam as ‘planned ethnic cleansing of Muslims.’ They demanded intervention of the central government as they said the state government of Tarun Gogoi has ‘virtually failed to protect its innocent citizens.’ The Muslim leaders also condemned branding Bengali speaking Indian citizens as ‘illegal immigrants or Bangladeshi settlers’.
A group of NGOs met in Mumbai on July 26 to assess and discuss the recent communal violence in Assam and Uttar Pradesh. The social and educational NGO leaders strongly condemned the Assam violence in which Muslims have been subject to a planned ethnic cleansing. They urged the central government to immediately take strong and decisive action to control the burning of Muslim villages and killing of members of the community as the Gogoi-led state government has virtually failed to protect its innocent citizens. The community leaders have termed ‘tagging Indian citizens who have been living in Assam for centuries as “illegal immigrants or Bangladeshi settlers” most unfortunate’.
Maulana Mahmood Ahmad Khan Daryabadi, general secretary All India Ulama Council, Maulana Burhanuddin Qasmi, director Markazul Ma’arif Education and Research Centre, Mr. Farid Shaikh, president Mumbai Aman Committee, Dr Azimuddin, president Movement for Human Welfare, Mr. Haroon Muzawala, Trustee Khair-e Ummat Trust and Maulana Ejaz Khashmiri have also said that the growing incidents of violence against Muslims in Bareilly, UP, Rajasthan and in other parts of the country are a cause of great concern for the minority community. They along with all present NGOs members unanimously expressed their deep sense of distress at the growing incidents of communal violence against Muslims and urged the government to take urgent steps to prevent such cases and book the culprits under the law.
A key suspect in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari, was arrested in Saudi Arabia earlier this month and then turned over to Indian authorities.
Also known as Abu Jundal and Abu Hamza, Ansari has reportedly made significant admissions implicating members of the Pakistani army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency in the planning of the attack. The Mumbai siege was orchestrated by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a longtime proxy of Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment.
Ansari allegedly directed Ajmal Kasab, the lone gunman to survive the attack, and other terrorists from a control room in Karachi, Pakistan. As an Indian national, Ansari taught the attackers about Mumbai and Indian culture. Ansari was also reportedly involved in the terrorists’ training in a camp run inside Kashmir. The training was headed by Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, LeT’s military commander.
According to the Times of India, Ansari communicated with the Mumbai attackers from the Pakistani control room. Ansari’s voice was recorded by Indian authorities. He “also coached the killers to wrong-foot the Indian investigators and global community by posing as members of a fictional Indian outfit: Deccan Mujahideen.”