India on Wednesday marked six years since militants stormed Mumbai in three days of horror that left 166 people dead, as survivors said they would never be “beaten back by terror.”
At the Chabad House Jewish center, a high-profile target where six people were killed, an official said its reopening in August showed its community would “never be beaten back by terror.”
“Followers of the movement passing through here have been lighting a single candle for the past week in remembrance of the people slain in this disaster,” Naftali Charter, head of security at the center, told AFP.
A memorial for all of the victims of the Mumbai attacks is being built on the center’s roof and will be “finished shortly,” Charter said.
The Chabad House in south Mumbai was left bullet-ridden and bereft of its directors Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his pregnant wife Rivky, who were both slain in the siege. Four tourists were also killed on site — Israelis Benzion Kruman, 26, and Yoheved Orpaz, 62 as well as Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum, 37, of Brooklyn and Norma Shvarzblat Rabinovich, 50 of Mexico.
At sites around the city, families of victims and politicians laid flowers and wreaths to remember those slain in 2008 when Islamist gunmen stalked luxury hotels, a popular cafe, a train station and the Jewish center.
“Today, as we remember the horror of the terror attack in Mumbai in 2008, we feel the endless pain of lost lives,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a speech at a regional summit in Kathmandu.
“Let us work together to fulfill the pledge we have taken to combat terrorism and transnational crimes.”
Live television footage was beamed around the world as commandos battled the gunmen, who arrived by sea on the evening of November 26. It took authorities three days to regain full control of the city.
India blames the attacks on Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Tense relations between the rival neighbors hit a fresh low as New Delhi pressed Islamabad to bring the alleged masterminds to justice.
Sourav Mishra remembers enjoying a beer with two friends at Leopold Cafe, a popular haunt for foreign tourists, when a grenade exploded at the next table and the militants opened fire.
“Something went off with a flash close to my table and the guy there crumpled,” Mishra told AFP.
“I was sipping beer one moment and then death had become a very real possibility as blood soaked my clothes,” said Mishra, who suffered shrapnel and a bullet wound.