26/11 attacks anniversary: No Diwali in 10 years for slain cop’s family

The whole nation knows what happened in Mumbai on the dark night of 26/11 as the city faced one of its worst terror attacks in history. 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists infiltrated Mumbai by means of a sea route from Pakistan and executed a string of shooting and bombing attacks across the city. The terrorists took over Mumbai for four days as they murdered 166 people and injured over 300.

It is worth mentioning here that it was Karkare who had initially fired shots at Kasab which caused the terrorist to slow down and at the end caught by Sub-Inspector Tukaram Omble.

In the last 10 years the family of Tukaram has never celebrated Diwali or any other festival. “My bond with papa was too strong and after his death I feel like I am alone,” said Vaishali, daughter of policeman Tukaram Omble, who was killed while trying to overpower terrorist Ajmal Kasab.

It has been a decade of heartbreak but Vaishali and her family still like to believe that Omble will return, “Even now we feel like the door will open any second and papa will be back home although we know that it is not possible,” said Vaishali, the eldest daughter of the Mumbai terror attacks hero, whose bust has been constructed at Girgaum Chowpatty at the very spot where he attempted to arrest Kasab.

The family has kept Omble’s belongings as they were. “We miss him every day. My sister’s daughter who was born after his death also asks us about him and when he will be returning. All we say is that he is on duty and will come home someday,” added Vaishali.

Omble, an assistant sub-inspector, was killed by Kasab’s bullets in the early hours of November 27, 2008. When Omble and his team reached Chowpatty and saw a Skoda car approaching, they intercepted the car and an unarmed Omble pounced on Kasab to overpower him. “It was only because of his efforts that the lone 26/11 terrorist was captured and hanged,” added Vaishali.

Kasab and another accomplice had already sprayed bullets at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus that night. After moving towards Cama Hospital where they killed three senior police officers, including Hemant Karkare, the duo carjacked a Skoda which Omble intercepted.

Vaishali stays at the Worli Police Camp with her mother Tara and sister Bharti, who is an officer in the state GST department. Vaishali Omble conducts tuition for students from Class 8 to junior college, which keeps her busy. The Mumbai Police has stood by the family and is always, only a phone call away.

“Even now when we see terrorist attacks happening around the globe, we feel the pain of the victims and family who lost their loved ones. Attempts should be made to stop them. It is not only the responsibility of the authorities but common people also should contribute to make the world terrorism-free,” said Vaishali.

It’s a matter of shame that the mainstream media of the country glorifies family members of declared terrorist Afzal Guru, who was found involved in parliament terror attack. Articles after articles are published to gain public sympathy for the terrorist family of Kashmir while the martyrs are overlooked. We leave it to the readers to decide where the journalism of India is going?

Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.