Tukaram Omble, hadn’t made headlines in his long police career, but with his bravery on the night on 26 November 2008 he ensured the arrest of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the sole gunman involved in the terror strikes to be caught alive.
Assistant Sub-Inspector Omble was a quiet dedicated man, something even his colleagues attested to.
Constable Sanjay Chaudhary, Omble’s colleague at DB Marg police station, told Mumbai Mirror in 2008, “He believed that if he reached on time, the policeman relieved by him would also be punctual. But if his reliever didn’t turn up for some reason, he would stay back for extra duty and still manage to come on time the next day.”
Omble was on the night shift at a police station off Chowpatty in south Mumbai, when a message was received about two gunmen speeding towards Malabar hill after hijacking a vehicle near Marine Drive. The message came after reports of shooting at the Chhatrapati Shivaji rail terminus and hotels like Oberoi and Taj.
Omble along with his colleagues took up positions near Girgaum Chowpatty to stop the Skoda car. Omble was armed with a baton and a radio.
The car approached at a high speed, but stopped 50 feet from the barricade. Suddenly, the beam lights went on, and the car swerved towards the barricades.
Omble was the first to rush out from behind the barricades and attempted to grab Kasab who had jumped out of the vehicle.
A DNA report described his bravery in graphic detail:
With the terrorists momentarily distracted, Omble sprang toward one of them, Amir Kasab, and gripped the barrel of the AK47 rifle with both hands. With the barrel pointing towards Omble, Amir pulled the trigger. A spray of bullets entered his stomach and intestine. Omble collapsed, but held on to the gun till he breathed his last, stopping Amir from shooting anyone else.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital but was declared dead by doctors there.
However, thanks to Omble’s bravery, Kasab was caught alive and confessed to his crime revealing the masterminds who had plotted the attacks from across the border. It also resulted in Pakistan initiating a trial against accused like Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed.
Omble was awarded the nation’s highest peace-time gallantry award, the Ashok Chakra.
For his family, the news of the hanging of Kasab was a form of closure.
“We were waiting for this day. I am glad that today the President and the Home minister took the right decision. A terrorist like Kasab should have been hanged in public,” Tukaram Omble’s brother Eknath Omble told reporters.