New Delhi: “We were praised for eliminating nine but the people of India ensured that the 10th terrorist meets the same fate,” a top NSG commander, who was in the thick of action during the 26/11 attacks, said today.
The officer led a strike squad of ‘black cat’ commandos at the Oberoi-Trident hotel and was in constant touch with his men who were undertaking similar offensives at the Taj hotel and Jewish residential complex Chabad house during the deadly strike in the end of 2008.
“Security forces killed nine terrorists… Eight were killed by NSG and one by Mumbai police while Kasab was caught alive. I think the people of India ensured that the last one meets the same fate as the others,” the NSG commander, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
The officer is now back in his parent unit in the Indian Army. The NSG that codenamed its assault as ‘Operation Black Tornado’ killed two terrorists in Oberoi-Trident, two in Nariman house and four at the Taj hotel after they engaged them in fierce gunfights with bullets flying around and bombs exploding regularly.
“None of those commandos who took part in the 26/11 operation are now in NSG but this task holds a very important place in our memories. With Kasab being hanged today, I think the perpetrators of the Mumbai mayhem have been brought to justice but the terrorist design behind them still remains alive to any such misadventure. The NSG is always prepared for them,” another NSG commander who led the three strike squads in 2008 said.
The deputation tenures of the officers and commandos in the National Security Guard (NSG) is for three years. About 200 commandos of the 51 Special Action Group (SAG), the counter-terror wing of the NSG, were flown in the night of November 26 from Delhi on a special plane to take on the terrorists.
They were later joined by a fresh contingent of 200 commandos from their base in Manesar near Delhi as the siege extended to over 60 hours. The force lost two of its commandos– Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havildar Gajender Singh– in the operation which brought laurels and the most number of gallantry awards for the NSG in a single operation.