Terrorism has become a constant global threat and humanitarian forces will have to fight unitedly to defeat it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today as the country paid tributes to those who sacrificed their lives during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.
Today is the ninth anniversary of the gory attack, carried out by 10 terrorists from Pakistan over three days, that left 166 people dead.
Recalling the sacrifices of brave citizens, Modi, in his radio address 'Mann ki Baat', said that even a few years ago, when India talked about the threats of terrorism, not many in the world were ready to take it seriously.
"Now that terrorism is knocking at their doors, every government in the world, those who believe in humanity, governments with faith in democracy, are seeing this as one of the biggest challenges," he said.
Also Read: ‘Mann Ki Baat’: Terrorism bent upon destroying humanitarian forces, must be fought unitedly, says PM Modi
He said that terrorism had taken an ugly shape and had become a global threat "almost as a daily routine".
"Terrorism has challenged humanity. It is bent upon destroying humanitarian forces. So not only India but all humanitarian forces will have to keep fighting unitedly to defeat the menace of terrorism," he said.
Modi said that while November 26 was observed as Constitution Day, the nation could not forget that on this day nine years ago, terrorists launched attacks across Mumbai.
"The country remembers and bows to those brave citizens, policemen, security men and each one who lost their lives then. This country can never forget their sacrifice," he said.
Union ministers, Kiren Rijiju and Hansraj Ahir, meanwhile, hit out at Pakistan on the issue of terrorism.
Rijiju accused Pakistan of not doing enough to control the growth of terror on its soil, while his colleague Ahir claimed that the neighbouring country had released the 2008 attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed from "house arrest" to increase terror activities in India.
Saeed is the founder of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The UN and US designated terrorist, who has a USD 10 million American bounty on his head, was freed by Pakistan authorities on Friday.
"The government has made it clear on various international platforms that Pakistan is a breeding ground for terrorism," Rijiju said at a function in Mumbai to commemorate the sacrifices made by the security personnel.
India has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism, he said.
Asked about the release of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Saeed, the Union minister of state for home said it was a matter of concern. We have been putting pressure on Pakistan in a bilateral way as well as through multilateral forums, he said.
"On various international forums, we are making it absolutely clear that Pakistan is a breeding ground for terrorism and it is not doing enough to contain the growth of terrorism on its soil," Rijiju said.
He, however, said the Indian coastal borders were much more secure now as the government had taken several measures.
Ahir lashed out at Pakistan claiming it was uncomfortable with the way Indian forces were eliminating terrorists.
"Even Saeed's relative, a terrorist, has been killed by our security forces. To give a boost to terrorist activities, Saeed has been released by the Pakistani government," Ahir claimed in Mumbai.
The minister said the Indian government had increased the amount it spends on equipment and modern weapons for security forces to improve internal security.
"Terrorism is not letting us live. I can say it clearly that Kashmir's enemy is Pakistan. Even the Kashmiris agree to this," Ahir said.
Union ministers Smriti Irani and Rajyavardhan Rathore also paid homage to the victims of the 26/11 attack.
"They brought terror to our shores & were met with the sheer will of our forces to protect the sovereignty & integrity of India," Irani, the information and broadcasting minister, tweeted.
Homage to all victims of 26/11 & gratitude to those who protected us then and continue to do so now, she added.
Rathore, the minister of state for information and broadcasting, asked people to resolve to eliminate terrorism. "On the 9th anniversary of #MumbaiTerrorAttack, a humble prayer for security personnel who gave their lives protecting us," he tweeted.
As we share the grief of the families who lost their loved ones, let us all resolve to eliminate terrorism in all forms and make India a safer, better nation, he said.
In south Mumbai, Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and others laid wreaths at the police memorial this morning and observed silence in memory of the bravehearts.
Family members of those killed were among those who paid respect to the departed souls. DGP Satish Mathur and Mumbai Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar also paid tributes.
"To the 166 lives lost...to over 239 injured...to the innumerable memories etched on the firmament forever and to Mumbai, the city which picked up its pieces and started stronger than ever - A Salute and A Bow of Gratitude from Mumbai Police!" the Mumbai Police tweeted.
The financial capital was attacked by 10 terrorists of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, who came here by the sea route, on November 26, 2008. In the mayhem that followed for the next three days, 166 people, including 18 police officers and two NSG commandos, were killed.
Nine of the terrorists were gunned down by security personnel, while the tenth one, Ajmal Kasab, was captured alive. He was tried in a court and sentenced to death. He was hanged in November 2012.