Address by Governor at the condolence meeting organised by the Embassy of Israel to pay tributes to the victims of 26 November 2008 terrorist attack at the Memorial Lobby, Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai
Address by Shri CH Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the condolence meeting organised by the Embassy of Israel to pay tributes to the victims of 26 November 2008 terrorist attack at the Memorial Lobby, Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba, Mumbai at 7.00 pm on Monday, 21 November 2016
His Excellency the President of Israel Mr Reuven Rivlin, all distinguished members of the President’s delegation, His Excellency the Ambassador of Israel to India Mr Daniel Carmon, Consul General of Israel in Mumbai Mr David Akov, members of the Jewish Community, distinguished invitees, officials of the State of Maharashtra, ladies and gentlemen,
I stand before you with a deep sense of sorrow, anguish and bereavement. Memories of 26 November 2008 are difficult to fade away from our memory.
The three days, from 26th November to 28th November 2008, were among the most traumatic and painful for our nation, as indeed for nations of the world.
The onslaught of terrorism inflicted upon us claimed hundreds of innocent lives and devastated several hundred families.
It is horrifying to recall that terrorists, receiving overt and covert support from the enemy nation, targeted civilians in places like Railway stations, Hotels, Cafeteria and Community Centre like Chabad House.
It was all the more painful that the victims were women, men, even children, hotel staff, tourists etc. In many cases, the victims were ill-treated before being killed.
How on earth, a 2-year old child can be held hostage for 14 hours and his parents killed brutally? That reaffirms the fact terrorists are inhuman and have no religion.
Your Excellency President,
Entire India was saddened that noble souls like the Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife who had come to India, because of their love for the country, were killed so brutally.
In this tryst with terror, we also lost hundreds of innocent people. We lost our brave police officers and army personnel. It is remarkable that members of staff of this Hotel Taj Palace, risked their own lives, while saving the lives of their guests. No words are enough to condemn the perpetrators of such a dastardly act.
However, the attack galvanised the whole of the humanity in the fight against terror. The fact that we are standing in the very place which was turned into a theatre of death during the terrorist attack, shows that terrorism can be defeated effectively. We are grateful to Israel for standing by India and extending its wholehearted support in our fight against terrorism.
I would like to inform His Excellency the President that the Jews are Jewels of India. The contribution of the Jewish community to the progress and development of the nation is disproportionately high. This State of Maharashtra is proud to be having the highest population of Jews among all States. Only last year, the Government of Maharashtra accorded the Minority status to the Jewish Community to help it preserve and protect its distinct identity and cultural traditions.
On behalf of the people of Maharashtra and on my own behalf, I pay my solemn tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack on Mumbai and convey heartfelt condolences to the kin of those who lost their lives in the attack. May I thank His Excellency the President and the Embassy of Israel for his sympathies and kind support to the victims of the terrorist attack.