Maharashtra legislature pays homage to 26/11 martyrs, victims

December 16th, 2008 - 12:00 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNagpur, Dec 15 (IANS) The Maharashtra assembly began its winter session here Monday by paying glowing tributes to the martyrs and victims of the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai and expressed a firm resolve to stand united to vanquish terrorism.Speaking on a condolence resolution read out by Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar in the legislative assembly and Chairman Shivajirao Deshmukh in the legislative council, members praised the lion-hearted police officers, constables and security personnel who laid down their lives in the grim battle against the terrorists and saved innumerable lives.

Notable among the speeches in the assembly were those made by former revenue minister Narayan Rane, who has recently been suspended from the Congress and former home minister R.R. Patil who resigned in the wake of the terror strike, Leader of Opposition Ramdas Kadam, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gopinath Munde and former minister Kripashankar Singh.

The first to speak as per convention was Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.

In the council, Independent member Kapil Patil caused furore by certain remarks critical of some parties which had to be expunged. BJP group leader Pandurang Fundkar and Shiv Sena’s Diwakar Raote were other notable speakers besides deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who spoke in the beginning.

Describing Nov 26 as a ‘Black Day’ and the terror attack as a blot on the state and the country, Rane urged the members to do some soul searching and hoped the house doesn’t have to pass such a resolution ever again.

“This is not a routine condolence resolution which every legislature passes on the opening day of every session to mourn the dead in the intervening period….Today, we are paying homage to those who died because of grave lapses and shortcomings on our part,” Rane said.

Patil, who was in the eye of storm as the state’s home minister, said in a choked voice, “The police officers and constables who showed exemplary courage fighting the terrorists and died, used to salute me as their minister… Today, I salute them in all humility and reverence.”

Kadam eulogised anti-terrorist squad chief Hemant Karkare whom his party had savagely criticised for his allegedly partisan role in conducting the Malegaon blast investigations.

Munde described the terror attack as “Pakistan’s undeclared war on India”, while Kripashankar Singh wanted the bodies of nine terrorists “to be dispatched to Pakistan from where they came”.

The speakers demanded erection of a lofty memorial to all the brave martyrs in front of the Gateway of India in Mumbai from where the terrorists came in and sneaked into the iconic hotel Taj Mahal that stands in front of it.

While many speakers referred to all the martyrs by name, those specially praised were police officers Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar, Sadanand Datye, National Security Guard officer Sandip Unnikrishnan and Railway police officer Shashank Shinde.

Police sub-inspector Tukaram Omble, who lunged on the gun-wielding Ajmal Kasab, took bullets in his belly and caught him alive, was singled out for the loftiest homage.

The houses were later adjourned after paying homage to former prime minister V.P. Singh who died Nov 27.

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