A commemorative meeting was held to remember the horror of the Nov. 26, 2020 terrorist attack in Mumbai where the city was held hostage for four days and 174 people were killed, including 6 Americans and some 300 wounded. The Lashkar-e-Taiba operating with leaders of the group in Pakistan are considered the masterminds behind the attack.
The meeting was held virtually and was organized jointly by the American India Public Affairs Committee and American Jewish Committee in New York.
The participants included Jagdish Sewhani, president of The AIPAC, India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal and Deputy Consul General Shatrughna Sinha, Rabbi David Levy, regional director of the American Jewish Committee, Adva Vinchinsky, Consul for Public Diplomacy at AJC, and Israel Nitzan, acting consul general of Israel in New York. Speakers addressed the issue of terrorism and the need for Pakistan to do away with havens for these elements to operate from.
Calling 26/11 as the most “ghastly attack unknown (in the) annals of history, Consul General Jaiswal is quoted in the press release as saying that it is important for the global community that those responsible are brought to book and that Pakistan must do what is required to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice. Terrorism needs a very strong global cooperation, Jaiswal added, and called on the international community to ensure that the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which India sponsored at the United Nations, is adopted at the earliest.
Jagdish Sehwani, president of the American India Public Affairs Committee, center zoomed in, with other participants in the virtual commemoration meeting for the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008. Photo: courtesy: American India Public Affairs Committee
“We will never forget those four days in 2008. It’s etched in our memory for ever,” Sewhani is quoted saying in the press release. He also praised India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with “unprecedented co-operation” from Israel and the United States for making India “a much safer place.”
However, despite Pakistan being relatively isolated, terrorists continue to operate from Pakistan, Sehwani noted and urged the AJC to support “impress upon the next Biden Administration not to restore financial aid to Pakistan” and that President-elect Joe Biden and his choice of Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, have expressed zero tolerance for terrorism in South Asia.
Israel Nitzan, acting Consul General of Israel in New York said his country was shocked by the barbaric attacks carried out against innocent civilians and foreign tourists across Mumbai in November 2008. He stressed that Israel, India and U.S. share deep bonds based on shared experiences and that the horrific Mumbai attack “strengthens our deep bond and friendship.”
“We will not allow terrorism to break us, the attack is a lesson about our resiliency. The objective of attack in mumbai was to cripple the economy, society and its vivid and wonderful culture and they (terrorist) failed miserably,” Nitzan said. Deputy Consul General of India in New York Shatrughna Sinha said that 12 years after the heinous attack the perpetrators are still roaming free.
Sinha also shared profiles of a few individuals and foreign nationals who lost their lives in the Mumbai Attack. Among them were Rabbi Gavriel and his wife Rivka, who was five months pregnant at the time, who was killed when terrorists stormed Nariman House. The couple ‘s son Moshe Holtzberg was saved by their Indian caregiver Sandra Samuel.
Rabbi David Levy regional Director of American Jewish Committee and Adva Vilchinski Consul for Public Diplomacy also spoke at the event.