By Ritu Sharma, IANS,
New Delhi : The grit and gumption exhibited by the armed forces during ‘Operation Black Tornado’ to wrest Mumbai from terrorists last month has made them shine brighter in the eys of all Indians, with letters of praise pouring in from across the country.
“I am an ordinary citizen of India. I salute you and the entire force for the bravery with which you protect us day and night. I pray to God for your long life. I shall be forever indebted to all of them,” Anand Bhangle wrote in a postcard to the defence ministry from Goregaon, Mumbai.
Ten terrorists had virtually held the financial and entertainment capital of the country to ransom by attacking people in 10 spots, including two luxury hotels and a Jewish centre. The special forces of the army and navy backed by the air force launched an operation to “smoke out” the terrorists holed up in these places.
Over 170 people, including 14 policemen and two National Security Guard (NSG) commandos, lost their lives.
Some of the writers expressed their anger against the government for keeping the armed forces inadequately equipped.
Kaustubh V. Taishete from Malad in Mumbai wrote: “Due to the shameful act by the terrorist and high negligence of the Indian government, several policemen, NSG (National Security Guard) commandos and many other people died unknowingly. This is only due to inadequate support to our armed forces in terms of bullet-proof jackets, advanced arms and ammunition, etc.”
Many acquisition plans by the armed forces are running behind schedule. Recently, the armed forces have also gone public with their dissent because they were getting paid less than bureaucrats at similar seniority levels.
Another writer who only identified himself as “M” wrote in a postcard: “We must thank the commandos who had done an honourable work on Nov 26th and rescued the people in trouble. Vande Mataram!”
Tirthaveera Sathe from Delhi wrote: “Bhartiya sainya dalon – hardik shubhkamnayein, Pakistan ka vinash ho har bhartiya ki yahi manokamna. Vande Mataram! (Heartfelt gratitude to the armed forces. We wish for the destruction of Pakistan.)”
A defence ministry official said the Mumbai rescue operation by the commandos of the NSG and the navy – beamed live on television – may have rekindled people’s attraction towards the forces.
He hoped it would help alleviate the acute manpower shortage being faced by the armed forces now.
(Ritu Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])