KUALA LUMPUR: The Indian High Commission in Malaysia held a special ceremony here on Thursday (Dec 10) to pay tribute to the victims of terrorist attacks, including the late Hemalatha Kasipillay of Malaysia, who died in the 2008 attack at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India.
Hemalatha’s husband K. Sivakumaran, who was present at the ceremony, said though 13 years had passed, he could still vividly recall the tragic day when he received a call on the terrorist attack at the hotel on Nov 26, 2008.
“There was no news from Hema as the events were unfolding and I had to fly all the way to Mumbai and get to the hotel where she was staying to look for her.
“I was frantically looking for my wife from room to room at the hotel and suddenly news came that a body was recovered from a hotel room… someone brought me to the hotel room and said it was the room where my wife was staying.
“I saw the charred body and don’t remember events after that,” said Sivakumaran in an emotional speech at the event entitled Tribute to Terror Victims – “Shradanjali” held at Kelab Aman here Thursday.
The event was attended by former deputy home affairs minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, South-East Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism director-general Datuk S. Ganeson, Indian High Commissioner BN Reddy, members of the diplomatic corps and Sivakumaran’s family members.
Hemalatha, who worked for a company based in Kuala Lumpur, had arrived in Mumbai for a business trip and had put up at the Taj Mahal Hotel, the scene of the worst militant attack then on Indian soil.
The hotel was seized by a band of terrorists on the night of Nov 26, a day after Hema had arrived.
She was then 51-years-old, and was among at least 26 non-Indian nationals killed in the attacks out of the 172 people dead and 293 injured.
Sivakumaran said the tragic event was something hard to forget, though “time heals the wounds, but the scars remain”, stressing that the act of terrorism was a serious security issue that needed to be addressed as it takes away the lives of innocent people in a gruesome manner.
Meanwhile, Nur Jazlan, in his keynote address, said Malaysia had to be vigilant in the fight against extremism, saying the developments in Afghanistan may serve as a morale-booster to dormant militant groups in South-East Asia, giving rise to the concern that both regions could once again become a haven for terror groups seeking a new base.
“Terrorism in whatever form is detrimental to the nation and security as a whole,” he said, in expressing condolences to the families of the terror victims. – Bernama