Every year in November, the Ombles are tossed into a timewarp. It draws the surviving family of assistant sub-inspector Tukaram Omble back to 2008, right into the tortured days after the Mumbai terror attack. Vaishali Omble (29) says their lives changed forever after tragedy struck them unexpectedly and took their beloved father away. Luckily, the Mumbai police has been with them like a rock. “They supported our family in all the odds we faced after our father’s death. We received immediate help whenever we made a call to any police officer in Mumbai,” says a grateful Vaishali. A police job comes with its risks, true, but nothing prepared the Ombles for the terrible blow. Omble had served as a jawan in the Indian army before he joined the Mumbai police. On 26/11, he was unarmed, but it did not stop him from taking on Ajmal Kasab and Ismail when they exited Cama Hospital, after their carnage at the CST railway terminal, where they opened fire on defenceless commuters, killing more than 50. The killers weren’t going to be stopped yet: Kasab fired the fatal bullet that took Tukaram’s life.
Vaishali, thus, spent her early adult years without a father’s hand to guide her. “It was a sudden, rude initiation to the insecurities of the outside world and, without a fatherly figure, we had to take up responsibilities soon,” she says.
The government gave Omble a posthumous Ashok Chakra; his family got compensation. “I think that it (compensation) shouldn’t be a one-time help. The pain, grief and want are not over after a one-time financial grant. In fact, it becomes the government’s duty to look after the family for as long as they need it,” says Vaishali.
She also says that hanging the lone terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, has not delivered justice to victims’ families. “The masterminds are still at large in Pakistan. Neither the earlier government nor the current one has been able to punish them for their gruesome deed,” says Vaishali. Justice, for her, remains elusive afer a decade of heartbreak.
By Neel Shah in Mumbai