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Pall of gloom at Karkare home

Insiyah Vahanvaty in Mumbai | November 27, 2008 20:27 IST

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Coverage: Terror strikes at Mumbai's heart

The nation lost a hero on Wednesday, and the streets of Mumbai were witness to that. The mindless terror attacks spared nobody. And Anti-Terror Squad Chief Hemant Karkare [Images] was one of the hundreds of people who fell prey to the attacks

While the nation mourned their loss, the martyr's family was shocked. The footage of the chief donning his helmet and bullet-proof vest before leading his team into the hotel under attack was being flashed on each and every channel. But for the Karkare household, a father had been lost. A brother, a husband and a friend.

Outside the Karkare home in Dadar (in central Mumbai) the family preferred to grieve in private. There were officers in uniform, zealously guarding the gates, allowing only friends and family to enter. The media was relegated to the opposite side of the road.

Watch video: Outside the Karkare home

Among the mourners were friends and colleagues who dropped in to offer the family their condolences.

As onlookers watched, it was quite clear that neither was Karkare's body inside, nor was it expected to arrive anytime soon. The body rests at the Sion hospital at the moment, guarded as zealously as his home. The cremation has been delayed as his two older daughters are abroad and haven't yet arrived. Only his youngest son, who is a commerce student, was in the city.

Neither mother nor son had had a wink of sleep after they heard the terrible news, and were both worn out. Kavita Karkare had fallen ill and had been prescribed drugs, while her son (Akash) tried to put up a brave front before his friends, but the exhaustion and emotional drain of the long night was showing on his face.

As the curious crowds petered out, a police van pulled up and out leapt men in uniform, toting rifles. Things might look normal, but they certainly aren't yet. And for the Karkare family, they just might never be.

Video Hitesh Harisinghani

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