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Hero of Mumbai terror attack response heads security for India cricket tour of Australia

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India's best of the best are in the country for the one-day series against Australia, and not just on the playing field.

Maintaining a close watch on Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team as the tourists' new security consultant is another national hero.

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Govind Singh Sisodia is revered on the subcontinent for having led the two-day commando operation to flush out the militants behind the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008, in the process saving hundreds of guests who were being held hostage at luxury hotels the perpetrators had seized.

The so-called 26/11 attacks rocked India to its core, killing 166 and leaving India and Pakistan on the brink of war. The now retired Brigadier Sisodia, who was then the Deputy Inspector General of India's specialist counter-terrorism force, the National Security Guard, was at the frontline of the calculated response effort.

Overseeing security of an Indian cricket tour of Australia is, by comparison, something of a sinecure. Like their Australian counterparts, however, India take the security of their international cricketers very seriously. 

When they are at home there is not only a heavy police and armed forces presence outside the hotels they and their opposition are staying in and in the foyers, but also personnel with submachine guns roaming the corridors of the floor the players' rooms are on.


The Mumbai attacks, which came as dozens of the world's top players were on their way to India for the first edition of the Twenty20 Champions League and led to that event being cancelled, will have only served as a reinforcement of those measures.

Fairfax Media asked to speak to Sisodia but the Board of Control for Cricket in India have a rule that forbids the team's support staff from conducting interviews.

He has spoken in the past, though, about the operation, in particular his interrogation of the lone gunman to survive the counter-offensive he led at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, the five-star Oberoi Trident Hotel and a Jewish centre in India's financial capital called Nariman House.

Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistan national and member of the Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, would four years later be executed for his part in the massacre.

"If he was killed like the rest of the nine terrorists and not caught alive, India would not have been able to pin down Pakistan the way it did after so many innocent people died in Mumbai that day," Sisodia told the Indian Express in 2012.  

"He was very forthcoming on whatever I asked him, like how and why he came to Mumbai. I sat with him on the floor in the interrogation room and spoke in Punjabi. He replied with clarity.

"He also knew his fate that he will die, yet he hoped to see his parents, whom he had apparently neglected. He told me 'If I can escape death, I will take good care of my parents'."

Two of Sisodia's commandos died in the operation.

"My visit to Hotel Taj and Nariman House is always emotional," he said. "I prefer to visit quietly, but I am regularly visiting the places where my comrades sacrificed their lives."

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