Mumbai Mourns After Deadly Terror Attack

By Raymond Thibodeaux

Mumbai, India (RushPRnews)1/27/08-After Police in Mumbai continue sifting through the wreckage left by the deadly terror attack that left more than 100 people dead and hundreds of others injured. Shocked residents and tourists at the city’s luxury hotels watched in horror as the scene unfolded, many of them trapped by the fighting between police and the gunmen. Raymond Thibodeaux has this report from Mumbai.

It was a day of funerals for many of those killed in one of the city’s most brazen terrorist attacks. One funeral was for Shashank Shinde, a senior police inspector killed by a gunman at the city’s Central Railway Station early Wednesday night. He is one of at least 12 police officers killed in the terror attacks, one of the deadliest days for Mumbai’s police force.

Sanjive Piwandakar was a close friend of the slain officer.

“I’m feeling very … I can’t express it. I am angry and I have lost one of my closest friends. To me he was like a godfather,” he said

The funeral procession leads down a normally busy street. Like Piwandakar, the city of Mumbai appears to be in a state of shock after a night of violence. The attackers targeted the symbols of modern India. Its posh hotels, a café, and a busy train station where there are usually high concentrations of foreigners.

The wave of attacks that began Wednesday night have virtually shut down much of the city. Now, the streets are relatively empty. Many businesses are closed for the day. Mumbai, known as the Maximum City, partly for its constant rush of traffic and noise, is mostly quiet.

Crowds gathered near a Jewish outreach center in the heart of Mumbai early Thursday, where police commandos and Indian army troops worked to end a hostage crisis in which at least three gunmen were holding captive about six Israeli tourists.

Sanjay Kokate, 35, is a local resident. He was one of the first eyewitnesses as attackers took control of the Jewish outreach center late Wednesday night. He said gunmen opened-fire into a nearby building, killing several residents.

“After one hour or so the cops came. But after that they [the gunmen] kept firing. They fired into the opposite building. So some people in that building died. An old woman and some children. We took out some of the bodies at night,” he said.

Little is known about the Deccan Mujahideen, the group that has taken responsibility for the attacks. Some experts said they are linked to the Indian Mujahideen, an Islamist terror group that has claimed responsibility for several recent attacks against civilians in India.

V.N. Athawalla is a police commander posted at the J.J. Hospital in central Mumbai, where many of the injured were taken.

He said these attacks were some of the most violent he’s seen in Mumbai. Shooting and bomb blasts have happened before, but this was groups of terrorists firing at people in the streets. They were firing indiscriminately, trying to kill as many people as they could. This hasn’t been seen in Mumbai before, he said.

India has been rocked by several terrorist attacks in recent months.

For now, many here worry that anger might set in once the shock of the attacks wears off. The possibility of communal violence is on the minds of many people across the country.

But as one man at Shinde’s funeral said: “The way to honor those who were killed in the attacks is to try to carry on normally.”


Source: Voice of America

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