Thursday, 27 November 2008

India 's 9/11

I got an email from Vishal Mangalwadi whose ARTICLE I posted earlier. He was interviewd on Fox News LA about religious hatred. I searched for a video clipping but did not find any. Here is the news story they had

Faces of Terror - courtesy FOX NEWS LA

UPDATED @ 9:35 a.m. EST — Indian officials say commandos are engaged in a fierce gunfight with terrorists holding an unknown number of hostages inside the luxury Oberoi-Trident hotel complex in Mumbai.
Police have taken at least seven people out of the two-hotel complex, one of three buildings where gunmen are still holding hostages in country's financial capital.
The roof of the Oberoi hotel was ablaze as a result of explosions inside the building.
Commandos reportedly were sweeping through the adjoining Trident hotel, checking to see if terrorists were using it as an escape route.
A correspondent traveling in the region reports that some of the terrorists may have fled Mumbai in stolen government Jeeps, and that police and military forces were setting up checkpoints and roadblocks around the city, according to local media reports.
The Associated Press reports one of the rescued hostages told reporters he had seen many bodies inside the hotel. He did not give his name.
Indian TV, meanwhile, reports government officials fear the death toll at the Taj Mahal hotel could be high, with as many as 80-90 bodies inside. Some of the dead appear to have been killed by the gunmen, while others may have died in subsequent explosions and fires.
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Among the bodies removed are those of Australian, Japanese and British nationals.
A senior U.S. State Department official told FOX News that it could not yet confirm whether any Americans are among the casualties.
Meanwhile, Indian police reportedly are negotiating with gunmen holding hostages at the ultra-orthodox Jewish Chabad Lubavitch Center.
There were unconfirmed reports that some of the hostages at the Oberoi hotel are Israeli nationals.
Reuters reports a militant at the Lubavitch Center phoned an Indian TV station with an offer to talk with government officials about the release of hostages.
The caller reportedly also complained about abuses in Indian Kashmir.
"Are you aware how many people have been killed in Kashmir?" the caller asked, speaking in Urdu. "Are you aware how your army has killed Muslims. Are you aware how many of them have been killed in Kashmir this week?"
A previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attacks in e-mails to several media outlets. While there was no way to verify that claim, security experts in India and U.S. speculated the group either is an Al Qaeda faction, or has the backing the Muslim terrorist group.
Dozens of people are still trapped or held captive, nearly a day after teams of heavily armed gunmen invaded two five star hotels, a popular restaurant, a crowded train station and a Jewish center, killing at least 104 people in coordinated attacks on India's commercial center.
Pradeep Indulkar, a senior official at the Maharashtra state Home Ministry said 101 people were killed and 314 injured.
Officials said the bodies of nine militants were removed from the scene.
The gunmen appeared to be part of coordinated attacks on at least 10 sites that began around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday local time.
Gunmen also seized the Mumbai headquarters of the ultra-orthodox Jewish outreach group Chabad Lubavitch. Indian commandos surrounded the building Thursday morning and witnesses said gunfire was heard from the building.
Click to view photos from the attack sites
Police loudspeakers declared a curfew around Mumbai's landmark Taj Mahal hotel, and black-clad commandos ran into the building as fresh gunshots rang out from the area, apparently the beginning of an assault on gunmen who had taken hostages in the hotel.
Soldiers outside the hotel said forces were moving slowly, from room to room, looking for gunmen and traps. At noon, two bodies covered with white cloth were wheeled out of the entrance and put in ambulances.
A series of explosions rocked the Taj Mahal just after midnight. Screams were heard and black smoke and flames billowed from the century-old edifice on Mumbai's waterfront. Firefighters sprayed water at the blaze and plucked people from balconies with extension ladders. By dawn, the fire was still burning.
At the nearby upscale Oberoi hotel, soldiers could be seen on the roof of neighboring buildings. A banner hung out of one window read "save us." No one could be seen inside the room from the road.
Officials at Bombay Hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a Japanese man had died there and nine Europeans had been admitted, three of them in critical condition with gunshots. All had come from the Taj Mahal, the officials said.
At least three top Indian police officers — including the chief of the anti-terror squad — were among those killed, said and A.N. Roy, a top police official.
The attackers specifically targeted Britons, Americans and Israelis at the hotels and restaurant, witnesses said.
Alex Chamberlain, a British citizen who was dining at the Oberoi, told Sky News television that a gunman ushered 30 to 40 people from the restaurant into a stairway and, speaking in Hindi or Urdu, ordered everyone to put up their hands.
Click to view photos from the attack sites
"They were talking about British and Americans specifically. There was an Italian guy, who, you know, they said: 'Where are you from?" and he said he's from Italy and they said 'fine' and they left him alone. And I thought: 'Fine, they're going to shoot me if they ask me anything — and thank God they didn't," he said.
Chamberlain said he managed to slip away as the patrons were forced to walk up stairs, but he thought much of the group was being held hostage.
The White House, meanwhile, said President Bush expressed condolences to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the attacks.
Press secretary Dana Perino said the president had the conversation with the Indian leader while spending Thanksgiving Day with his family at the Camp David mountaintop retreat in Maryland.
Perino said that Bush offered Singh "support and assistance" as he works to restore order in the populous and growing Southwest Asian nation. The president also wished Singh success as Indian officials investigate "these despicable acts" in Mumbai.
The motive for the onslaught was not immediately clear, but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terrorist attacks blamed on Islamic extremists, including a series of bombings in July 2006 that killed 187 people.
Mumbai, on the western coast of India overlooking the Arabian Sea, is home to splendid Victorian architecture built during the British Raj and is one of the most populated cities in the world with some 18 million crammed into shantytowns, high rises and crumbling mansions. The Taj Mahal hotel, filled with Oriental carpets, Indian artifacts and alabaster ceilings, overlooks the fabled Gateway of India that commemorated the visit of King George V and Queen Mary.
A spokesman for the Lubavitch movement in New York, Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, said attackers "stormed the Chabad house" in Mumbai.
"It seems that the terrorists commandeered a police vehicle which allowed them easy access to the area of the Chabad house and threw a grenade at a gas pump nearby," he said.
Around 10:30 a.m., three people were led from the building and escorted away by police: a woman, a child and an Indian cook, said one witness, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
He said he did not know the status of occupants of the house, which serves as an educational center and a synagogue.
Early Thursday, state Home Secretary Bipin Shrimali said four suspects had been killed in two incidents in Mumbai when they tried to flee in cars, and Roy said four more gunmen were killed at the Taj Mahal. State Home Minister R.R. Patil said nine more were arrested. They declined to provide any further details.
"We're going to catch them dead or alive," Patil told reporters. "An attack on Mumbai is an attack on the rest of the country."
Indian authorities ordered schools and colleges and the Bombay Stock Exchange closed Thursday.
Blood smeared the grounds of the 19th century Chhatrapati Shivaji railroad station — a beautiful example of Victorian Gothic architecture — where attackers sprayed bullets into the crowded terminal.
Photos in the Mumbai Mirror newspaper showed a young gunman — dressed like a college student in cargo pants and a black T-shirt — walking casually through the station, an assault rifle hanging from one hand and two knapsacks slung over a shoulder.
Nasim Inam, a witness said four of the attackers gunned down scores of commuters. "They just fired randomly at people and then ran away. In seconds, people fell to the ground."
Other gunmen attacked Leopold's restaurant, a landmark popular with foreigners, and the police headquarters in southern Mumbai, the area where most of the attacks took place. The restaurant was riddled with bullet holes and there was blood on the floor and shoes left by fleeing customers. Gunmen also attacked Cama and Albless Hospital and G.T. Hospital, though it was not immediately clear if anyone was killed.
Early Thursday, several European lawmakers were among those who barricaded themselves inside the Taj, a century-old seaside hotel complex and one of the city's best-known destinations.
"I was in the main lobby and there was all of a sudden a lot of firing outside," said Sajjad Karim, part of a delegation of European lawmakers visiting Mumbai ahead of a European Union-India summit.
As he turned to get away, "all of a sudden another gunman appeared in front of us, carrying machine gun-type weapons. And he just started firing at us ... I just turned and ran in the opposite direction," he told The Associated Press over his mobile phone.
Hours later, Karim remained holed up in a hotel restaurant, unsure if it was safe to come out.
Since May a militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for a string of blasts that killed more than 130 people. The most recent was in September, when explosions struck a park and crowded shopping areas in the capital, New Delhi, killing 21 people and wounding about 100.
Relations between Hindus, who make up more than 80 percent of India's 1 billion population, and Muslims, who make up about 14 percent, have sporadically erupted into bouts of sectarian violence since British-ruled India was split into independent India and Pakistan in 1947
They say watching the news and reading newspapers makes you insensitive and you just shrug away the woes of the world around you. But not for me I just could not prevent myself from crying as I watched the news.
Thank you friends for asking about our well being and safey and for your prayers.
We just can 't help feeling more and more vulnerable and insecure. as each new terror episode unfolds in our country.When I was growing up terror attacks only happened in distant lands and they were few and far inbetween.But now they are right at our doorstep.
My mother is so scared when I leave the house for business.We lock the front door when we are not outside. All this was unthinkable a few years ago.
We are living in the days of pre-flood Noah.

19 Fertilize my soul:

John Cowart said...

I'm glad you and yours are safe in this terrible time. We all watch the tv news continually to discover what is happening there.

Sheryl said...

"we are living in the days of pre flood noah" indeed! at times i cannot stand to read all that is going on across the world. but we need to know so that we can be in prayer for one another. i pray for your continued safety and for peace for your mom.


Louise said...

My precious friend, you have been on my mind and my heart since we learned of the horrific attacks. May God surround you with His grace, peace and safety and may this tragedy soon end and those responsible brought to justice .. and to faith in the living God.

Jeanette said...

Oh, Amrita, how this does bring back memories of our own 9/11...It is so awful. I am praying for you and your loved ones for the Lord's protection and for His peace.

Julia Dutta said...

Hi Amrita,
The darkest night is on India. I cannot believe that the hate game can go so far, especially for a country which has been open to all humans. 30 hours over and yet the hell is not over. Look at America. One 9/11 and the security systems are so perfectly in place, not even a whiff of another 9/11. And look at us! Terror strikes could have been contained. Unfortunately, the Government does not want to do that. Mouthing rubbish, the PM now looks like a constipated worm to me, if you ask me.

PTI News that has just come in:
At least 30 hostages, majority of them foreigners, were rescued from the hotel complex.
The roads in South Mumbai, the city's financial hub which bore the brunt of the terror attacks, were deserted. Shop and commercial establishments in the Colaba area continued to be remain shut.

For the second day, wary people chose to remain indoors, hoping for an early end to the ordeal.

"My father did go to office today but I asked by mother to stay at home as her office is in Colaba. We have not switched off our television for I don't know how many hours," said 25-year-old Sunanda.

RAF troops and other gun-totting security men were guarding the Taj Hotel, where NSG Director General J K Dutt said that the operations were by and large over.

Earlier, during the night, the situation was no less dramatic with three grenades being lobbed by the terrorists even as the Army continued to maintain tight vigil to check attempts, if any by the militants, to escape taking advantage of the darkness.

Curious on-lookers sat on nearby rooftops and crowded the streets near the Colaba market area and stayed up throughout the night.

During the day, they could be seen jostling for space along with an entire army of journalists and camera crews.


Anonymous said...

i've seen this on TV. it was terrible. i'm glad though that you and your family are safe.

Vicki said...

Oh Amrita, I thought of you immediately when I heard the news about India. We've been praying fervently for you and your precious family! The other night I couldn't sleep, just from seeing the images on TV - it's heartbreaking & alarming. Please know that so many are praying for you, for your family's protection and safety, and for this horrible violence to end. I pray God's presence gives you a supernatural peace in the midst of this unrest.

Julia Dutta said...

Hope you don't mind my putting a real life account of 26 hrs of captivity by an American couple:

American couple recalls 26 hours in captivity

Mumbai, Nov 28 (PTI) "We didn't see the terrorists. But we felt their rage."

This is how American couple Bruce and Petty described their 26-hour-long harrowing experience in the confines of their room on the 17th floor of the Taj Mahal Hotel here which was under siege by terrorists.

The couple, along with a Chinese, a South African and an Australian national, was rescued from the hotel by the elite National Security Guards (NSG) late last night.

"There was blood sprayed all over the floor. It was really messy. I didn't want to see it," said Bruce recounting their ordeal.

The couple, who were all praise for the NSG commandos, said that there was no water and the place was covered with debris.

"It's wonderful to be safe in life but it is sad to see what happened," Bruce said.

Despite their brush with terror, the couple is eager to "keep coming back" to India which is a "magical country."

Though they appeared calm, the couple was unwilling to recount their harrowing experience but profusely thanked the NSG commandos for moving them to safety.

"We were in our rooms when the commandos came to save our lives. It was amazing the manner in which they functioned ... Very professional," a relieved Petty told India TV.

"We were escorted out ... Three commandos in front of us and two behind... We kept holding each others' hand and kept moving," she said holding Bruce by the hand.

"They assured we were safe. They looked around carefully. They had assault rifles and communications going on and they got us out," Bruce said.
I hope and pray that tomorrow is a different day. God knows, we need to see the light again.

jel said...

in my thoughts and prayers!


Sita said...

It just seems to be dragging on and on...can't imagine how traumatized those hostages are...some wounded...Lord, please bring this to an end and draw people to yourself through this terror...may those under 'terror' right now know the shelter of Your Presence..In Jesus Name, Amen.

Jellyhead said...

Amrita, I am thinking of you and your family, and sending you my very best wishes.

the mother of this lot said...

Amrita, I am so glad you are safe. Praying for you and your country.

David Edward said...

praying for you and your countrymen

Felisol said...

Dear Amrita,
I have been following the news with extra attention. My friend, Amrita lives in India..
Luckily you live far away from Mumbai. When times are rough one never knows where the flood strikes next...
One soothing story;
Three Norwegian backpackers stayed in a hostel near Taj Hotel.
Their local Norwegian newspaper made a telephone interview and posted it on the local internet.
An Indian family who had lived some years in this small Norwegian community, read about the frightened youth on the internet, managed to make contact, and now the three youngsters are staying home with the Indian family till things get sought out.
God is everywhere and he protects his children, that's for sure.
From Felisol

KOSTAS said...

Hi Amrita
….if my half heart is in other Greece, half in India it is found….!
Is deplorable the fact tries somebody it submits him I believe his with the arms!
In the victims of this terrorist energy of fanatic islamists, unfortunately find itself also Greeks of Cyprus!
We mourn for the all victims, we prayed for their souls they rest in peace!

Brit. (lille meg) said...

Also in Norway the broadcasting tells about the shooting and killing in Mombay. It is so terrible! Good to hear that it is over now, but so sad that so many lives was taken.
We cannot understand this, and have a lot of "why's".
Thank you for your kind comment to me!
I wish you a blessed weekend!

K M F said...

I've seen this on TV.

Bestemor Aud said...

Dear Amrita!
I have thought of you in these last days!
Words are hard to find.

And in the midst of this you post a positiv and friendly comment on my blog. Thank you for your kind words!

Have a blessed week-end!

The Dementia Nurse said...

Amrita, my internet access has been down so today was my first chance to check on you. I am so sorry for the nightmare on your doorstep. I love you, dear sister and I pray our Lord's coming will be soon!