The train network in Mumbai was attacked in the peak hours. Powerful explosives have been used as well as Amit Varma reports:
High-intensity explosives have been used for these attacks; some of the railway carriages have been ripped apart. This is clearly no amateur job, but a well-planned operation by a group with plenty of resources.
A successful attack would be one which causes the maximum shock and fear in the people’s minds with least possible deaths. This seems to have been achieved quite well here. Such attacks have become far too common around the world in the last 4-5 years but they never fail to anger me.
Do keep a track of Mumbai Help. If you aren’t able to get through to your friends or family who might have been travelling by the trains or at the railway station, leave the number and we will try and inform you about them.
My request to Mumbaikars:
Go to the office tomorrow – each of one of you. That will send a strong message to the attackers.
Update: Gaurav Sabnis who is live blogging writes:
11:00 – For people living in the Western suburbs, the situation as far as getting home is concerned, is a bit like 26/7 last year. Traffic is moving at snail’s pace. And like last year, Mumbaikars are out on the street helping people out. Distributing samosas, biscuits, water etc to people stuck in the traffic.
So is Mumbai a rude city? Heh.
Update 2: Mumbai Help now has a wiki.
Update 3: Satya Prakash is angered by the lack of government relief machinery and salutes the common people:
It is surprising that no ambulances, no rescue workers, no police presence were shown on television even two hours after the incident. It was fellow citizens, who had taken the task of relief and rescue. Few police constables are shown, loitering and shooing away the onlookers. Wonder where is the government relief and rescue machinery?
Update 5: Reality based educator is infuriarated at no wall-to-wall coverage:
I don’t know what the coverage was like earlier in the day on CNN and MSNBC because I was not watching, but I have to ask this question: On 07/07 when terrorists hit the London transit system and killed 52 people, was CNN doing a story on “Top Ten Pick-Up Lines” singles used to get laid at 3:50 PM in the afternoon? Was MSNBC doing some bullshit filler story? Or were they doing wall-to-wall coverage of the terrorist attacks in London?
… Don’t dead Indians matter? Or are they not as important as dead Brits? Some of the Brits were brown, so it can’t be skin color, can it? Is it distance? Is India so far away that a terrorist attack there doesn’t matter as much as one in London? Is it the population of India (i.e., there’s so many of them, so who cares if there is 147 less?)
Update 6: James Cridland lands in Mumbai for a radio conference and shares his experience:
Mahim station is the one closest to the hotel. They’re currently showing pictures of this station on the television – in bits. Earlier, on one of the indian channels, they showed limbs and a decapitated head strewn over the tracks. Clearly people are made of stronger stuff here. The screenshots here, incidentally, are from “CNN IBN”, a seemingly Indian version of CNN: there are over 80 channels on the hotel television; well over half are running rolling news, mostly in English. And it’s 2.30am.
We drove past a hospital on the way here: the casualty department was lit up, with people queuing outside. (I later learn that many Mumbaians have gone down to donate blood).
Update 7: J.G.McGwire asks to stand with India against terrorism:
What most Americans know about India is that it is the largest democracy on Earth, and that it’s the beneficiary of “outsourcing,” as is Communist China. However, while Communist China is taking American jobs as part of its anti-American geopolitical goals, India has become attractive to employers for moving away from decades of crippling socialist economic policies. More importantly, India has long been battling both Islamic terrorists and Chinese Communists for years.
Update 8: Vivek Verma, a Mumbaikar, speaks:
I have literally spent a quarter of my life traveling in Mumbai trains and so would have majority of Mumbaites. My memories of those journeys are of people from different communities sharing a laugh together, playing games and on numerous occasions people distributing sweets to celebrate an occasion in their family. Mumbai trains are like a second home to many Mumbaites who enjoy the social atmosphere there. Not to mention the fact that these local trains are the life of Mumbai – making people reach their far destinations in a short time.
The blasts, which depict an ugly face of mankind, have not only taken innocent lives but also the happiness of many families. It could easily have been me or any other Mumbaite who could have met this ill-fate as we all must have surely used (and will even use) this train service. But maybe a few days down the line, all will be forgotten. Maybe because we did not lose someone special. But for people who lost someone, this will become a part of their life. That someone could be the sole bread-winner for the family. That family maybe compensated with a few rupees but how long will that last?
Update 9: The morning after.
We ended up missing one of the trains, but got into the train that was to depart next (6:33 Andheri, I think). One more train pulled in, but no train left. I heard a couple of guys in the First Class mention some news about a bomb blast. I figured it to be some rumours. Eventually, people came and told us that the trains were not going to leave.
Update 11: Tejas has another account from Mumbai:
I was at Malad Station in the suburbs of Mumbai at around 6.30 pm in the evening when the train in which i was travelling didnt budge from the station then after sometime an announcement was made on the station that the train would not go ahead until further announcement. I had no clue by that time about the situation that had just occurred in the city.
Update 12: Govind Ethiraj gives a detailed first hand account:
And yet, there is no choice. There is no other option. Life must go on. Despite knowing that every vulnerable chink in Mumbai city has been exposed. Those who survived Wednesday’s blasts have only fellow passengers to thank. Television imagaes showed many being lifted and hauled off. Others, with bloodied faces and tattered clothes, staggered out of stations and helped themselves into waiting taxis.
Update 13: The blasts and Pakistan:
But the Indians will not be likely to dismiss supposed Pakistani ties so lightly and the Indian sub-continent just became a slightly more dangerous place. That may, in fact, be the intention of the terrorists – to write large the civil war of Iraq by fommenting a real war between India and Pakistan. A war where both sides have nukes. If so, the ISI and Pakistan’s leadership are playing a truly dangerous game – one which America should not be neutral in observing.
Update 14: Polunatic who had visited Kashmir in 1980 gets extremely nostalgic and writes:
It’s tragic to see the continuing bloodshed and suffering in the never-ending tug-of-war between Pakistan and India over Kashmir.
Update 15: Shiv Sena is blaming Congress for the attacks:
The Centre is busy operating bus services to Pakistan and Islamabad, on its part, is busy pushing terrorists into India. I have been calling for a tough policy towards Pakistan, but I was ridiculed,” he told TOI, adding that mere condemnation of the terror acts by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi sounded hollow as they had failed to deal with the menace with an iron hand.
Amit Varma had shown concerns over this yesterday:
You’d expect the politicians to try and take advantage, but I hope — like most Mumbaikars, I’m sure — that the Shiv Sena doesn’t get involved. It must be tempting for them to assert themselves by setting off a communal conflagaration. That would be a far worse disaster than these blasts.
Right now, we are all Indians and need to remain united. Maybe we can play the blame game later. The country needs solidarity here.
Update 16: The city breathes as we all expected from Mumbai:
The entire city stands tall this morning. Back on its feet. As sustaining as ever. As I boarded the first-class railway compartment this morning to get to work at Malad, there was something common in the fellow passengersâ€™ eyes: Fear. Yes we are brave. Yes as a city and its citizens we know how to bounce back from any calamity/tragedy whatsoever, but does that mean we are prepared? After all no one can be prepared. Not for this.
Update 17: S writes:
My heart sank – were my colleagues ok? Frantically, I dialled one of their cell phones. Breathed in relief when I heard their voice, albeit in an utter state of panic, saying they were running out too, and would take a cab home because a bomb had set off in one of the trains, literally tearing it apart, and people were running for their lives.
It was the same train they took to get home every day – I would never be able to forgive myself if anything happened to them, as I would have always felt partially responsible for having driven them right into the face of death. The feeling was unexplainable.
Update 18: Sharique from Chennai writes:
But as it is constantly stressed that there is no place for terrorism in Islam. The crux of the matter is that those responsible are muslims for the sake of name. Some justify their acts of wrong interpretation of the Qura’n. Its because they are not educated enough to substantiate their stand and would just babble if asked. If Muslims are to progress (particularly in the sub-continent) then they have to get rid of these uneducated Mullahs.
Very true. A few people have blamed Islam after these attacks. Religion has little to do with this. If you are thinking against a specific community, the terrorists have already achieved a large part of their purpose.
Update 19: In a highly emotive post, Alap Ghosh minces no words:
Mr. PM and Mr. President and all our fellow countrymen. DO NOT TAKE OUR RESILIENCE FOR GRANTED. We pick ourselves up because we have no choice. If we decide to quit our jobs and “do something about” our dead friends and relatives, we will die of hunger, our families will not survive. We’re not farmers, we do not get sops from the government (that never reach us). We are not backward-classes, we have no reservations. We live life harder than most of the country, finding a 5 day vacation a year and two hours in the evening to know our families. We aren’t richer, we simply work harder and hence are compensated better. Which means nothing, because you find newer more innovative ways to suck our blood and our earnings…
.. we need to ask more questions, we need to find more answers and most importantly, we have to demand and get what we are due.
Update 20: Laura Matthews writes: The destruction is not the final word — Love is. She recalls a poem by Mary Baker Eddy:
Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee.
Update 21: Rahul Bhatia spent the night in the hospitals and streets of Mumbai:
The courtyard at KEM was filled with metal stretchers and wheelchairs touched with blood. A group of tired body transporters sat on these stretchers and joked with each other. At one point, one said, every bed in the courtyard had a body on it.