Last week, you probably heard about the events in Mumbai, but glossed over them due to the hoilday weekend. On Saturday, I discovered a friend of mine from Manchester Business School is now living in Mumbai. I asked him to write a little about what happened out there. Here is his email, unedited:
well i am the worst when it comes to writing. i could relate some of the events to you to make up the script:
around 10.30pm we heard from the news that a place called Leobold cafe & bar had a gang war in which some people were shot. i actually had a friend just opposite that place curious about what had happened and could not figure out much. i heard stories of someone having their bachelor party there before the wedding.
it was only by 11pm or so that we started getting news about 3 places and then 5 places that were hit by terrorist attacks. these included this bar, followed by a busy train station, and then these three locations that were under cross fire for 3 days, i.e. Taj Mahal Hotel, Trident Oberoi (two of the most upmarket hotels in the city which is a who’s who regular) and a predominiatly Jewish occupied building.
In the these three locations, the terrorists entered shooting at random. this followed with taking american, british and irish passport holders as hostage. many visitors from these nations also died in the attack. all these three locations were random killing grounds and under fire.
A hotel like to Taj could easily accomodate over a 1000 people. We hear from those inside that there were scores of dead bodies left in the hotel and many of them having bombs below them as booby traps. So we really do not know the actual death count but believe it is far above what the media portrays.
The following day we were hit by some rumours of terrorists in other parts of the city. We do fear though that there may be some of these terrorists that managed to escape and are busy planning something or finding an escape route. It is hard to say what is safe anymore here.
The government was quite unprepared considering the news shows a lot of the intelligence being made available to the state. the army did play a great role in stopping the series of sad events. it was quite late though. three days of anxiety has for the first time killed the spirit of a city that is known for rebounding back the next day from calamities and terrorism in the past. there is a great sense of unrest in the people now seeking strong action against the culprits and demanding a fair and committed government that really is concerned about its people and not to unkept promises to win their vote banks. most politicians that have tried to politicise this event have been come down hard upon by the media and public alike.