Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Would Rate Mumbai, India As A Safe City To Visit Although It Wasn't Today

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Gates of India on the right, Taj Mahal Hotel on the left

The first time I was in Mumbai, then called Bombay, was 1970 and I was so happy to be in India after driving for months and months and months across a far less hospitable western and central Asia. I was on my way to Goa in my trusty VW van. I only stayed in a hotel once in the whole 2 years I was on the Indian subcontinent and it was at the very end of the trip. In Bombay I slept in my van right at the Gates of India in the shadow of a hotel I came to stay at many times years later, the Taj, sight of some of the worst of today's violence. It usually gets rated as Mumbai's most luxurious and prestigious hotel. Last time I was there Roland was taking a shower when there was a power blackout. There was no electricity, of course, and something very odd happened. The water in the shower turned to sewage. [A similar thing, although it was thankfully a sink and not a shower and there was no contact, happened to me at New Orleans' best hotel, the Windsor Court, but they gave me a coupon for two free nights to assuage their embarrassment. The Taj knew no embarrassment and we were forced to walk up and down countless flights of stairs several times.]


Today Islamic terrorists dealt a severe blow to India's tourism industry by attacking the Taj, the Oberoi and several other top of the line tourist spots, killing an unspecified number of people-- looks like over 100-- and holding others hostage. The situation is still fluid as I write. Americans and Brits were especially sought out among the hostages and then shot.
The attacks appeared to be aimed at getting international attention as the terrorists took upto 40 British nationals and other foreigners hostage. The chairman of Hindustan Unilever Harish Manwani and CEO of the company Nitin Paranjpe were among the guests trapped at the Oberoi. All the internal board members of the multinational giant were reported to be holed up in the Oberoi hotel.

Two terrorists were reported holed up inside the Oberoi Hotel. Fresh firing has been reported at Oberoi and Army has entered the hotel to flush out the terrorists.

An unknown outfit, Deccan Mujahideen, has sent an email to news organizations claiming that it carried out the Mumbai attacks.

It sounds like chaos and it's still a breaking situation and may take days to figure out what exactly happened. It's 6AM in Mumbai now and there are still hostages and sieges and confusion spread out across a city with as many as 19 million people, gunfire... the Taj Hotel is on fire; 12 policemen are dead. No one knows what the "Decca Mujahideen" is and no one thinks that's who's really behind the attacks. Probably a Kashmiri liberation-oriented group.




UPDATE: NOT GOOD

It's just after 11am in Mumbai and it looks like there are more dead and less wounded than originally thought. There are still hostages in the Oberoi and the Taj and there are army troops in both hotels. Here's a live stream from CNN India for up to the minute news.

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6 Comments:

At 3:33 PM, Blogger Distributorcap said...

well coordinated

and listening to the pundits "speculate" on this -- i think makes it worse.....

 
At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

A terrible thing, but does anyone want to lay bets that religious wingnutia will be solemnly telling us all it's part of the worldwide Evil efforts of Islam to destroy the fabric of Western civilization?

 
At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that soon as an attck happens in any city. Muslim Terrorists are to blame. The attack is still ongoing as I write this. Hostages are still in the Mharaja Hotel. It is not fair that people always assume that Muslims are behind it. Wait for real eveidnce and then we could discuss further. The Hindo Terrosits also have done similar attacks. so, is it Hindo Terrorists? Lets wait for the investgation and stop this attack on Muslims!!!

 
At 11:30 PM, Blogger Daro said...

The lesson I learned from 9-II is to listen carefully to what's said between the time of initial reporting and the time the word "AI Q@eda" is mentioned - roughly 4-5 minutes on average (and yes, their name has already been raised a few times on CNN and BBC) . But before the meme is established and the information lockdown is in place sometimes some news actually slips through the filter.

So what's infinitely telling is the BBC drags in some Indian woman with dishevelled hair and half asleep who "stays in those exclusive hotels all the time" and she starts up by sayng.. "Well, these attacks have been an ongoing pattern all this year throughout India... blah blah blah"

REALLY? I never heard one single fking report of this! And like as not, I never will again. The screen comes down, the filters go on, and the blare of the commercials return... "Incredible India!"

When there's a coup d'etat the first thing is to grab the radio and TV stations. I'm not surprised. How much popular dissent is going on with the kapitalist structure that is just supressed? And now folks; back to our top show "Running Man" sponsored by Cadre Cola!

 
At 12:46 AM, Anonymous Nimesh Shah said...

This is the statement being made on behalf of Hindustan Unilever Limited

We wish to confirm that the Unilever Group CEO Mr. Patrick Cescau, the Unilever CEO-elect Paul Polman and the HUL Management team including HUL Chairman, Mr. Harish Manwani and HUL CEO Mr Nitin Paranjpe, who were at the Taj Hotel (Mumbai) yesterday, had left the hotel last night (November 26th) itself and they are all safe and accounted for.

Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by these unfortunate events.

For any more clarifications do email at nimesh@windchimes.co.in

 
At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very saddened about the attack and the victims.

I am also very saddened that all the news agencies worlwide are continuously broadcasting that Mumbai is an Islamist attack. In fact at 0822 hours this morning an Indian correspondence on Sky at the news desk was interviewed and was asked about her opinion on who would be behind the attack. The word Islamist came out more than 10 times and her finger pointed out to Muslims. Not once did she point out the finger to a possible another group.

I would urge everyone to not make the same mistake and request that everyone should study the image of the alleged terrorist (seen on sky website and I have saved the image just in case) before assuming that Muslim Jihadists may be behind the attacks. The picture of the alleged terrorist clearly shows an “orange band” on the right hand wrist of the terrorist whilst carrying a Kalashnikov. Orange bands are used by certain Hindus and not Muslims. FACT..

The picture of one of the terrorists captured by cameras in Mumbai speaks itself. a CLUE, LOOK AT HIS RIGHT WRIST AND THE ORANGE IS GLOWING!!

 

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