Mumbai blasts: Angry residents demand answers on security(VIDEO)
Three bomb blasts hit the Indian commercial capital of Mumbai, a city that still has sharp memory of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Many residents want to know how it could happen again.
For a city usually hailed as resilient and stoic, Mumbai today is seething with anger following the latest bomb attacks that many say have exposed a lack of security there.Skip to next paragraph
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As investigators sift through the wreckage at three sites looking for clues, residents are demanding to know why they are still at risk, despite assurances that security measures and coordination would be stepped up after the last Mumbai bombings in November 2008. But with little evidence of an actual intelligence failure, and with a divided opposition, India's Congress-led government is unlikely to suffer any dramatic political repercussions.
During yesterday's evening rush hour, bombs exploded in three locations in the crowded, often chaotic city: in the upscale southern Opera House district, in the crowded Zaveri Bazaar market, and near a busy transport hub in the suburb of West Dadar, a few miles north of the city center. At least 17 people were killed, and another 131 injured, 23 of them critically.
"There won't be any candlelight vigils this time," says journalist and Mumbai resident Joeanna Rebello. "Everybody wants action."
The morning newspaper headlines read, "Yet Again," and "Attacked. Again," and "We're All Sitting Ducks."
On Twitter, Mumbai residents quickly mobilized to offer transport help and provide instant updates, at the same time venting their frustration that another attack has occurred.
"In situations like yesterday, Mumbai seems to ignore the first four stages of grief and makes a beeline straight for acceptance," wrote blogger Suma Nagaraj. "But does it make up for the injustice that's meted out to Mumbai over and over again?"
Megha Deokule, a caterer who lives in a suburb neighboring Dadar says, "There's no point getting angry, this keeps happening all the time." She adds, "but nobody wants this." Still, observers say that until it becomes clear who is responsible for the attacks, significant action may be slow in coming.
India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram insisted that the bomb blasts couldn't be described as an intelligence failure because, he argued, Mumbai's police had kept the city safe since the 2008 attacks. "Whoever planned this attack worked in a very, very clandestine manner," he told reporters at a televised press conference.
"There was no intelligence regarding a militant attack in Mumbai," he admitted and expressed his regrets. A general intelligence warning had been issued for the state three days earlier, though it was not a specific one. "Maybe those who perpetrated the attacks worked in a very clandestine manner, maybe a very small group that has not communicated with each other," he said.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Siddharth Ramana of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, a New Delhi-based think tank, says the event has all the hallmarks of homegrown militant group Indian Mujahideen. The group believed to have close ties to the Students Islamic Movement (SMI) of India, has been labeled a "terrorist" group by India, but unlike SMI, has not been banned.