The first blast on Wednesday July 13, was at 6:54pm at south Mumbai’s crowded Zaveri Bazaar. Within a few minutes the Opera House and Dadar, too, were also hit. The attacks happened two days after the fifth anniversary of the Mumbai train blasts on July 11, 2006 in which at least 186 people died. Homegrown terror group Indian Mujahideen is believed to be the prime suspect in the latest blasts.
Mumbai was also the scene of a terror attack in November 2008, when Pakistan-based militants fought a 60-hour siege that left 166 people dead in attacks on the downtown Taj Palace and Tower Hotel, Leopold’s Cafe and the main railway station of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Many victims were American and British tourists. The picture I took at the railway station in 2009 (above, left) shows one of the metal detectors at the entrance to the station. People also just walked around them!
The Taj Palace and Tower Hotel (above) was still being repaired a year after the attack. Some bloggers are ripping off gruesome pix of the July 13 attacks and posting them, but Taste for Travel will never do this.
Of the latest attacks, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade warns: “We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in India at this time because of the high risk of terrorist activity by militant groups. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time anywhere in India with little or no warning.”
The British Foreign Office says its overall level of advice to British tourists hasn’t changed, but warns major cities in India remain on high alert and British nationals should exercise caution. “There is a high threat from terrorism throughout India. Recent attacks have targeted public places including those visited by foreigners. Following explosions in Mumbai on July 13, major cities in India remain on high alert and British nationals should exercise caution.”
The US State Department hasn’t updated its advice following the latest attacks, but says: “American citizens are urged to always practice good security, which includes maintaining a heightened situational awareness and a low profile. While travelling in India you are advised to monitor local news reports, vary your routes and times in carrying out daily activities, and consider the level of security present when you visit public places, including religious sites, or choosing hotels, restaurants, and entertainment and recreation venues.”
New Zealand’s Safe Travel government advice for Kiwis says: “There is a significant threat from terrorism in India and New Zealanders travelling in India should take account of the potential for terrorist attacks by militant groups. We continue to receive reports of plans for terrorist attacks in India. New Zealanders currently in Mumbai are advised to adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.”