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'Dear Terrorist...'

Last updated on: July 12, 2006 22:13 IST
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As terror struck Mumbai once again on Tuesday evening, we asked you, as Citizen Journalists, to report on what you saw, so that the world could get information at a time when chaos and confusion reigned supreme.

Rediff readers rose to the occasion and sent us many first person accounts.

Now, we want you to report on the way ahead.

Did you notice anything unusual on Tuesday?

Did you witness extraordinary acts of valour? Did you see people going out of their way to help?

And, what did you see on Wednesday? Was there a feeling of fear, of loss, or was it life as usual in the financial capital of India?

Do let us know by clicking here

And to read what our Citizen Journalists wrote on Terror Tuesday, click here

Dear Terrorist,

Even if you are not reading this we don't care.

Time and again you tried to disturb us and disrupt our life -- killing innocent civilians by planting bombs in trains, buses and cars. You have tried hard to bring death and destruction, cause panic and fear and create communal disharmony. But every time you were unsuccessful.

Do you know how difficult life in Mumbai is? Do you know what it takes for us to earn that single rupee? If you wanted to shock us, then we are sorry to say that you failed miserably. Better look elsewhere.

We are not Hindus and Muslims or Gujaratis and Marathis or Punjabis and Bengalis. Nor do we distinguish ourselves as owners or workers, government employees or private employees.

We are Mumbaikars, or Bombay-ites, if you like. We will not allow you to disrupt our life like this.

On the last few occasions when you struck -- including the many deadly blasts in a single day killing over 250 people and injuring many more in 1993 -- we went to work the next day in full strength.

This time, we were back to normal within a few hours -- the vendors taking their next order, businessmen finalising the next deals and the office workers rushing to catch the next train. Yes, the same train you targeted.

Fathom this: Within three hours of the blasts, long queues of blood donating volunteers were seen outside various hospitals where most of the injured were admitted. The next day, schools and offices functioned. The city has simply moved on, perhaps with greater vigour.

We are Mumbaikars and we live like brothers in times like this. So, do not dare to threaten us with your crackers.

The spirit of Mumbai is too strong for you to handle.

Please forward this to others. Your fellow terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq can also learn some important lessons from this.

Unflinchingly yours,
The people of Mumbai

(Letter written by Nazir Usman)


I would like to suggest an idea for the government to introduce the same security system at the railway stations that is there at airports.

Sandeep Chugh


I saw the spirit of Mumbai. I saw the unity among Mumbaikars. We have been just reading the slogan 'Hindu Muslim Sikh Issai apas mein hai bhai bhai (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians are all brothers)' but Mumbaikars have proved it.

It's a befitting reply to Reader's Digest, which claimed Mumbai is the rudest city in the world.

Rubina Shah, Mumbai


I left my office at 7.15 pm and was going back home in my car through the Western Express Highway. It was jam packed, and it was raining. I was really impressed when I saw people offering lifts to stranded commuters. Everyone was so emotional, and there was this feeling you got that everyone wanted to do something for fellow citizens.

I am from Indore, and honestly, I used to think people of Mumbai are rude. I never expected such spirit. All my notions have changed. I salute the Mumbaikars and the spirit they showed to help the affected people.

The traffic was slow, but people were controlling traffic on their own. There didn't seem to be the need for a cop!

I too dropped three people off to their destination. Though it took my two-and-a-half hours to reach home, I didn't feel tired.

Sushil Kasliwal, Kandivali


Yet again life in Mumbai has been disrupted. Yet again hundreds die. Yet again the so called concerned authorities come and announce compensation and relief which possibly never sees the day of light. Yet again these VIPs compound people's miseries by cordoning off roads for free movement of their vehicles.

And yet again we hail the Mumbai spirit.

People, do we really have a choice? No, absolutely no!

If we don't help our brothers and sisters s/he dies a painful death. We can't allow that to happen, can we?

A so-called commercial and financial hub comes to a standstill but life moves on again the next day. The people of Mumbai are yet again patted for their relentless patience.

How long do we continue with this patience?

I guess we only ought to pay taxes regularly to mobilise railways and infrastructure across India and other states while the government leaves no stone unturned to leave us immobilised.

Yes people, we really don't have a choice.

With so many lives lost, the blasts have fulfilled the terrorist's motive to create panic among Mumbaikars. And the message is sent across to the government -- that there are terrorists sitting in pockets across Mumbai to sabotage our lives at the first signal from evil camps.

Soon, the whole issue will be past and history forgotten, titled like the attacks on foreign cuntries -- 9/11, 7/7and so on. But little will be done to curb these terrorists, hunt them down. The so called authorities will be still doing their best to pile up their kitties.

Life goes on and in Mumbai it never will come to a stand still; it never will. We will still trudge home through dirty, waterlogged roads that never seem to be completed, past drains that never function, and in first class compartments that turn into a death class.

All said, I pray for all the souls who left us and those injured and shaken. May god give their near ones the courage and strength to overcome this grief.

Joseph Cardoza, Mulund


People were distributing water bottles, biscuits and cold drinks at 1.30 am on the entire Western Express Highway from Bandra to Kandivali

In the news such things are never brought out, I would really like to thank all the people for doing such things for others even at that time of the night.

Vishal, Kandivali


I saw pregnant women helpless in the compartments. They were too scared to jump out on the tracks when the train had stopped.

Let's not dwell on the past but let us focus on what should be done now.  Do not for a minute think everything is back to normal and the city is limping back to normalcy.  Sorry, nothing like that is happening. 

If you ask the victims' family members, you will know that nothing is returning to normal for them. Instead, they will be shuddering at the very thought of what they have gone through. 

For those of us whose family is not affected, everything would seem normal. But that should not be the case. Today it was you, tomorrow it could be me. So let's be more alert, vigil and not be lax in our attitudes to what is gong on around us. 

I suggest the strictest security henceforth in theatres, markets, all public places, buses, airports -- because the common man is being affected. Please take heed.

Raghini Fernandes, Matunga


I usually take the 1st class compartment towards the front of the train, but yesterday I was a little late and the train had already entered the platform. Hence I took the middle 1st  class. That's what saved me.

The train reached Jogeshwari as usual. As soon as it left the platform there was a deafening noise from the 1st class gent's compartment ahead. The train came to a halt immediately. There was total chaos and the platform was filled with black smoke. The guy standing ahead of me was too stunned and was unable to move.

I pushed him down and jumped off myself too. Everybody was fearing another blast,  hence we tried to hide behind a small temporary structure outside the station and then jumped to the other side of the wall on the road.

From there, I could see the extent of damage to the compartment -- the roof had been blown off and the side walls had caved in. The adjoining ladies compartment had suffered extensive damage as well.

By then, some of the auto rickshaw drivers had fled due to fear. I helped one injured person , who was bleeding profusely, and guided him to a vehicle to be taken to the hospital. I helped another injured person -- he had blood all over his face and body and his clothes were ripped apart -- to the nearest hospital.

I was trying to call my home and wife, but the network was down, I could see the same with everybody. Hence, there was a serpentine queue outside the two public call booths.

Next I went onto the S V Road and got into a rickshaw with two more people, as the road was choked with traffic and literally no rickshaws available. The buses were packed to capacity. Everything was moving at snail's pace. Somehow I managed to reach home.

I would like to bring to the notice of the public through your medium that it was the people living nearby and the fellow commuters who helped the injured at the time of need, much before the authorities and the ambulances responded.

Sumit Sarkar, Jogeshwari


I boarded the ill fated 5.54 pm Borivali Fast train from Churchgate station in the ladies 1st class compartment which was just next to the gent's 1st class compartment in which the explosion took place. The train was running normal till it reached Mahim station, where it slowed down. It had just started moving and few compartments had left the platform when suddenly there was a loud noise and we saw a ball of fire.

We were shocked. We started shutting the doors of the compartment. But then a few of us peeped out and could see only smoke everywhere. Till this time we did not know what had happened. Then we started jumping off the compartment and we saw that the compartment just next to ours had crumpled like a dry leaf. I stood there for some time and saw dead bodies lying in the compartment. Many men from the other compartments and the station came running to rescue the victims. The common man was very helpful and supportive in this time of distress. There was no sign of any official for a long time. I was shocked and didn't know what to do, as I was all alone. I also saw a few men dripping blood from head to toe.

There was one nice girl who was trying to calm down all the ladies as most of them where in tears and trying to contact their families. I too immediately called my elder brother. I thank my Almighty Lord Jesus Christ for saving me and the others from this tragedy. I pray for the injured and their families and also for the dead people so that their soul may rest in peace and god may give courage to their families.  

Christina Dayal, Mahim


Yesterday, I caught the fast train from Andheri to Churchgate and it reached Churchgate at 5.55 pm. At Andheri station I saw a fair man who looked like a foreigner, slightly grey-haired with a medical-rep/doctor's bag and wearing beige pants and a black coat, who got into the gents 1st class compartment. What drew my attention to the man who was about 55 years old, is that he had an expressionless face and kept looking around furtively.

When I got off at Churchgate station, the woman who got in with the crowd into my 1st class compartment ran out again and called out to a young female Samosa/Bhel seller for her big bag which she had left with her. The Bhelwali was putting it into the 1st class compartment next to the ladies 2nd class compartment but this woman asked for the bag which she put into my 1st class compartment which was next to the gents 1st class.

She had a long plait, was wearing a salwar kameez and was around 35 years old.

Sheila, Andheri


I was on the Bhayander bridge and saw that there had been a blast in a train coming from Mira Road to Bhayandar. I heard crying and saw people jumping off from the compartments. What I saw after 10 more minutes was horrific, beyond description.

Kalpesh, Bhayander


I was at Dadar station from 6.30 to 7 pm. Everyone was confused about exactly what happened. Then slowly people started taking the buses towards the suburbs. The shopkeepers were very helpful serving tea, coffee, biscuts to all. Specially people near Mahim Church and Kesari Travels were very helpful.

Salam Mumbai!

Saurabh Dharurkar, Dadar


I was on my way to home at around 6:15 and suddenly there was a very loud noise. I thought there must be some repairing work on. Later, when I climbed the over-bridge I saw hundreds of people rushing towards Khar.

I too rushed and what I saw was really the most inhuman act by the devils living within us.

The entrance, roof and the seating area of the train was totally shattered. People living by the railway lines rushed to the site and did tremendous relief work which at that juncture was not possible by the police or the fire brigade.

I saw people bathed in blood, people with limbs torn off. A middle-aged person's stomach had almost been ripped open and the poor man was trying to lift his briefcase – there must have been some important documents in it.

It was the worst sight of my life.

Dilip P Hadavle, Bandra Station


I didn't see the blast but can tell you that in Mulund at about 12 in the afternoon there was a cop who boarded the bus and was checking the luggage of passengers with what looked like a metal detector.

Such a check does not normally happen.

Did the police have prior intimation that there could be some trouble on Tuesday?

Rahul, Mulund


I just reached home at Dharavi near Mahim around 6.00 pm and I was watching TV. When I heard that there had been a blast at Mahim, I went to the station.

I pray to god that nobody should see what I saw -- bodies and limbs were strewn about and there was blood everywhere. There was a tempo in which the bodies were put and taken to hospital. Because of the blast live wires had fallen on the tracks and we could not go on the tracks because there was a danger of electrocution. Later, the police came and they started shooing everyone away.

Today morning also on the tracks we can see pieces of human bodies.  

Joseph, Mahim


I was returning to Mahim from Grant Road in the first class ladies compartment at around 6.30 pm. All was well until I reached Mahim. Unexpectedly, the train, a Borivali slow, halted a little before it reached the middle of the platform. I leaned out to see what the matter was. The platform was full of people with outstretched hands, signalling the driver to stop!

Clueless about what was going on, all I could see was smoke. It didn't come from our tracks, (we were on Platform 1) so I assumed there must be a problem on Platform 2 (which was the closest), 3 or 4. The smoke wasn't thick, and therefore, we assumed, not worrisome. Little did I know that the fast train on Platform 3 had stopped well beyond the platform, and a blast had occurred in the First Class Gents compartment.

Luckily, my compartment was aligned to the platform and I got off the train. As I walked to the exit, I heard the word "blast" from a commuter. Of course, I didn't believe it for some reason. Blast? In a train? In Mumbai? During peak hours? No way. I thought it must be a fire or burnt garbage gone out of control or a technical snag. I tried calling an ex-colleague, a photographer, as I walked toward the smoke. No luck.

As I reached the middle of Platform 1, I saw a small group of people huddled up, holding something and running towards me. They were evacuating the injured! Now I wondered, had there been an accident?

I reached the end of the platform only to find a gaping hole in the blast-affected train which had stopped after Platform 3. It was shocking. By the time I reached the site, it had started raining. People who had died in the blast lay on the tracks only to be bundled into bed sheets and taken away by commuters who were more than willing to lend a hand. I followed the corpses to the ticket counter, where they were being dumped for another batch of helpers to load them in tempos or get them medical help -- whichever was required.

There were very few cops. Even fewer were getting their hands dirty. By that time, volunteers arranged for vehicles to transport the injured to hospitals. They worked at clearing all the tracks of corpses, of those who had died in the blast and those who had opted to jump out of the train only to be killed by another speeding train, till nightfall.

Dilnaz Boga, Mahim

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