Day after, Mumbai limping to normalcy

November 30th, 2008 - 1:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Nov 30 (IANS) Shops opened across Mumbai and the city’s famed Bhelpuri and Vada Pao vendors returned to the streets as India’s financial hub Sunday began picking up the pieces after nearly 60 hours of terror.The shadow of three days and nights of terrorism, however, still hung over the metropolis. Residents and authorities mourned the 183 killed in the carnage by gunmen who Indian authorities say came from Pakistan.

Industrialist Anil Ambani and some of his close friends jogged early Sunday from near the Oberoi Trident hotel to Chowpatty beach, about three and a half kilometre away, in a symbolic display of the resilience for which Mumbai is widely admired.

Even south Mumbai, where the terrorists struck at 10 centres after landing stealthily by boat on the porous coastline, took the first cautious steps to normalcy - barring the sites that saw fighting till Saturday afternoon.

The Mumbai Police Sunday remained in charge at the Taj hotel near the Gateway of India, the nearby Oberoi hotel and the Nariman House Jewish centre - places the terrorists seized and where they killed people at will besides holding hostages.

But all approach roads to the two luxury hotels remained sealed. Local officials said the clean up operations would begin only after a green signal from forensic experts.

Detectives continued to comb the hotels and the Nariman House for clues that would help them unravel the larger conspiracy behind the terrorist attack, which threaten to strain relations between India and Pakistan.

Islamabad has denied involvement in the mayhem whose victims included 22 foreigners. Over 300 people were also injured.

Shops and businesses across Mumbai opened Sunday. Buses and electric commuter trains, Mumbai’s lifeline, resumed normal operations even in the upper class southern parts of the city.

The Juhu beach, among the most popular, was packed with people Sunday morning, said Mumbai resident J.P. Purohit.

“Much of Mumbai was normal even when the commandos fought the terrorists the last three days,” Purohit told IANS. “Now even south Mumbai is near normal.”

But other residents admitted that people were trying to avoid other crowded places such as cinema theatres and shopping malls.

On Saturday night, even discos again started attracting crowds.

Outside one disco was a young woman, Shahin Patel, who said: “To me, everything is normal. Life has to go on, isn’t it?”

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