Memories of Mumbai horrors still fresh in minds one year on
The crowds have now returned to the Gateway of India, and the Taj Mahal Hotel is being repaired.
Leopold's Café was one of the popular tourist hotspots attacked in last year’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Eight people died there when militants opened fire with their AK-47s.
It reopened just three days after the assault, and is now always packed to capacity, despite the telltale bullet holes that are being kept as a reminder.
“The response was good. From the very first day we opened up, the crowd response was good. I never felt in any way that the customers were feeling insecure or unsafe coming to this place. They said: No, we will come to this place and show that we will never be bogged down by terrorists,” says the café owner Farhang Gehani.
Tourists are back too, keen on seeing the places that were attacked. Guides even offer a tour of the terror trail for $38.
India, Mumbai : (FILES) This photograph taken on November 29, 2008 shows an Indian soldier aiming his weapon towards The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai (AFP Photo / Files / Pedro Ugarte)
However, foreign tourists can come and go, whereas it is the average Mumbaikar going about his daily business who feels unsafe. The city’s police force was criticized for its slow response and poor coordination during the attacks, but the new chief of the Anti-Terrorism Squad, K.P. Raghuvanshi, says the force is now better equipped and fully capable of preventing terror attacks in the future:
“The capability of the police has been improved. You will find that various bullet-proof vehicles are available in the city in several places. We are ready to go at any time, be it morning, day or night.”
Regardless, local residents are not impressed.
“Why do security forces wake up only after something takes place? They should always be ready and prepared in advance,” believes Hitesh Thakkar.
The Indian government has warned of a possible terror attack around the first anniversary of the Mumbai attacks. With the horrors of last year still fresh in people’s minds, it is hoped that the security forces will now live up to the nation’s expectations.