|Shaken residents fled for their lives as the attackers took Mumbai by surprise [AFP]|
Mumbai, India’s commercial capital, is a lively and vibrant city. It currently finds itself under siege following the co-ordinated attacks, but residents say the resilient city will survive and overcome the odds.
Al Jazeera captures some of the voices:
Raju Kane, CEO, Source PR Agency:
Obviously this attack meant to cause maximum terror. They have attacked Trident and Taj, the two most high profile targets. Senior businessmen from India, and senior MNC officials are some of those trapped there. After this attack people are going to think many times before coming to India. This is bad for the image of the country, and bad PR. This will definitely have adverse effects on the economy as people will go back on their travel plans. Australia has already put out an advisory advising their citizens not to visit India.
We are already in a economic slowdown. This attack will have repercussions on the tourism industry which is reeling from the global meltdown. However, Mumbai itself will be stunned, scared for a few days and then come out of it. We pride ourselves in not letting terrorists or anything pull us down.
Ranu Vora – MD, Avendus, an investment bank:
The entire community is stunned as the targets are very important and vital business destinations. High profile deals and decisions take place in the portals of these two hotels. Because of these attacks many of the conferences and meetings will have to be cancelled or postponed. We ourselves were supposed to have a meeting with our investors, most of whom would have stayed at the Taj or the Trident. That meeting cannot happen now, which will have some fallout on some of our projects.
The stock markets are closed today, and there is bound to be some downturn for a while, but that is bound to be temporary. This is a security issue so some business can face a downturn.
The attacks will reduce the confidence of the investors which is already very shaky because of the liquidity crunch. This will mean that the stock market recovery will be more delayed than first envisaged.
But having said that it is also true that this is not the first time this city has been attacked. We are learning to take this in our stride. This attack has not and will not make any impact on our economic fundamentals. India will continue to grow albeit at a slower pace.
Ranjit Dhuru – Chairman of AFTEC, a software firm:
This attack was unexpected. Although it looks like they were after the US and the British citizens, it is aimed at destroying the Indian economy and our development. More than the economics it is going to have a severe effect on the polity. It will end up in hardening the attitude of the government to the terrorist and extremists which many felt was rather soft.
I worry that as this attack has come during election time it might lead to the rise of some rightist elements which I sincerely hope does not happen.
The Indian stock market is already in the doldrums. This has more to do with the global meltdown and the western investors pulling their money out. This attack might lead to a temporary setback, but then we have learnt to take such attacks in our stride. Some 15 -20 gun totting men cannot make a huge lasting impact.
I don’t think the software industry will suffer as a result of this incident. Our industry has more to do with what happens in the US and Europe, and there we are already suffering. This might temporarily scare people but then such scares pass soon and then things get back to normal.
Harsh Roongta – Chairman, Apna Loan, a web company that gives retail loans:
Any such attacks anywhere in the world have to be roundly condemned. This one is unprecedented in terms of its planning, scale, manner and audacity. Although none of my near and dear ones were affected, my prayers are for those who have suffered horrendous loss.
Such attacks have a psychological cost. Terrorism has now become a part of the global landscape, and especially so for India. We have been attacked often and in different parts. Our only answer to such atrocities can be that we do not let them win. Ordinary people like me should and will go about their daily lives or else we give in to them.
Long term impact of these attacks cannot be predicted at this moment. The whole episode has to play itself out. I do know that it will have a cost, but what it is we do not know. If the situation is contained, and contained soon, any effect will be minimal. But then it has to be contained soon.
Sometimes such incidents also have a positive impact as they shock and jolt people in coming together. Having said this, the attack is bound to have personal ramifications and therefore economic ramifications. Overall, the situation is already very tentative because of the global slowdown, and this can make it further shaky for a while but after that things will settle back to normal.
The only way we can deal with them is to go about our lives and work in as usual and not let them win.
Satya Rath – Journalist:
The attacks as you know were very well planned and executed. Obviously, the intention was to show India that the terrorists can attack us at will – wherever and whenever they choose. The Taj and the Trident are big and important landmarks for Mumbai as the Twin Towers were for New York.
The attacks are certain to hit the economy where confidence is already low. Now the businesses and stock market will lose even more investors and that will hurt the common people even more.
I was at work opposite the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus when the attack on the train station began. We did not know what was happening so we rushed to the terrace to find out.
We saw two of the terrorists, and one of us tried to photograph one of them. He was also fired at, but luckily escaped unhurt.
We also saw twenty policemen trying to fight, but the situation was way beyond their league as the policemen only had 306 rifles which have to be loaded after every firing while they were facing terrorists armed with deadly automatic weapons.
Manda Mantri – Housewife:
There was carnage when the bomb went off outside my apartment. Police were everywhere. There were body parts all around, blood everywhere. We were just glued to the television, worried. Thankfully all my relatives are safe. I feel for those affected. I am so scared. I wonder what these people gain by killing innocents like the taxi driver who was killed in the blast in front of my home.