Coming up

Don't miss




The World This Week - 01 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more


Coverage of Gaza in the Israeli media

Read more


1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

Read more


The World This Week - 01 August 2014

Read more


Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more


Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more


A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more


Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

  • Israeli soldier feared captured, ceasefire 'over'

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Rogue general denies Islamist seizure of Benghazi

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • 1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • Video: Tipping is dying out in French café culture

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more


Security fears linger on one year after Mumbai attacks

Video by Miyuki DROZ ARAMAKI , Olivier LE HELLARD

Text by Nandita VIJ

Latest update : 2009-11-28

As India remembers those fallen in the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, security analysts and officials warn that, twelve months on, the country’s anti-terror strategy is still “work in progress”.

Nov. 26, 2008, etched a bullet mark on Rivesh Dandekar’s left arm and he lost a foot. One year on, the injuries are a constant reminder of the deadly attacks on India’s financial hub, Mumbai, which jostled the emerging Asian giant to its core.

Dandekar, a 35-year-old electrician, was waiting for a train late in the evening on a crammed platform in Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus central station, when he and scores of other Mumbaikars came under a volley of shots fired by two gunmen.

“I heard a loud crackling noise, suddenly there was screaming and pushing and then bodies were falling all around me,” recalls Dandekar.

Hell broke loose as Mumbai experienced its very own 9/11, as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington are commonly called. Ten heavily-armed Muslim extremists held the city of dreams and glamour hostage for nearly three days. A bloody rampage across town including attacks on luxury hotels Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Oberoi Trident killed nearly 200 people, including six foreigners, and injured more than 300.

Twelve months later, Dandekar and Mumbai have bounced back, but fear of another 26/11 lingers on.

Alert yet vulnerable

The Congress-led government, caught off guard, faced a seething public reaction for the major security lapses that had allowed foreign extremists to plan and execute such a vast attack.

In a radical security overhaul soon after the attacks, Indian authorities set up the National Investigation Agency (NIA), an FBI-style unit to counter terrorism. Four regional hubs for the National Security Guard (NSG), the country’s top commando unit, were also established. 

Immigration and visa regulations were further tightened in October after Mumbai attack suspects were arrested in the US and Italy.

Use of metal detectors in hotels and malls is now widespread, while the country’s railway stations and airports are dotted with armed security guards behind heavy brown sandbags.

Coastal security has been beefed up, especially at Mumbai’s seaside port, which attackers used to enter the country undetected in 2008.

But for many, these steps are still not enough to avert another 26/11.

The acting head of Maharashtra state police, A.N. Roy, told reporters at a press conference last week: “Today, we feel much more confident than we were one year ago -- but still there is a long way to go.”

Analysts have stressed the need for even stronger preventive measures.

“ India needs to be more pro-active. Right now it is episodic and reactive due to a certain degree of politico-bureaucratic ineptitude,”  C. Uday Bhaskar, a security expert and former director of the New Delhi-based Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis told France

Bhaskar believes that terror attacks in the past ought to have resulted in much greater cohesion and determination to identify the systemic inadequacies and redress them – but this was not done.

In a Sunday editorial in the Indian news daily Hindustan Times, the paper’s editorial director and leading journalist, Vir Sanghvi, wrote: “It’s a depressing conclusion. But it is inescapable. Very little has really changed. A new terror attack like 26/11 can happen again. And our government may not be able to protect us."

Priyanka Babbar, a 26-year-old school teacher in Mumbai, thinks alike. "I will not be surprised if something similar happens at a train station or anywhere else,” she told FRANCE 24. “But I still go out and use public transport, because life goes on.”

Date created : 2009-11-26


    One year on, a police widow seeks answers

    Read more