Mumbai, the financial capital of India, and one of the busiest and most happening places in the world is put on high alert. The serial blasts rocked the city on 26th November 2008.
Security and high alert have been beefed up in the public places such as railway stations, marketplaces, cinema halls, malls and the bus stations.
Bombay Stock Exchange and National Student Exchange will remain closed on 27th November 2008.
Curfew has been declared in the city. Government of Maharashtra (the state government) has declared holiday for schools and other educational institutions on Thursday, 27 November 2008. The City Police Commissioner of Mumbai has asked the residents of the city to stay indoors and to go out only if there is an emergency.
The serial blasts were well-coordinated and over a hundred people including three senior officials of the Anti-Terrorism Squad and six foreign nationals have been killed in the attack. The first reports of the blast came around at 10 p.m., Wednesday, 26th November. The shootings and blasts took place in the Taj Mahal Hotel, (one of the Taj group of hotels), Oberoi Trident, The Leopold Café, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus - an important railway station). One of the prominent hospitals in Mumbai, Cama Hospital was also attacked and the patients have been held as hostages here. Many people were injured in this attack.
Fifteen people including seven foreigners were held hostages in Taj Mahal Hotel by the terrorists. Early Thursday morning, the terror groups released a few hostages. However, over forty people are held as hostages in the hotel Oberoi Trident.
Seven blasts, six near Taj Mahal Hotel and one near Oberoi Trident hotel were reported. Due to this, fire broke out in both hotels and many people including the staff are trapped inside the hotels. The firefighting team and the police are working to rescue the trapped ones.
Blasts of low-intensity have been reported in Vile Parle and Santa Cruz. A petrol pump in South Mumbai has been blown up. Several people are held as hostages at Nariman House, owned by Chabad Lubavitch (a Jewish organization). The representatives of Chabad Lubavitch, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka Holtzberg are one of the hostages.
At Bombay Hospital, ten foreigners were brought in from Taj Mahal Hotel. A Japanese died and three Europeans are in critical condition.
Police authorities are not sure which terror organization is responsible for these dastardly and ghastly attacks and destruction. "Deccan Mujahideen" a little known terror group has claimed responsibility for these serial blasts. The terrorists have used ammunition such as grenades, AK-47 and rifles to create terror and destruction.
An eyewitness says, "terrorists were targeting the people with the UK and the US passports".
As per the latest reports, Indian Navy and Army have stepped in and taken control of the area near Oberoi Trident. Meanwhile, there are also reports that intelligence officials from the US are among the foreigners who were killed at the Taj Mahal Hotel.
The neighboring city, Pune and many Indian states such as Kerala, Andhra Pradhesh, and Madhya Pradesh have beefed up their security and have sounded a red alert in public places.
Were these serial blasts organized to avert the attention of the investigation of Malegoan blasts? Who is behind these serial blasts and for what reasons? These questions are yet to be answered.