In Mumbai, Residents Protest Response To Attacks

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Angry Mumbai residents held a big demonstration today to express indignation over the Indian government's failure to thwart the Mumbai terror attacks.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

From NPR News, this is All Things Considered. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

And I'm Melissa Block. At sundown this evening in Mumbai, anyone trying to catch a glimpse of the stately Taj Mahal Hotel would have had trouble. You couldn't get close. The streets were full of people, bankers, Bollywood film directors, accountants, teachers. They were all drawn to the landmark hotel one week after attackers struck there and nearly a dozen other places nearby. NPR's Philip Reeves has our report.

PHILIP REEVES: There are so many different currents of emotion rippling through this large crowd that is gathered here on the edge of the Arabian Sea beside the Taj Mahal Hotel one week after the attacks that really shook the city of Mumbai to its core. Some here are angry against their government. Some here are angry about Pakistan and blame them. Some here are angry about the fact that their city contributes more money to the national revenues and taxes, and they feel they should be getting more back in terms of security. Some here are here to mourn the dead, and some are here to appeal for peace. Valerie Durajee(ph), a teacher, is here for personal reasons. Her nephew was among those killed at the Taj Mahal.

VALERIE DURAJEE: Gaisak Kamden(ph), he was a chef, over 26 years old, after saving people. We just attended his funeral at the towers of silence(ph). He was a well built, tall boy, but he saved someone, and his body was just thrown in the other swimming pool banquet.

MITELIE DESAI: We cannot let this go on nothing. We have to do something.

REEVES: Mitelie Desai(ph) also lost a relative.

DESAI: I lost an aunt of mine, and she - I didn't even get to see her dead body because she was ridden from top to bottom with bullets. I don't want any person who would sit there and, when there are strikes, will resign. I don't want that sort of a person. I want a person who will ensure that there is no terror strike on the country.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANGRY PEOPLE AT THE DEMONSTRATION)

REEVES: Just here on the side of the demonstration, there is a group of Sikhs, Sikh men with huge metal pots, and they're boiling up tea for people to refresh the people who have come here in very large numbers to demonstrate, and they're handing out the cups to the passing crowd. We're just going to go over here and try to talk to some people about why they've come here.

RAJU CRIPALANI: I'm here because I'm Indian.

REEVES: And your name is...

CRIPALANI: Raju Cripalani(ph).

REEVES: Well, let me ask you, I have to ask you again. Is this a march for war or for peace?

CRIPALANI: This is a march to show solidarity towards India being together. You will find every single religion, God's creed here participating as one united India.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD AT THE DEMONSTRATION)

REEVES: Cops and politicians are not allowed in this rally. Change starts at home. There's a huge array of different placards with different slogans on them. One says, enough is enough. One says, let's make war on politicians and politicking, and there's one over there across the sea of people that I can see that says, this is time to make Pakistan history. India believes the attacks on Mumbai were launched from Pakistan. Barrat Paric(ph), a printer, is touching a sign also about Pakistan.

BARRAT PARIC: We should cut off all the ties with Pakistan. No political ties, no to national ties, no commercial ties. We must teach them a lesson.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEMONSTRATORS CHANTING)

REEVES: There are obviously lots of people here from lots of different walks of life. But people in the crowd are saying that the great bulk of the crowd is actually from the educated classes, the middle class, the people who've been doing well in this city.

PUJA GUPTA: It's the educated class. It's the young people who want to draw out our politicians today. This was tried to SMSs, through Facebooks, through...

REEVES: Have you ever seen the educated classes in India mobilize like this one?

GUPTA: No, never. This is the first time it has happened. And we are proud of it, that we can be a part of this movement.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEMONSTRATORS CHANTING)

REEVES: Puja Gupta's(ph) not been on a protest before. That's true of many here. This crowd's united in anger and grief. But that's about it. They've come with many different messages. The question is this, this is Puja Gupta's first demonstration. Will it be her last? Philip Reeves, NPR News, Mumbai.

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Rice Urges Pakistan's Cooperation On Mumbai Probe

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addresses reporters in New Delhi. i

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talks to reporters about the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Wednesday in New Delhi. Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addresses reporters in New Delhi.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talks to reporters about the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Wednesday in New Delhi.

Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images
Indian citizens take part in a candlelight vigil in New Delhi. i

People take part in a candlelight vigil in memory of those who died in last week's terrorist attacks, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty Images
Indian citizens take part in a candlelight vigil in New Delhi.

People take part in a candlelight vigil in memory of those who died in last week's terrorist attacks, in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Pakistan on Wednesday to cooperate with India's investigations into the Mumbai attacks that have sorely tested relations between the two neighbors.

Rice was in New Delhi to meet with Indian leaders a week after the terrorist attacks that left more than 170 people dead in the country's financial capital.

At a news conference, she said the U.S. was already sharing information that could help with the investigation into the attacks. But when asked whether she thought al-Qaida was involved, Rice said U.S. officials would not jump to conclusions.

"Whether there is a direct al-Qaida hand or not, this is clearly the kind of terror in which al-Qaida participates," she said.

Rice said Pakistan has a "special responsibility" to cooperate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Her Indian host at an evening news conference was far more direct.

"I informed Dr. Rice that there is no doubt that the terrorist attacks in Mumbai were perpetrated by individuals who came from Pakistan and whose controllers are in Pakistan," Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

Police on Wednesday discovered leftover explosives hidden in a bag in Mumbai's main train station — a stunning new example of botched security after the deadly rampage that left the government open to accusations that it missed warnings and bungled its response.

Police in Mumbai have released the names of the nine gunmen killed after the attacks. They said the names were provided by the lone surviving gunman, who is in police custody.

India has blamed what officials termed "elements" in Pakistan for the attacks, but Pakistani officials said they have yet to receive any proof. The two nations were on the brink of a fourth war in 2002, just a few years after both demonstrated nuclear weapons capabilities, following an attack on India's parliament by Islamist militants.

They pulled back after frantic diplomacy by the United States and other allies.

From NPR staff and wire reports

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