Scarred cities remember 26/11, ask tough questions

Scarred cities remember 26/11, ask tough questions

"No one is safe in India today. If terrorists can sneak inside posh hotels like the Taj and the Trident in Mumbai and can go on a killing spree, how can 'aam admi' (common man) like us feel safe on the roads or in our homes?" Sujoy Roy, a software professional in Bangalore, said.

"My heart goes out to those families who have lost their loved ones in Mumbai  on 26/11. Let the government ensure that 26/11 does not repeat anywhere else in India," added Roy, 34, whose memory of the terror attacks in Bangalore is still fresh.

Bangalore faced its first major terror strike when the sprawling, leafy Indian Institute of Science (IISc) campus was attacked in December 2005 during an international conference. M.C. Puri, professor emeritus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, was killed in the indiscriminate firing and four were injured.

In the second attack in July 2008, a series of eight low-intensity explosions hit the city, killing one woman and injuring 15 others.

"Why are we so unsafe in India today? Terrorists can plant bombs anywhere and kill innocent people. I can understand the pain of Mumbaikars who have suffered a lot during 26/11. So can most Indians. Terrorist attacks have become a routine affair in the country," veteran journalist Rupam Baruah said over phone from Guwahati.

"Assam has suffered three decades of terrorism. Every household of Assam has been a victim of terrorism. We want an end to terrorism, be it home-grown or sponsored by neighbouring countries," Baruah added.

As recently as this Sunday, twin bomb blasts shook Nalbari, around 70 km from Guwahati,  killing eight people and leaving 54 injured, several of whom are still battling for their lives in hospitals.

Assam has long been a cauldron of violence triggered by insurgency and ethnic clashes. Since the state's first rebel group, the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was formed in 1979, an estimated 25,000 people have been killed.

"When we leave home, our loved ones call us frequently to check if we are alive or not. Everywhere terrorists are attacking Indian cities. I am in Bangalore for some business work. My wife in Delhi calls me several times, in the guise of asking me whether I had my meals. I know deep inside she is worried for my safety," said Mukul Bhatt, a Delhi-based businessman who narrowly escaped one of the two bomb explosions that took place in the capital's busy Connaught Place on Sep 13, 2008.

A series of five bomb blasts killed 30 people and injured more than 100 people in Delhi that day.

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