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Most of the city policemen milling around, their rifles and long sticks carried every which way, wear a kind of baffled expression, as if confused to be dragged away from the daily grind of traffic control and minor extortion. Although there is a siege going on, some concentrate on the media women: the attractive, slightly chunky female newsreaders from Indian TV or the blonde foreign reporters of a certain age in jeans or combat pants.

Suddenly, about a quarter of the press pack pick up their cameras and sprint down the street away from the Taj. There's more shooting at Victoria Terminus station, I'm told. It turns out to be pure rumour. Many of the shops that had been open this morning are shut by 1pm and people don't come back to work. In the Crawford Market area, there is talk not just of shooting but of rioting. Shoppers run into stores to hide from violence that never comes. In response, the government shuts down all TV broadcasts for 45 minutes.

I was living in Manhattan on 9/11 and remember the rumours that ricocheted around then - the most widely-repeated one after the planes hit the towers was that ten more had been hijacked. But they had dissipated by the end of the day. These attacks have already been going on for more than a day and a half, and as they draw on, unresolved, rumour seems to grow more powerful, fed by TV anchors who need to say something even when there is nothing new to report.

It doesn't help that there is no central command post briefing the press. The police, the army, the commandos that flew down from Delhi, the naval commandos and the state government have all been giving briefings both on and off the record. There is apparently a bureaucratic imperative for all of them to seem important or in charge.

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Vedavyas
September 8th, 2010
6:09 AM
great post

Rajendar Menen
August 18th, 2010
6:08 AM
Enjoyed what you have written. Am a journalist and writer based in Mumbai. Would like to connect with you. Was doing a book on the blasts but had to abandon it as the truth seems cloaked in great mystery. Please email me. Cheers!!

Paul
February 16th, 2010
12:02 AM
Although the emergency is in full swing, there are no obstacles, except near the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels. In fact, when I like the German in his apartment in the beach, we passed directly through a checkpoint by police who apparently has been abandoned. "Oh, always leaves the police checkpoint at midnight to go to sleep," he says entrepreneur. "It was assumed that security has been boosted because they were expecting attacks here after the bombings in Jaipur and Bangalore, especially during Diwali [early November], but nothing has really changed.

Ed
September 17th, 2009
5:09 AM
This must have been one of the best account of the Mumbai attack I've read. I guess there's really a lot more to be done to combat terrorism and this has to be a combined global effort. Ed from http://www.edwardharnold.com

Terrence Cole
January 25th, 2009
7:01 AM
Great story Jonathan. Terrence

braham
January 18th, 2009
12:01 PM
The very best account of the Bombay terror attack that I have read anywhere.

Anonymous
January 14th, 2009
7:01 PM
A truly insightful and deeply cultually aware look at the aftermath of terror. I feel as if I were there, where on one else would have dared to travel. Thank you for writing this article.

aravind singh
January 7th, 2009
6:01 PM
A superb account. Very different to everything else I've read. Thank you

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