Shocked and Angry Mumbai Mourns Victims of Terror

The bomb blasts that ripped through three locations in Mumbai on July 13 have once again shown how vulnerable the premier commercial city of the country is. Though time and again the denizens of Mumbai have endured, picked up the threads and carried on with resilience and fortitude, it is clear to everyone concerned that stringent steps need to be taken to prevent such attacks in the future. {{Diamond World}} condoles the loss of life, limb and property of the victims of the blasts.
Shocked and Angry
Mumbai Mourns Victims of Terror

It was like the recurrence of a nightmare when the news of the three bomb blasts reverberated through the city. Of these, two were targeted at the diamond and jewellery business districts of Mumbai – one at Zaveri Bazaar, the traditional centre of the jewellery trade, and the other at Opera House the heart of the city’s diamond business. The third took place at Dadar, a busy commuter and shopping hub. In the three attacks, over 20 people lost their lives and about 140-150 were injured, many of them grievously, having lost limbs or suffered serious burns. Though it is fortunate that the casualties were not as widespread as could have been, given how crowded the areas are, the loss of life, limb and property as a result of terror attacks, howsoever limited, cannot be tolerated.

Several trade bodies within and outside the country came forward immediately to offer both condolences and real support to the victims of the blasts. The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) put out a press release by chairman Rajiv Jain which said, “On behalf of GJEPC and the entire gem & jewellery community of India, I convey our most heartfelt condolences to the citizens of Mumbai, following the dastardly terrorist attacks which struck Mumbai yesterday evening. GJEPC’s deepest sympathy goes out to the families and friends of all those who have lost their lives or are injured in this senseless devastation and cowardly act.”

Jain affirmed that “the industry is not deterred and cannot be brow-beaten with such acts of cowardice and will continue to work with the entire business community and the consumers alike – to ensure that such acts are not allowed to disrupt stability in the diamond and jewellery markets in India” and that “the GJEPC stands ready to assume its responsibility to work with all the stakeholders of the industry, the people of Mumbai and the government for ensuring the stability, the well-being and security of the diamond and jewellery business districts of Mumbai at Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House.”

The All India Gem & Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) held a meeting on Friday 15th “to discuss security measures required to avoid such tragedies”. The need for CCTVs in Zaveri Bazaar was discussed amongst other issues and an initial relief fund of Rs. 10 lakh was floated, which will be added to by more jewellers. While a bandh was observed in the diamond and jewellery districts on the same day, the GJF organised a Peace March on Monday July 18th, to offer “shraddhanjali” (tribute), to the victims who lost their lives.

The Gem & Jewellery National Relief Foundation, a body floated by diamond and jewellery exporters to provide relief to victims of national calamities and tragedies, has also decided to provide relief to victims of the blasts, whether from within or outside the industry.

The Surat Diamond Association, FICCI, and the Bombay Bullion Association also condemned the attacks, and urged the government to find a solution to prevent such attacks from taking place in the future. The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) was quick to come forward to offer both condolences and support as well. Its President Avi Paz sent a message to Anoop Mehta, President of the Bharat Diamond Bourse in which he wrote, “We were shocked to hear about the terrorist bombing attacks that hit Mumbai yesterday that claimed the lives of so many innocent people, some of them members of the diamond business community in Mumbai. On behalf of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and its affiliated member bourses, I extend our organisation’s sincere condolences to the families of the victims and send our best wishes for speedy recovery to the wounded.”

The various Indian associations are working together with the authorities to improve security in the two areas. For Zaveri Bazaar, the target of a third attack, it has been an especially traumatic time, and one which has left the people of the area feeling vulnerable.

“We are asking the police and other concerned authorities to take some immediate measures to strengthen security and are willing to fully co-operate with them,” said Sanjay Kothari, Vice Chairman GJEPC. “These will involve setting up CCTV cameras in the area. We would also like to make it a no-hawking zone.”

Kothari added, “One of the long term solutions to ensure greater security for the diamond trade is to move to the BDB complex in Bandra.”

While these measures might provide some deterrence, they remain limited in extent as well as scope, as they cannot cover the entire city. For Mumbai’s greater and overall security, it will have to be the governments and various bodies – both central and state – which will have to put in place necessary measures like stronger and better intelligence gathering networks and policing systems to safeguard the nerve-centre of finance and commerce from these senseless, continuous and recurrent attacks.

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