Though angry and hurt, Mumbaikars do not favour war

By Devapriyo Bhattacharjee, IANS,

Mumbai : Although there is palpable anger against Pakistan for the terror attack on Mumbai, most people here feel that a military operation against the neighbour is not the solution as it too has been the target of terror strikes.

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“War is not the solution,” was the common verdict of a majority of people who gathered at the city’s historical Gateway of India monument to voice their protest against the terror attack of 26/11, which has led to a sense of insecurity among the people.

“A few people coming from Pakistan (for the terror strike) does not mean the whole country was involved in it,” said actor Rahul Bose.

“Even they are facing a big confrontation between the extremists and the moderates within their own country, due to which even Benazir Bhutto was killed. If a few Indians go to some other country and do something wrong, that doesn’t mean that we all are involved,” Rahul told IANS.

Anil Behl, an engineer from Chembur who runs a manufacturing industry, said: “Going for a military action against Pakistan cannot be a solution. We have to strengthen ourselves from within to such an extent that no outsider can intrude our security.”

“The money that would be spent in a military operation, if spent to strengthen our security would give much fruitful results,” he added.

Columnist Anil Dharker said: “I think this act is a culmination. Finally one needs to say enough is enough. This should be taken as the last lesson as now it has gone beyond tolerance.”

“There should be concrete steps so that politicians are made more accountable. Blaming another country for the whole act would not solve any problem,” he added.

Bollywood director of “Golmaal Returns” Rohit Shetty, said: “It’s high time that we come forward. I think every concerned citizen of India is worried about what has happened.”

“Blaming Pakistan would not solve the issue as there are many things which need to be worked out internally,” he added.

Attacking the politicians, Shetty said, “They should realise their responsibility and give respect to the people’s trust.”

Shetty was speaking to IANS Wednesday evening when around 200,000 people gathered to express their anguish over the terror attack in Mumbai, which left more than 170 people dead.

The unique mass gathering was the spontaneous reaction to social networking sites, SMSs, emails and phone, and not headed by any political leader, organiser or NGOs.

The unanimous verdict of the public was displayed in the form of posters and banners which questioned the efficiency and honesty of politicians.

The common target were Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, his deputy R.R. Patil, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Mahrashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray.

People were shouting slogans and held aloft posters that read “We would prefer a dog visiting our places than a politician”, “Declare Pakistan as a terrorist state”, “R.R. Patil Chhaka Hai”, “Where is Raj Thackeray with his MNS sena?”.

The peace vigil, which started at 4 p.m. and lasted till 9 p.m., was attended by people from all walks of life, including businessmen, professionals, government servants, Bollywood and theatre personalities, doctors, engineers, students.

The protesters, among whom were a significant number of Muslims and people from other religions, also filled the air with chants like “Vande Mataram”, “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, “Hindustan Zindabad”, “Jawans amar rahe”. Many also rendered the national anthem.