26th November 2008. The city that never sleeps has come to a grinding halt. Mumbai sees its darkest night ever. The term 'terrorism' or 'terrorists' is enough to scare the living day lights out of you but terrorism is a criminal act that religious beliefs or political positions can never justify. The removal of terrorism should be carried out through reasoned judgement in accordance with laws, not by military retaliations or wars. Two and a half years have passed since the July 11 Mumbai train bombings by the terrorists in 2006, where our police and politicians concluded: 'Mumbai is safe and our security is tightened throughout the city'. The reality, however, is the opposite of this. What has become clear though in the past two and a half years is that our security and intelligence has not only failed to remove terrorism and terrorists but given even more room for such hideous activities.
Today these radicals threaten the safety of the Indian people. Like our Independence, securing our freedom now is a long-term struggle but the road to victory will begin and we as Indians won't back off. Bollywood unites once again and the celebrities turn into citizens of Mumbai only to bring out their support and sympathy towards those unlucky few who have been a prey in what's considered to be Mumbai's worst ever terror attack at the Taj and the Trident Oberoi.
We get you some first hand comments and anger expressed from the stars just hours after the horrifying incident that not only shook the city of Mumbai but the entire world.
Madhur Bhandarkar: Mumbai won't be the same after this dreadful attack by the terrorists because the scene of the attack was the epicentre or the hub of the city where you have heritage sites like The Gateway of India and The Taj Hotel. What was considered to be the safest place in the city is now not safe anymore. People seem to be in a state of shock. The question of all the high profile personalities and celebrities will also have to be looked into now. My sympathies to those who have lost their near and dear ones and for those who are hostages. I hope peace prevails soon.
Kunal Kohli: This is the worst attack on Mumbai. The Taj is the symbol and not just a hotel. It's a symbol of heritage and culture of Mumbai and when we saw the images of The Taj burning, it was beyond our emotions to describe the scene. This attack is as bad as 9/11. 26th November will be remembered as the darkest day in the Mumbai history. This is not the time to think whether our film industry is at threat or not. It's the time to save more people as we can. There is a time for everything. You cannot be sitting and putting blame on people regarding lapse of security. How do you secure every corner of the city? In Jammu-Kashmir blasts take so frequently in spite of security.
Gulshan Grover: This is absolutely the worst terrorist attack in India. I am very much disturbed and shocked by this behaviour and the way the terrorists have taken innocent people as hostages. I would like to believe that Mumbai will change for better after this horrific incident.
Jagmohan Mundhra: As you are talking to me, I'd like to tell you that I've just returned from L.A. day before yesterday because my mother-in-law had passed away. It has nothing to do with the attack. Right now, I am at my in-laws house in South Mumbai which is just few hundred yards from both the Taj and the Oberoi. All night long we have been up and alert. I could hear the blasts and firing all night long. Never before have I seen South Mumbai in such a shape. This is going to have a tremendous impact on the tourism of India in the near future. This is such a cruel and a random act of violence that there seems to be no logic behind it. It's scary when you think what could be the terrorist's motive.
Vatsal Seth: Right now there is so much of anger in me that I cannot help my own citizens in the time of crisis. There are couple of my friend's brothers and sisters trapped inside the hotel so I am really messed up in my mind. I couldn't sleep last night.
Vidya Malvade: Mumbai needs to change since a very long time and now such incidents are becoming a regular nuisance to all of us. I can't understand how we as politicians or people can't do to stop this act of terror. This is becoming something like a habit for Mumbai. I am so sad today that people are dying left right and centre. I am not angry but helpless that I can't go out there and stop people from being killed. There are bunch of people who come on a boat and blow things up, what kind of a security or intelligence are we talking about? Mumbai will bounce back today or tomorrow itself but that's not the point. The point is that somewhere something needs to be done with our security system.
Vinay Pathak: Yesterdays attacks are the worst ever I've witnessed in Mumbai. I hope that the security measures in the city should change after all this. Such attacks will never break the spirit of Mumbaikars and this will bring us all a lot closer than ever before to team up against such anti social elements.
Anil Kapoor: It's the worst ever attack to take place in India. But I am in no mood to talk about this incident because I want the police, the army and the government to answer the questions to what has happened.
Abhishek Kapoor: I don't know how this incident will change the city of Mumbai but I know one thing for sure that it's going to change the way our security measures are in and around the city. This will put a certain amount of fear in peoples mind for a few days to come but will prevail normality in days to come.
Gul Panag: I don't know how my comments will be taken by you but this had to happen and is not a complete surprise. Me and you only take notice of terror when it enters the malls or the hotels. But if the same thing happens in the slums we are ok with it. This is a much larger issue than it looks. Have you ever taken into consideration the Islamic population of India? It's in the region of 18 to 20%. The figures keep on varying. Do you know what percent of Islamic population is living below the poverty line? It's 40%. I am not a fundamentalist but I am looking at a much bigger picture. There are certain segments of the society which have not got its due, whether you agree or not. But if you look at the demographics, you'll understand. Whatever the population of Muslims in India, is that population proportionate and reflect in the jobs of this country? When people are poor and have no where to go, they have no choice but to turn into radicals. I hope my views and comments make people understand the broader picture.
Anjori Alagh: I was pretty close to the Taj hotel yesterday as I had to travel in town by 4pm. I couldn't travel to Andheri where I live and am now at a friends house in South Mumbai. The entire area is sealed off and for once I think that the city of Mumbai has changed. What's scary is the fact that people coming in boats with no security or patrol in the sea, get down at the Gateway and enter with guns and grenades in the Taj, Trident and Oberoi and create havoc. It does raise a question on the security, but having said that, we do have security in all our hotels but it's not up to the mark. I mean, I can't see many CCTV cameras outside the hotels or in the nearby vicinity. Every Indian is concerned and I am hoping that we as Indians make an effort to increase the security of our country. I hope we learn something from this so that we don't turn vulnerable again. We really need to fight back these terrorists. They should be killed as ruthlessly as they are killing innocent people.
Arjun Rampal: It is ridiculous that we are experiencing such events in our city. Every Mumbaikar has the right to ask the government the questions about our city and country's security. How the terrorists got in so easily and create so much damage is unbelievable but has to be answerable by our politicians. We are all upset but the anger should not be directed towards innocent people. We do have to put our concerns about the security and intelligence lapse to the government. There is a lot of corruption in our country and needs to be addressed immediately, like why aren't there good enough CCTV cameras in our city? The government cannot come down upon our city and nor can these terrorists. We are only going to grow stronger day by day.
Eesha Koppikhar: I am fine but in no mood to talk about what has been happening in Mumbai. What's happening is very sad and I hope the law and order situation comes under control soon.
Aashish Chowdhary: I can't talk at the moment because I am just standing outside the Trident Oberoi as my sister and brother in law are trapped inside the hotel. I am very tensed and am just praying for them every second. Hope to hear some good news soon.
Apoorva Lakhia: As far as the change in the city of Mumbai is concerned, the government and the army need to see where such attacks can happen from. I mean, people coming in from boats and all looks like some kind of a commando film. It just shows that we need to get a proper cell which deals with terrorism like they do it in the west. Mumbaikars have always shown unity whenever such horrific incidents have taken place in our city.
Minissha Lamba: The city of Mumbai is extremely resilient. It's a survivor city. An attack on our city is an attack on our country. I don't know whether it's a lapse of security which has lead to such an incident. I mean, how far can the police force protect such a big city like Mumbai? They are doing the best they can to save our brothers and sisters today. It could easily have been me in one of the hotels. This is like an eye opener and has taken the terrorist activity to the next level where they are taking hostages now. This is the scariest day in Mumbai I've ever witnessed.
Mugdha Godse: I don't know what are the consequences that will come out once this dark day is over but I think people, whether it's us as civilians or the government, we should pull up our socks. Right now I am just praying for the betterment of all those who are in the hotels and are injured and have died. I am in a shock state of mind. Our city of dreams is no more the same. In today's time, one has to take care of themselves and I am sure we all do and I am sure all those who are trapped in the hotels will do the same. We Indians haven't learnt how to bow down.
Celina Jaitley: I've been stuck at the Four Seasons hotel in Worli which had been cordoned off for security and had to stay the night there. I had come for dinner with colleagues of my father here. Suddenly there was chaos. We heard all the major hotels were being targetted and being a major expatriate hotel, I started getting phone calls to stay put where I was with my friends and security head of my bodyguards company. The hotel staff was incredibly nice in keeping everyone calm and quite. I started getting calls from my friends in London and Ireland and from my father in Lebanon who were watching all the carnage on TV. We were up till 3 am last night close to safe exits till we finally went up to the rooms. I was meant to go to Trident for dinner but some gut feeling made me change my mind I am still shaken and scared and will head back home as soon as its safe. My rakhi brother is heading the NSG commandoes operation. They haven't come out yet. Aashish Chowdhary's sister and brother in law are missing at Trident. Our city is falling apart. I have one word for these terrorists - "We are not scared and will fight back".