Relatives worried about family in India

November 26, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Mumbai India was rocked by terrorism with a series of coordinated attacks which has killed over 70 people and wounded hundreds more. Westerners were reported to be targeted by gunmen who stormed luxury hotels, a popular tourist destination, and a crowded train station. ABC7's Lisa Amin has family in India and has been speaking with other Bay Area residents who do as well.

Most people have been able to get in touch with family members in Mumbai, but still everyone is shocked by what has happened in India and they wonder how this will play out in the coming days.

"I have family, uncles, aunts, cousins, my friends. I don't know what's happening," said Hema Vasanji, a San Jose resident.

Vasanji has reason to worry because of what has happened in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, and it is hard to believe.

Gunfire, grenades, and chaos filled the streets of central Mumbai, after two luxury hotels - the Taj and Oberoi, as well as a popular restaurant frequented by tourists - were attacked.

"They wanted anyone with British or American passports, saying anyone with it, they wanted to know. So I guess they were after foreigners, yeah," said Rakesh Patel, an eyewitness.

One of the attackers may have been a part of the group, Deccan Mujahideen who have taken responsibility for these attacks. The well planned attacks, which happened at around 9 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, killed dozens, and injured hundreds.

An unknown number of western tourists have been taken hostage and are still inside the Taj and Oberoi. They are hotels frequented by Americans and Europeans. One person was pulled to safety as the Taj was on fire.

"According to police reports in the media, they have seemed to have carried AK-47 and much more sophisticated grenades. This is the first time that we have encountered anything like this in India," said Susmita Thomas, from the Consul General.

While gunfire continues between the terrorists and police, Hema Vasanji has received at least one bit of positive news.

"They're okay because they were home by then. At least I know they're okay, but we don't know what's coming next," said Vasanji.

Deccan Mujahideen is an unknown militant group. It turns out they claimed responsibility for these attacks through emails sent to Indian media organizations.

The Indian Consulate has provided this phone number to call, if you are anxious about relatives in Mumbai.

For those who are anxious about the welfare of their relatives, the police control room numbers in Mumbai are: