Relaymedia

India Church Leaders Commit to Peace after Mumbai Siege

( [email protected] ) Nov 30, 2008 03:45 PM EST
The Mumbai massacre which left more than 190 people dead finally came to an end on Saturday after Indian Commandos gunned down the remaining three militants at the Taj Mahal hotel.
A fireman gestures outside Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. (AP / Gautam Singh)

The Mumbai massacre which left more than 190 people dead finally came to an end on Saturday after Indian Commandos gunned down the remaining three militants at the Taj Mahal hotel.

"They were the kind of people with no remorse - anybody and whomsoever came in front of them they fired," said one commando officer.

TV channels described the attacks on 10 locations, including two luxury hotels, across the city as "India's 9/11" and confirmed that 155 people were killed and 327 others wounded. At least 21 foreigners were among those killed, including six Americans.

It was the deadliest attack in India since 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai killed 257 people.

The Indian government has blamed "elements in Pakistan" for the attack by Islamist militants, according to Agence France-Presse although a Muslim group with a name suggesting origins inside India claimed responsibility for the attack. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari vowed on Saturday the "strictest" action if there as proof of Pakistani involvement.

Church leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope have unanimously condemned the attacks that began Wednesday night.

Indian church leaders have speculated, meanwhile, that the terrorist attack was aimed at spreading fear and projecting the country as unsafe.

Michael Pinto, a Christian and vice chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, said the latest terrorist attacks were planned to project India as an unsafe country and hurt its economy.

"The terror attacks have shaken the church in the city," said Joseph Dias, general secretary of the Mumbai-based Catholic Secular Forum.

The church should take a proactive role to broker peace and harmony, he said, adding that his group would try to reach out to the victims and counter the efforts of terrorists trying to disturb peace in India.

Following the Mumbai seige, authorities in India, the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel have vowed to work together on cracking terrorism.