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By Raymond Thibodeaux
30 November 2008
Residents and businesses in the Indian city of Mumbai, say they are eager to return to normal following the bloody three-day siege that killed nearly 200 people and turned the city into a battle zone. Raymond Thibodeaux has this report from Mumbai where many people are displaying open defiance of the terrorists.
This is Leopold Café, it was among the first targets in the Mumbai attacks that brought this vibrant port city of 14 million people to a standstill for three terrifying days.
|A girl pays tribute as people light candles to pay respectS to those who were killed in terror attacks in Mumbai, India, 30 Nov 2008|
Shortly after the gunfire ended, the cafe re-opened its doors for business. But for now, it appears reporters and curiosity seekers outnumber regular customers.
The owner of the cafe, Farhang Jehani, says two of his waiters were among the 10 people killed when his shop came under attack by the terrorists. He says he has re-opened his shop as a show of defiance.
"We are Mumbaikers. Our spirit is strong. And we want to show them that we will not be bowed down by terrorists, or by fear. We are definitely looking for a brighter future," said Jehani.
Later in the afternoon, it was the Mumbai police not the terrorists who forced Jehani to close his cafe, declaring it a crime scene.
It is only a three-minute walk from here to the back entrance of the Taj, the luxury hotel that became the attackers' next target and where they made their final stand.
Near the Taj, many of the hotel workers waited outside the management office, most of them hoping to find out when, or if, they can return to work.
Elsewhere in the city, many of the shops along the attackers' path of mayhem were open. Maybe not so much out of defiance as out of necessity. People need to get back to work and many say they want their city to get back to normal.
This is Mumbai's main rail station, where the attacks began. It too is open, as are many of the shops within it.
There is a heavy police presence. Normally, a 100,000 people come through on any given day. Now, the traffic is light, even for a Sunday.
Still, in the main waiting area is the Re-Fresh café. It still bears scars from the attack. There are more than a dozen bullet holes in its thick glass panels, including two in the shop's pastry display. But the shop is open for business, a sign of the city's resilience.