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Mumbai's Top Leader Expresses Solidarity With City's Jews


Mourning continues in Mumbai, where the Jewish community heard expressions of solidarity from the governor of the Indian state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital. As the city mourns those killed in these latest attacks, many in Mumbai are still grappling with losses from the 2006 rail bombings that killed more people, but got much less attention.

It was a day for speeches at the Knesset Eliyahoo synagogue, not far from the Taj hotel where the recent three-day siege ended. Maharashtra Governor S.C. Jamir expressed his solidarity with Mumbai's Jewish community, numbering about 4,000 people in a city of more than 14 million.

"The world has reacted with horror," he said. "These terrorists have no ideology, no religion, no faith, and no compassion. The scourge of terrorism has claimed hundreds of innocent lives and devastated hundreds of families. It is all the more offending that a two-year-old child could be held hostage for 14 hours, and the parents killed."

About 300 people attended the hour-long ceremony that included the lighting of a memorial candle for all the victims of the Mumbai attack.

Nearly an hour's drive north is the Mahim Junction railway station. Two and one half years ago, 209 people were killed in a train bombing here, carried out by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the same militant group suspected in the latest Mumbai attacks.

But the mayhem at this station did not get the same level of international attention, some say because it affected ordinary Indians not the cream of Indian society, business executives, and foreign tourists at prestigious hotels.

The working-class neighborhood surrounding the train station is a jumble of decaying apartments and ramshackle street stalls selling bananas and auto parts.

Ronel David, 34, owns a shoe store directly across the street from the train station. He was one of the first people on the scene to help carry out the injured and the dead.

"Media was there, but the media was only focusing on the event, not on the public," he said. "There were no talk shows. I do not remember talk shows as such. Whereas such eminent people like politicians, the high society people of the film industry, no one was there to talk about. Everyone was like, 'Ok, fine.'"

He says the 2006 attacks drew similar outrage. He says the only difference is that it was not heard.

The latest attack brought a parade of politicians and Bollywood film stars on television news channels and talk shows with a steady mix of outrage and analysis.

Several editorials in local newspapers have said that the recent Mumbai attack appeared to bring violence to the doorstep of the country's growing middle class. David says their voices are heard, because in India they are the people who matter.

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