TRAGIC ANNIVERSARY: Pain of 2006 train bombing in Mumbai lives on

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It was 15 years ago today that nearly 200 lives were lost in the 2006 train bombings in Mumbai.

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On July 11, 2006, a series of seven bombs packed into pressure cookers and placed in bags, exploded on trains and stations during Mumbai’s after-work rush hour from the city’s financial district.

Over the 11-minute sequence of detonations, 189 people were killed, more than 800 were injured (though there are some reports that say 209 lives were actually lost,) and a wave of terror was felt across Mumbai and the rest of the country in the aftermath.

“In my opinion, those attacks served their purpose by creating terror and fanning feelings of public insecurity,” said Usha Haley, W. Frank Barton Distinguished Chair in International Business, and Director of the Center of International Business Advancement at Wichita State University’s Barton School of Business.

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“But they also had many and perhaps more lasting unintended effects, resulting in the present-day nationalist government, and in the unraveling of existing institutional structures to governmental advantage.“

She added: “At an economic level, security-related investments have increased along with the gathering of covert and overt intelligence.”

The attack was planned by Pakistan’s Inter-Services intelligence (ISI) agency, but the detonations were carried out by operatives of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group, and the Students’ Islamic Movement of India, a banned Indian group.

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Pakistan denied the allegations, saying India had no proof that Pakistan was involved in the attacks.

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Nine years after the bombing, 12 people were arrested. Five of the accused – Kamal Ahamed Ansari, Mohammed Faisal Shaikh, Ehtesham Siddiqui, Naveed Hussain Khan and Asif Khan – were sentenced to death over a year after the eight-year trial concluded.

The other seven – Tanvir Ahmed Ansari, Mohammad Majid Shafi, Shaikh Alam Shaikh, Mohd Sajid Ansari, Muzzammil Shaikh, Soheil Mehmood Shaikh and Zamir Ahmad Shaikh – were sentenced to life in prison.

“Mumbai’s terrorists’ attacks form parts of a global phenomenon, situated in logics that both transcend and exist within the affected societies,” Haley told the Sun.

“If history serves as teacher, the cultural ramifications of these terrorists’ attacks will change over the long term.

For those who experienced those kinds of traumatic events first-hand, be it in Mumbai or New York or any other city affected by terrorism, Haley said they can go about their daily lives but “the possibility of other terrorists’ attacks will always be in the backs of the minds.”

Here’s hoping those who lost loved ones or survived the 2006 train bombings are able to go about their lives today.

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