Title Australian killed in Mumbai terror attacks
Database TV Programs
Date 27-11-2008
Source 7.30 REPORT
Abstract In a series of highly coordinated attacks by a little known group, more than 100 people have been killed including at least one Australian in the Indian city of Mumbai.
Citation Id 768S6
Cover date Thursday, 27 November 2008
Item Transcript: 1776053
Key item No
MP yes
Party ALP
Reporter O'BRIEN, Kerry, (journalist, ABC)
Speaker MEDCALF, Rory
RUDD, Kevin
Text online Yes
URL http://emms/ProgramItem.aspx?ProgramItemID=123123
System Id media/tvprog/768S6

Australian killed in Mumbai terror attacks

[Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.]

7.30 Report Australian killed in Mumbai terror attacks


Australian killed in Mumbai terror attacks

Broadcast: 27/11/2008

Reporter: Adrian Raschella

In a series of highly coordinated attacks by a little known group, more than 100 people have been killed including at least one Australian in the Indian city of Mumbai. Hundreds of civilians have been wounded in the attacks that focused on two five-star hotels, with gunmen seizing an unknown number of foreign guests hostage.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Tonight we focus first on the terrorist strike at the heart of India’s financial and tourist centre, Mumbai, previously known as Bombay.

In a series of highly coordinated attacks by a Muslim extremist group, more than 100 people have been killed, including at least one Australian.

Hundreds more have been wounded.

More than 15 hours after the first strikes, Indian security forces are still exchanging fire with the terrorists and the crisis is far from over.

The lives of an unknown number of hostages, possibly around 40, still hang in the balance.

In a moment I’ll be speaking with one of the top global experts on terrorism but first, this report from Adrian Raschella.

VICTIM: They had bombs... there was something... there was a lot of smoke and they... I guess they were bombs of some sort, yeah.

RORY MEDCALF, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, LOWY INSTITUTE: It was only a matter of time before there was another big attack in India.

Furthermore these attacks seem to have been very well coordinated; seven eight, nine different locations.

And at the same time they involved large number of individuals willing to put their lives on the line.

ADRIAN RASCHELLA, REPORTER: For centuries Mumbai has been considered the gateway to India.

But overnight the country's tourist and financial hub became a battle zone as terrorists attacked many of the city's most popular landmarks.

Armed with automatic weapons and grenades terrorists stormed a number of hotels including India's most famous, the Taj Mahal; as well as the city's railway station and at least one restaurant.

VICTIM: They wanted anyone with British of American passports... say anyone had a British or American passport they wanted to know.

So I guess they were after foreigners, yeah.

ADRIAN RASCHELLA: Many Australians have been caught up in the violence.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: I've been further advised of one fatality and the possibility of more.

Our staff in Mumbai have conformed the death of one Australian. Again privacy considerations prevent us from releasing further details at this time.

This is a terrible unfolding tragedy.

ADRIAN RASCHELLA: Also injured was 24-year-old Katie Anstee; she was shot in the leg.

Her boyfriend David Cocker was grazed by a bullet when terrorists opened fire in Cafe Leopold.

DAVID COCKER, TOURIST: I managed to sort of get her outside and then get her into, sort of, just ah... like some sort of lift where I had my hands... one hand around her knees and then one hand around her shoulders and got her off the street to a taxi and got to the hospital as quickly as we could.

ADRIAN RASCHELLA: Australian Garrick Harvison was holed up in his 14th floor bedroom of the luxury Oberoy Hotel.

GARRICK HARVISON, BUSINESSMAN: I started hearing all this banging, which we just thought... I thought, you know, there was fireworks or something.

So, I went out, had a look and just... bang, bang, bang... like a semiautomatic rifle.

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I looked over and found that it wasn't fireworks; it was actually people shooting people.

I just ran into my room and then from that point for the next five or six hours there was gun shots and bomb blasts and... Yeah, a pretty scary experience.

ADRIAN RASCHELLA: In recent years terrorists in India have usually resorted to bombings, such as those that killed more than 170 people on crowded trains in Mumbai in 2006.

And a year earlier a series of explosions rocked a busy shopping district in the capital Delhi.

Making this latest attack unusual was the boldness of the gunmen.

RORY MEDCALF: It looks like these attacks would have been planned quite some time ahead.

It would be quite a challenge to recruit 20 or more young people and, if you like, indoctrinate them, train them, provide them with weapons, be able to rely on them to disperse around a city and attack targets simultaneously, and be willing to kill and die.

ADRIAN RASCHELLA: Australian actor Brooke Satchwell was also caught up in the horror.

BROOKE SATCHWELL, ACTOR: You could hear machine gun fire start up in the lobby, and everybody in there just froze.

People started locking themselves in the toilet cubicles and we sat in there listening to machine gun fire.

A couple of the male staff were sticking their heads out, which was absolutely terrifying.

And they were coming back reporting that there was a dead body out the front of the bathroom, and that they were seeing people getting shot in the hallways.

ADRIAN RASCHELLA: Hostages were taken at the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Hotel Oberoy.

PROFESSOR MARIKA VICZIANY, SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES, MONASH UNIVERSITY: The targeting of westerners... I see it as an attempt to notch up the stakes.

Muslims feel that their demands for justice have been ignored.

ADRIAN RASCHELLA: Muslims have long clashed with the majority Hindu population.

A previously unknown local group, the Deccan Mujaheddin, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

International security expert Rory Medcalf says the group sources its inspiration from Al- Qaeda.

RORY MEDCALF: We could assume with ideological and perhaps material links to organisations elsewhere, perhaps in Pakistan, Afghanistan.

Although India's Muslim community is overwhelmingly moderate, there is a radical group of young men within that community who are willing to undertake these attacks against very vulnerable targets.

PROFESSOR MARIKA VICZIANY: Al-Qaeda could, of course, be involved. I think we should think of a number of possible scenarios.

But the Hindu Muslim situation in Bombay and Western India is so bad that you don't need Al-Qaeda to stir trouble.

The feeling is that these bombings are about revenge and retribution. Muslims in Western India feel that they have been under attack, and they attack is coming from Hindu fundamentalists and Hindu extremists.

ADRIAN RASCHELLA: Local reports say the gunmen are demanding all Muslim extremist prisoners in India be released from custody.

But even if authorities capitulated, it's unlikely to solve ongoing tensions in the world's largest and fastest growing democracy.

RORY MEDCALF: It’s inevitable there'll are more terrorism in India; a lot of people will go about their daily lives.

One of the big challenges for India is to be able to bounce back from this sort of thing.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Adrian Raschella with that report.

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