Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sebastian D'Souza, Mumbai Photographer

This picture of one of the Mumbai terrorists, walking purposively through the city's railway station, illustrates the cold-blooded determination of the killers:

Mumbai Terrorist

The photographer, Sebastian D'Souza, is interviewed at the Belfast Telegraph, and shares his experience:

Sebastian D'Souza, a picture editor at the Mumbai Mirror, whose offices are just opposite the city's Chhatrapati Shivaji station, heard the gunfire erupt and ran towards the terminus. "I ran into the first carriage of one of the trains on the platform to try and get a shot but couldn't get a good angle, so I moved to the second carriage and waited for the gunmen to walk by," he said. "They were shooting from waist height and fired at anything that moved. I briefly had time to take a couple of frames using a telephoto lens. I think they saw me taking photographs but theydidn't seem to care."

The gunmen were terrifyingly professional, making sure at least one of them was able to fire their rifle while the other reloaded. By the time he managed to capture the killer on camera, Mr D'Souza had already seen two gunmen calmly stroll across the station concourse shooting both civilians and policemen, many of whom, he said, were armed but did not fire back. "I first saw the gunmen outside the station," Mr D'Souza said. "With their rucksacks and Western clothes they looked like backpackers, not terrorists, but they were very heavily armed and clearly knew how to use their rifles.

"Towards the station entrance, there are a number of bookshops and one of the bookstore owners was trying to close his shop," he recalled. "The gunmen opened fire and the shopkeeper fell down."

But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. "There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back."
D'Souza wished he had a gun rather than a camera.

More commmentary,


George Bruce said...

He should have taken pictures of the Police who would not shoot. I wonder how many of them were Muslim, or how many were just cowards.

shevy said...

Agreed. Pictures of the police who were ducking under would have been good.

I would expect that the local police authorities explain this. How can 10 men kill so many people and act for _HOURS_ in a huge city with 19 million people?

No idea how it is in India but here at least we have cops who can rush to areas within less than half an hour with EASE - and no, I am not living in the USA.

Uma said...

How glibly we theorize about Islamic sentiments, and venture to judge the cowardice of others, even if we know nothing! I am responding to George Bruce's comment above. I work across the street from where Sebastian D'Souza shot the picture of the gunman. Firstly, when the shooting started, nobody knew who these two armed men were, much less that they were Muslim. Secondly, as CCTV videos from the station show, some cops did, in fact, retaliate. Eyewitnesses are fallible, and meaning no disrespect to Mr. D'Souza, he's not an exception. And thirdly, do not imagine that the police of a corrupt and poor country function in the same way as American police. A CCTV video clearly shows two cops sharing an old rifle -- no match for terrorists heavily armed with much more sophisticated weapons. Most Mumbai police constables are poorly armed (some have only lathis or truncheons), poorly trained, and do not have bulletproof vests. The second commenter, shevegen, has not said where she or he lives, but it is clearly not in Mumbai. Mumbai cops live in shanties and earn Rs 7000-8000 (US$140 to $160) a month. For that kind of equipment, training and remuneration, would you risk your life, regardless of your religion?

Anonymous said...

In response to George Bruces comments.
Dear the police of your country are cowars and the most corrupt in the world. Did u not see when Times of India reported thousands of muslims being burnt alive by hindus in gujrat and the police was just watching the scene. So u better stop talking about muslims. You never know it might well had been a DRAMA produced and directed by the ministers of your corrupt country.I am saying this because your country is realy famous for these dramas vis a vis kashmir.