It was with a lot of care that the terrorists chose the spots in Mumbai to be targeted. First there was the Bombay Stock Exchange, Asia’s oldest stock exchange that epitomises the economic energy of Mumbai. The bomb there was the first to go off.
Dadar, which has the headquarters of the Shiv Sena was bombed in two places. Air India building in Nariman Point, then the city’s main business hub, was another target.
The international airport and five-star hotels were attacked. Old trading hubs like Zaveri Bazaar and Katha Bazaar, which throbs with the city’s entrepreneural spirit, were also targeted.
“Terrorists who want to destroy a city will try to kill its business. The small Zaveri Bazaar ward is one of the biggest contributors of income-tax in the country. Even today, any piece of gold jewellery, bullion or diamond sold in any part of the country will have some connection to Zaveri Bazaar,” says Kumar Jain, vice-president of the Mumbai Jewellers’ Association.
Ashok Khandelwal, a businessman from Goregaon who was on the fifth floor of the BSE building when the bomb went off, said: “The terrorists obviously targeted BSE because they wanted to hurt the city’s commercial heart.
"This is the place where businessmen and small traders gather. The time chosen for the blast was peak trading time at the BSE.”
Jain said that despite newer business hubs in the suburbs, the old trading centres are still busy areas.
“Every building in Zaveri Bazaar houses close to 200 small and big businesses. This means that there are at least 40,000 businesses in the area. Around 10 lakh people visit the place on a daily basis,” said Jain.
“This is still the heart of the city’s commodity trade. There is the famous MJ Market for clothes and the foodgrain markets are in nearby Masjid, though some of the foodgrain trade has shifted to Navi Mumbai. The area has always been a target for terrorists,” added Jain.