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Jama Masjid buzzes back to life day after shooting

Monday, September 20, 2010 05:24:20 PM, Suhas Munshi, IANS

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New Delhi: Jama Masjid and its surrounding areas in Delhi's old quarters was back to its bustling self Monday, a day after gunmen opened fire outside the 16th century mosque, injuring two Taiwanese. While tourists came in large numbers, it was business as usual for the numerous shops in the area.

Despite advisories from the governments of Australia and Britain urging their nationals to refrain from visiting sensitive locations, around 35 foreigners were seen near the historic mosque Monday morning while many more visited the majestic Red Fort nearby.

"Yes, there were some concerns but the mood at our camp is upbeat. There is no scare... neither are we planning to cut short our vacation here in India," British tourist Steve Coll told IANS as he came out of Jama Masjid.

Two Taiwanese tourists - Ko Chang and Ku Ze Wei - were wounded when two gunmen on a motorcycle opened random fire at a bus from which a group of tourists was alighting near the Jama Masjid Sunday morning.

The attack, just after 11 a.m., took place near Gate No.3 of the mammoth, red sandstone mosque.

Though the police presence increased by the hour Monday, shops near Jama Masjid opened at their usual time and rikshaw-pullers eagerly awaited customers.

"We're not afraid. The event occurred, and we're over it. But we wish that the criminals are arrested soon, or we'll be affected adversely if tourists get scared," aid Monu, a rickshaw puller.

Ganga Singh, who works in 'Delhi's Ivory Palace', a shop opposite Jama Masjid's Gate No.3, seemed unfazed by Sunday's shooting incident. He opened the shutters of the shop at around 9, like he does on a normal working day.

"What have we to fear? Police is carrying on their investigations...the results will come out and we'll carry out our business as usual," Singh said.

Sanjay Chauhan, who works in a garage a liitle away from Singh's shop, told IANS that no one in the neighbourhood was scared and that they would assisst the police in every way possible.

"All shops will open in due time...nobody's scared of those attackers. Work will go on as usual and we'll assist the police to the best we can," Chauhan said.

Mohammed Amin, another rickshaw puller, said: "It is important that those criminals are caught and their identity revealed. These terrorists want nothing but disturbances in the city. We all will help the police in any way we can."

A policeman, who arrived at the site at 7.30, was alert but calm and said that everybody in the area was at peace. "People aren't panicky or in a state of shock. There is not much to worry about but we're watchful nevertheless," he said.

"We are watchful for any new faces and for suspicious elements," he said.

Visitors in tourist buses and hired taxis were seen near the mosque and many parents were also seen escorting their young ones inside the complex.

In other parts of the city, tourist hotspots like Connaught Place, Gole Market and areas around Commonwealth Games venues were heavily barricaded. Traffic restrictions were imposed at around 470 landmarks and prime locations, including Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple and major markets.

Several motorists said they could not park their vehicles because of the restrictions.

Police said pillion riders have been disallowed near these sites and motorists will have to park their vehicles at least 100 metres away from these places. CCTVs are also being installed at these locations, police said.





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