Local Students From India React to Terrorist Attacks

By: Daniel Kemp Email
By: Daniel Kemp Email

While new details emerge about the gunmen involved in the 60-hour assault on India that left more than 180 dead and wounded hundreds, WKU students from India are reacting to the terrorism.

Some are calling it the 9-11 of India.

And as Americans learned how hard something of that magnitude can be to cope with, members of one of the largest international groups on campus at WKU are having similar feelings too.

"Mumbai is considered to be a city that's flowing, much like New York here," said Shabbar Ranaburwala, a WKU graduate student from India.

For some students at WKU, what's seen on the news is all they know.

But for others, the recent terrorist attacks on Mumbai literally hit home, when your entire family lives in India.

"It was difficult to reach them for the first three days because all the phones were jammed and blocked," said Akhil Patankar, a WKU student from India, whose family lives in Mumbai.

"Visualizing things like people going around and killing anybody randomly, having AK-47s in their hand--it was a bad scene, it dropped me down to tears," Ranaburwala said.

Akhil and Shabbar are just two of the nearly 160 students from India attending WKU, and while home may seem a world away, they're dealing with a problem they say just keeps growing.

"I feel bad but this is kind of routine for India right now," Patankar said.

"A couple of months back we were having bomb blasts--serial bomb blasts, and so many were bombing cities of India," Ranaburwala said.

And as those in Mumbai are left to pick up the pieces, all Akhil and Shabbar can do is watch.

"I just go to the computer lab and check the news to see what's the latest," Patankar said.

"I want to do something if I could, but I'm helpless being here. So all I can do is watch TV and hope for the best," Ranaburwala said.

Both Akhil and Shabbar say they've spoken with their friends and family in India and everyone they know is shaken up, but okay.

Officials at WKU say they're planning to hold a vigil on campus sometime this weekend, so faculty, staff and students can come together to remember those lost.

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