“I was going to church to say Mass when some of my parishioners came to tell what had happened over night. So we devoted the Mass to asking for harmony in the population,’ he said.
“In any case we are hounded in Orissa. There is Hindu terrorism and Islamic terrorism. The situation is tense. Just to give you an idea: the Shiv Sena, a local party, had called for a general strike to protest against the government of Maharasthtra for the torture inflicted on Hindus in prison.”
“As far as we know it appears that the attack came from outside the country,” the missionary explained. “The hospital, the central station, a Jewish centre, the Oberoi, the Taj Mahal . . . were hit.”
Newspapers and the government have mentioned seven locations hit during the night, but eyewitnesses have said that they saw gunfire and explosions in other places of the city.
The fact that the attacks were claimed by a hitherto unknown group, the Deccan Mujaheddin, leaves it open to interpretation as to motives and inspirers.
Some commentators see the terrorist actions as an attack against the ruling Congress Party.
“If as they say they [the attackers] are mujahideen; I don’t understand why they would undermine the authority of the Congress Party and favour the Bharatiya Janata Party, the party that supports extremist Hindu nationalism,” Father Torriani said.
“It is true that people feel a great lack of security and these attacks will certainly play against the government, because Congress will be accused of weakness and incapable of countering terrorism.”
With some groups of terrorists holed up in the two hotels, TV stations are broadcasting news non-stop.
“All other programmes have been cancelled. Schools are closed. A cricket match between India and England has been cancelled and the English team has gone home,” Father Torriani said.
There is talk that the number of wounded is close to 300 with about 100 dead, including six foreigners and 15 police officers, including the commander of the anti-terrorism unit and three members of an elite unit.
We must wait and see if we want to understand the situation.
“This morning they were saying that the terrorists came by sea, but an admiral said it is not certain that is the case,” the PIME missionary said.