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Friday, 14 September, 2001, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Indians desperate for news
An Indian Muslim woman offers prayers for victims
Indians anxiously await news of victims
By Daniel Lak in Delhi

Hundreds of phone calls pour into an Indian government information hotline on the New York and Washington attacks.

It is a grim indication of just how many people from India are directly involved in the tragedy.

Newspaper reports have said that more than 250 Indians are among those feared killed, injured or missing.

But no one knows for sure, nor are officials willing to speculate, leaving it to the Americans to compile the list of victims.

But a number of prominent Indian companies had offices in the World Trade centre.

Hundreds of workers

The two largest information technology companies in the country had hundreds of workers in New York.

Hindu ritual outside parliament
India has joined the world in mourning
One of the firms, Wipro, has said some of its employees are missing.

In one home in south Delhi, the Nirula family hold a hot and frustrating vigil.

For the past several days now, they have been staying up all night, phoning New York and trying fruitlessly to discover the fate of a granddaughter, Monica Nirula.

She worked on the 101st floor of the World Trade Centre south tower.

No one has heard from her since the attacks, although her elder sister escaped from the north tower and has been calling her grandparents every night as she combs the streets and hospitals of New York.

India feels very much involved in this tragedy, not least because of the victims of Indian origin but also because it feels itself a victim of terror attacks over the years.

The Foreign Minister, Jaswant Singh, told a news conference that the American attacks were tragic, overwhelming but not particularly a new phenomenon outside of the United States.

Time running out

Back at the Nirula house, time is running out for good news from New York.

But no one gives up, a ringing phone is answered instantly.

Amid the tragedy, there is still room for forgiveness.

Harbijan Singh Nirula, who has probably lost a beloved granddaughter in the World Trade centre atrocity, says he feels no animosity towards its perpetrators.

Indian Government information hotline:

Delhi: 0091 11 338 1500

New York: 001 212 774 0625/0604

See also:

14 Sep 01 | Americas
In pictures: Gathering grief
14 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
S Korea mourns US victims
13 Sep 01 | Americas
One desperate search among many
Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.

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