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Monday, 3 June, 2002, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Indians vague on nuclear terrors
India's Agni II nuclear missile
Both India and Pakistan are nuclear capable

People on the streets of the Indian capital Delhi have heard talk about the possibility of nuclear war between India and Pakistan - but are largely ignorant of what it could mean.

Some realise that if it ever happened, it would wipe out a sizeable number of the population

But others don't even know what a nuclear war is.


I know there is something called a nuclear bomb but I do not know what it can do

Rickshaw puller Pawan

A railway porter in Delhi - Raghav - said a nuclear bomb was a big bomb - that's what he has heard from people.

"So what? It may claim a few lives more than a normal bomb," he said.

Ravi - who sells coconut on the streets - asks: "What is a nuclear bomb?"

But Pawan - a rickshaw puller - said he knew there was something called a nuclear bomb.

"But I do not know what it can do," he says.

People like Salim - a street hawker - seem better informed.

"I know it might claim a large number of lives, maybe thousands, and it might be disastrous for both countries," he says.

When asked about the consequences of this kind of conflict, he had no answer.

Views of the educated

However, Shyamal Majumder, working with a private company in Delhi says, that the "devastation will be written within a few miles from the point where the bomb goes off."

He said he hoped that both India and Pakistan do not use it.

"If any insane person triggers that off, cities will be removed from the maps of these two countries."

For Nandini, a student at Jawaharlal Nehru University in the capital, it would be worse for the people who survive what she said would be a holocaust.

"One has seen the examples of a nuclear attack once in this world and life will be hell for those people who can either be maimed or even face severe health problems," she says.

But most people were totally in the dark about the effects of radiation.

And for many, the terror of a nuclear conflict is hard to imagine.

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See also:

02 Jun 02 | UK Politics
01 Jun 02 | South Asia
01 Jun 02 | South Asia
01 Jun 02 | South Asia
28 May 02 | South Asia
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