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Page last updated at 17:43 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009
Mumbai attacks: One year on



People light candles at the Gateway of India in memory of the victims of the Mumbai attacks
The day closed with a candle-lit ceremony at the Gateway of India

Ceremonies have been held in Mumbai (Bombay) to mark the first anniversary of a series of devastating attacks on the Indian city by militants.

Police have paraded in the city, a memorial has been inaugurated and candle-lit prayer services held.

The attacks, which began on 26 November 2008 and lasted nearly three days, left 174 people dead, including nine gunmen.

The only surviving attacker, Pakistani Mohammad Ajmal Qasab, is currently on trial in India.

On Wednesday, a court in Pakistan charged seven people in connection with the attacks, including alleged mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi - head of the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The Mumbai gunmen staged co-ordinated attacks at a number of sites, including the CST railway station, two luxury hotels and the Nariman House Jewish community centre.

Security forces criticised

Among the events held to mark the anniversary on Thursday was a candle-lit prayer service held at the Gateway of India monument, near the Taj Mahal Hotel - one of the attackers' targets.

Elsewhere, Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram unveiled a new memorial, which he dedicated to the memories of "those who laid down their lives to save Mumbai... and the idea of India as a secular, plural, tolerant, democratic republic".

MUMBAI ATTACKS
Locals look at a fire as it burns at Taj Mahal Palace
Gunmen targeted several high profile sites in south Mumbai
Total death toll of 174, including nine gunmen
India says attacks planned in Pakistan by Lashkar-e-Taiba
Single surviving attacker currently on trial in Mumbai

He said he hoped India could be at peace with all its neighbours.

A police band played as several officers and the families of their dead colleagues gathered around, the BBC's Prachi Pinglay reports from Mumbai.

Earlier in the day, the city's policemen and commandos marched in a parade and displayed the force's newly acquired equipment, including amphibious patrol boats and "rapid intervention" vehicles.

The equipment has been purchased under a $26m (£16m) modernisation plan to strengthen resources.

The security forces were criticised for their handling of the attacks, and have been using the anniversary to demonstrate improvements - including the launch of an anti-terrorism commando unit.

Memorial services were also held at other sites of attacks, including the CST railway station and Nariman House.

People have also been lighting candles in front of the Oberoi-Trident hotel and a popular cafe, both of which were targeted during the attack.

"We just wanted to show our support and show that we care," said Subir Kumar Singh, who left a written message outside the Leopold Cafe.

'Points of light'

The ceremonies got under way on Wednesday, the eve of the anniversary. In southern Mumbai, diplomats and local religious leaders attended a candle-lit service at a synagogue.

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Police parade through the streets of Mumbai on the first anniversary of the attacks on the city

Six people were killed in the attack on the Jewish Chabad Lubavitch community centre, including its rabbi, Gavriel Holtzberg, and his pregnant wife, Rivki.

Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz, head of a relief fund for the victims at the centre, spoke of the community's resolve.

"We will turn the horrific memories of a year ago into thousands of points of light and we will continue with faith in God that he will protect us," he said.

SOUTIK BISWAS
Soutik Biswas
A year after the audacious attacks, the dividing line between fact and fiction has blurred in Mumbai
Soutik Biswas, BBC News, Delhi

Dozens of people painted slogans on a wall in southern Mumbai, where the attacks were concentrated.

One read: "We want to make sure 26/11 is not just forgotten."

A small group of people who were gathered for a vigil outside the Taj Mahal Hotel called for more police reform.

The attacks led India to suspend peace talks with Pakistan. In July Indian PM Manmohan Singh said talks would not restart until the Mumbai attacks suspects had been brought to justice.

Following Pakistan's announcement on Wednesday of charges, he said he welcomed "every step" by Pakistan to rein in militants.



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