Mumbai Diamond Dealers Vow to Defy Terrorists

The Indian gem trade vowed that it would not be deterred after two bombs exploded in the Mumbai diamond and ­jewelry districts July 13.

“It is business as usual,” Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council vice chairman Sanjay Kothari tells JCK. “The terrorists want us to get panicked. We will show them that we won’t be.”

One of the bombs exploded about 500 meters outside the Panchratna Building, occupied mostly by diamond jewelers in Opera House, the city’s traditional gem district. A second explosion took place in Zaveri Bazaar, a ­market housing numerous local jewelers. A third occurred in a residential district not connected with the industry.

According to reports, 26 people were killed and approximately 120 injured in the three explosions. Indian officials have labeled the blasts a terrorist attack. At press time, it was unclear how many industry members were killed or injured in the attacks, but Indian sources tell JCK that they believe approximately six were killed and many more injured.

Kothari says that heavy rains on July 13 had made the area outside Opera House less crowded than usual, thus reducing casualties. “We were lucky in that respect,” he says. “Otherwise casualties would have been higher.”

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Bystanders gather in Opera House a few days after the bombing.

According to a report in the Hindu­stan Times, police sources believe the Panchratna Building itself was the terrorists’ first target, but they were deterred by tight security. Still, Kothari doesn’t think the diamond industry was specifically targeted. “They just wanted to hit crowded areas,” he says. Meanwhile, he hopes the event will speed the dealers’ move to their new facilities at the Bharat Diamond Bourse.

Two days after the incident, the ­industry closed for a day of mourning, not only in Mumbai but also in the manufacturing city of Surat. As it has with similar events in the past, the diamond trade rallied behind its Indian colleagues.

World Federation of Diamond Bourses president Avi Paz said in a statement: “I extend our organization’s sincere condolences to the families of the victims and send our best wishes for speedy recovery to the wounded.”

Diamond Dealers Club of New York president Moshe Mosbacher also gave condolences: “On behalf of the New York trade, I pledge to our colleagues in India that we will do all that we can to ensure that life continues as before, and the ties and relationships that connect us will be strengthened.”