Kentucky residents and students with ties to Mumbai, India, say they are closely following news of this week's terrorist attacks and checking with loved ones there.
Dr. Satya Chatterjee, a London physician, said he immediately called a friend who lives in Mumbai. He discovered that the man's nephew was staying at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, scene of some of the worst violence, and was shot in the arm by the attackers.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
"He was told by somebody from the hotel's front desk, 'Turn off your phone now, don't answer the door if someone knocks and stay in your room,'" Chatterjee said.
"But he is a young guy, single, so he stepped out into the hallway to see what was going on, and bam-bam, he was shot twice," Chatterjee said. "It basically knocked him down. He stayed there until the commandos were able to get him out."
The nephew is recovering after surgery, Chatterjee said Friday evening at the Bharatiya Temple and Cultural Center in Lexington.
Most people with family and friends in Mumbai said they had no direct contact with the attacks because the city is huge — bigger in population than New York — and the terrorists focused on areas popular with Western visitors.
However, they said, they're upset that anyone wanted to cause such bloodshed.
"There's a lot of angst and a lot of anger in the public and the citizens of Mumbai," said University of Kentucky graduate student Krishna Prayaga of Mumbai.
On Thursday, Prayaga talked to his relatives who live in the city. He asked them if everyone was OK (they were), and whether the city had calmed.
Prayaga said he thinks everyone, everywhere could learn from what has happened in India and become more vigilant about possible threats to security.
"It's not only about Mumbai, it's about the world," Prayaga said. "The government cannot do everything. The citizens have to be alert. They have to look out for any possible danger."
Ashok Gangal, president-elect of the Bharatitya Temple, said his brother-in-law got a haircut and was eating dinner with his son near the Taj hotel on Wednesday afternoon, before the attacks started. Fortunately, neither man was hurt, Gangal said.
Gangal has lived in Lexington since the 1960s, but he grew up in Mumbai. He said he can't understand why the attacks were happening.
"I wish people would just live peacefully no matter where they are in the world," Gangal said.
No one at the temple has reported any deaths to him, he added.
Prshanth Periketi, another UK graduate student, could only describe the situation in India as "a sad moment."
"I felt really bad after seeing the news on TV," he said. "And I really feel sad for the families."
Periketi, from Hyderabad, India, said none of his relatives were near the places attacked. But "it's happening in our country. And we are all Indians, and we need to be united," he said.
Chatterjee, the London doctor, said the terrorists targeted Mumbai because it is India's financial capital, a symbol of the nation's growing ties to the United States and other Western economies. The attackers singled out American and British people.
"This sort of thing is done to intimidate. It is meant to have an economic fallout," Chatterjee said. "For the last few years, India has really been on the rise, and it has been growing closer to the United States. For people who don't want that to continue, this is a way to scare off investors and try to drive a wedge."