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By Rina Chandran
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Mumbai held tearful memorials and police staged a show of strength on Thursday as India's financial hub marked the first anniversary of militant raids that killed 166 people and pushed up tensions with Pakistan.
Onlookers waved Indian flags and banners with slogans such as "End The Violence" as police commandos with new weapons and armoured cars tracked the route taken by the 10 gunmen who staged the attack.
The raids highlighted the lack of preparedness of India to attacks and showed how regional tension in South Asia could undermine stability in Asia's economic powerhouse.
Residents lit candles outside a Jewish centre, one of several sites from luxury hotels to the city's biggest railway station, targeted by the Pakistan-based militants in a three-day rampage.
At the Trident hotel, chefs and laundry boys gathered to remember the attacks. Outside, a black granite column read: "In memory of our guests and our staff." A wreath of white lilies lay next to a glass case with burning candles.
"We just wanted to show our support and show that we care," said Subir Kumar Singh, who left a message on a banner outside the Leopold cafe, a tourist spot still pocked with bullet marks.
The police march sought to show better preparedness. Many police, some armed with sticks or old rifles, were reported to have fled the attackers who used grenades and automatic rifles.
While there has been some improvement in security, most Indians feel it may not be enough, and a similar attack could shake what has so far proved to be a resilient economy.
Nine militants were killed by police in the attacks. The lone survivor, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, is on trial and could face the gallows if found guilty.
Many foreigners, including U.S., British and Canadian nationals were killed.
Some residents shouted "Hang Kasab" as they walked past the seafront Taj Mahal Hotel, where the militants, guided by handlers in Pakistan by telephone, battled commandos in plush corridors.
"The first thing I did today was go to the temple and pray because my life was saved," said Mukesh Agrawal, who was wounded at the city's main train station.
"(I) pray that something like this will not happen in my city. I am going back to the station tonight to see the place. It's been a year, but I remember everything."
JEWISH PRAYERS
Indian newspapers and TV stations indulged in public soul-searching in chat shows, debates and editorials.
"26/11: lest we forget" -- read a front-page editorial in the Mint newspaper.
The attacks prompted India to break off peace talks with Pakistan.
New Delhi has sought to bring international pressure on Islamabad to act against militants operating from its soil, including the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) blamed for masterminding the raids.
"The government of Pakistan could do more to bring to book people who are still roaming around the country freely, to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism and I can only hope that there will be progress in that area," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said this week in Washington.
In a move seen as trying to appease that frustration and deflect U.S. pressure, a Pakistani court indicted on Wednesday seven Pakistani suspects on terror charges in connection with the attacks.
In Mumbai, police officers said their show of strength was a message of confidence for the city residents.
"We wanted to tell the people that Mumbai is safer," Rakesh Maria, chief investigator in the attacks, told Reuters.
At Nariman House, a Jewish centre in a south Mumbai alley, dozens of people gathered under a white marquee holding candles for a musical tribute to six Jews killed by the militants.
The centre has since been shuttered, its windows draped with plastic sheets, its walls and tiles pockmarked and shattered.
(Writing by Krittivas Mukherjee; Editing by Ron Popeski)

Reuters