Lounge

Terror strike in Mumbai

Like any other Indian I was devastated at what happened in Mumbai on 26th Nov 2008. Watching Television over the last 4 days it was a mixed feeling of Anger, Scare, Sorry & Disappointment. I pray for the departed souls to rest in peace and for almighty to give strength to the families that lost their loved ones and for the injured for speedy recovery.

Since lot has been reported about the incident around the world, I was not sure whether I too should be writing about this. Then I decided that every Indian has to raise his/her voice against this atrocity, so here is what I feel on this:

  • Indian Political establishment, the government & the intelligence machinery have failed spectacularly once more. There is no point in blaming the present Central or State Government for this, this is a failure of government at all levels over the last two decades – ever since the fall of “Cold War” and the raise of “Global Terrorism”
  • Over the decades, time and again Indian Government and Indian Civil Service have shown by their non-action that they don’t value the loss of a life especially of a ordinary Citizen. For them only the lives of Political Party Chiefs, Ministers and their immediate family members lives have any value
  • I just can’t come to terms on how easy it was for the Terrorists to come into India without being stopped and how easy it was for them to smuggle huge arms and ammunitions. Does India have any coastal guards and navy worth mentioning?
  • I am glad that there was no negotiation or surrender were made. Unlike previous incidents were our government was ready to bend backwards rightaway in the Indian Airlines – Khandagar incident in 1999 or in the Rubaiya (daughter of then India’s Home Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed) incident in 1989. In the Mumbai Incident now, it appears that the security forces were given a free hand to do their job, which they have done
  • Though I felt the operation by security forces was very slow, we should commend them for handling it skillfully with no civilian lives lost due to their firing, for not using disproportionate gun power and for capturing one terrorist alive
  • I am at loss on why our security forces don’t seem to be taking advantage of technology. For two days they kept saying they don’t know the number of terrorists and where they are inside the buildings. Why didn’t they use any Infra-Red Scanners, Motion Detectors, Satellite Sensors and the other modern fighting gadgets we see the American Armed Forces using skillfully in Iraq?. Does Indian Armed Forces have any of these or just like everything else in Indian Government was the budgets allocated for these swindled by Corruption?
  • Without these modern gadgets how does Indian Armed Forces dream about fighting even a conventional battle – with the changing world order wars are fought nowadays in Cities and not in deserts. Are these gadgets too expensive for India to buy, I don’t think so especially when treasury can spent US$14 Billion (INR 70,000 Crores) on the famous farm waivers and for issuing government bonds for subsidizing “Fuel” – both of which yielded Political capital
  • Though it is purely symbolic I still welcome the resignation of Central Home Minister Mr.Shivraj Patel
  • Though I don’t agree with American & George Bush policies on their International Policies and Iraq War. Still due credit should be given to them for protecting their country (USA) in the last 8 years. After the devastating 9/11 there have been no major Terror Attacks with in the United States. In a sense they skillfully moved the battlefield of the Global war on Terror from being within USA borders to outside USA
  • As an Indian, I feel ashamed that we still don’t have any Crisis Management Infrastructure in India as Mr.Ratan Tata rightfully pointed out. We don’t even have the basics like a US “911” helpline in India. I am not sure how many people who got stuck inside the hotels knew who to call for help – I certainly don’t know
  • India needs all the help it can get especially from US, Israel and other countries with huge expertise on fighting terror. Now is not the time to trumpet how great Indian Scientist are, or on how great our technology is, or being self-reliant, etc. But I am afraid our civil service will ensure this opportunity is missed to work with the world to our advantage by their outdated bureaucracy. A fine example of this happened today when the FBI was detained for hours in Mumbai Airport

One of my friends sent me a nice email summarizing on what he feels will happen from here which is worth reproducing here on his own words: “I really don’t want any more cries of “Indian resilience”, peace and harmony. Indian resilience is nothing but casual indifference if not directly affected. We’ll go back to watching our stupid soaps and reality shows once the real-life “reality show” of the terror attacks are over. A few discussions over dinner and drinks and we’re done. We’re mostly peaceful and harmonious people – but the ones massacring us aren’t. So these kind of displays don’t really do anything. What we need now is a strong government with a strong anti-terror law. One that can have the guts to take out terrorists wherever and whoever they are…Till then, I will remain cynical and angry

Having said all this I am still an optimist at heart and that is the reason I have a photograph of the NSG team on the start of this post. Finally, I salute the brave men and women from Mumbai Police, National Security Guards & Army who lost their lives in the battle.

Indian National Security Guards

Bookmarks:

  1. Video – NDTV’s Randeep Nandl explaining what an alleged terror suspect may be telling Indian authorities about the planning of the Mumbai attacks
  2. Attack in India – Summary by NewsWeek, Summary by New York Times
  3. We’re all Bombayites today by Vir Sanghvi
  4. BigB on the anger of the ordinary citizen and on complete loss in faith in the system and in the governance