Yesterday morning, once again I realised the futility of reading newspapers for getting news. Mumbai was under siege and my print paper gave me no idea of it.
I reached office and checked my e-mailsthats when I saw a message from Sree Sreenivasan, a professor of journalism at Columbia University and co-founder of South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) in the US. His message was about a radio blog discussion on the breaking story of the terror attacks in Mumbai.
What! Another terrorist strike in Mumbai?
I was both angry and sad. What were the security and intelligence forces doing that allowed another terror attack on Indias financial nerve centre? I was sad at the loss of innocent lives.
I immediately logged on to various newspaper and TV Web sites, and yes, the news was there in full detail, even as the events were unfolding. The attack was so well-planned and daring in its mounting11 locations were attacked, resulting in the death of more than 100 people and the injury of over 200. Scores were taken hostage, especially Americans and British nationals.
Clearly, the attackers, whoever they were, were fulfilling two major goals: spread terror in an economically booming India, weakening the country by dividing its people in the name of religion and send a message to the American empire that it could attack its strategic ally (India) as casually as possible.
Looking at the scale and the sophistication of the terror attacks, my immediate reaction was that this was Indias 911. Cities such as Mumbai and New Delhi had seen terror attacks before but never at this scale. Even at the time of writing this post, Indian commandos were battling with terrorists at two locationsHotel Trident (Oberoi) and the Nariman House, where most of the hostages were foreigners, including Americans and Israelis.
It should be noted here that despite Indias soft corner towards the Palestinian cause, India and Israel have close military ties. According to one report, India is the biggest buyer of Israeli arms and munitions, a customer even bigger than the Israeli army.
America is flying in its FBI team and Israel its commandoes to help clear up the hostage situation.
The terrorists claimed in an e-mail to be Deccan Mujahideensa hitherto unknown group. A report said that the e-mail was sent from a fictitious IP address from Russia. Now it is said that they are most probably members of Lashkar-e Toiba, a Pakistan-based terror outfit that fights for the Kashmiri cause and has links to Al Qaeda.
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