New face of todays terrorist. A jeans clad, mask less, young, vibrant, remorseless, 21 year old Ajmal Kasab presently captured and under arrest! Pic taken at VT station by Mr. Sebastaian D’souza, Mumbai Mirror photographer, in a bravura display, amidst gunshots and at great risk to life.
Updated: Anger is a luxury we cannot afford. Hopelessness an emotion we dare not feel. Forgetfulness a crime we cannot indulge in. I promise to keep this post as a sticky for one year henceforth so that neither me nor those who chance to visit my blog ever forego the memory of the attack on us Mumbaikars in particular and Indians in general. In an effort to tabulate the developments as they occur, the direct fallout of public anger and action, Government changes will be recorded here. At the end of the year we will know at a glance just what our resurgence has accomplished.. Hope you are all ears Mr. Minister. We will survive despite you!
For further updates click on header.
Update 15th Dec’08: Bombay burns from within, yet. There is a semblance of calm. But scratch the surface and the wounds reveal, bleeding, raw, pernicious. We arent willing to and wont allow a forgetting of the incident..thank God for that! Media’s role in keeping the hurt alive cannot be spelled out enough. It has been more than a breaking news story. Thank god for that, again! trite as this may sound but the catatonic results of the attacks has most certainly been an awakening like never before. The common man has been shaken out of his reverie to realise what ‘ People Power ” actually connotes. One wailed long and often at how the average Muslim refused to vocalise his angst against the Islamic terrorist. Fundamentalists, right wingers, left, rebels, across the board have proven this time that Islam is not about fanatical killing and jihad is not about war on the innocents. One cannot elucidate enough how the sight of slogan shouting Muslims, their ire against the attacks clearly marked, did soothe strained relations which may have festered over the years. India seemed on the brink of Unity..once again. Vande mataram! The ultras intention backfired in all areas of conflict. Physical. moral, national and International.
Sanctions for a NSG commando force for Mumbai, adequate weaponry for the Police force and outposts for the Naval Command along the Coast are further measures instantly approved.
How do we deal with Pakistan? Should we believe their swearing of innocence and claims of victimisation on similar lines? Is the clamp down on LEt and other nefarious groups genuine? Simply put is Pakistan responsible for the war on Bombay city? Are we willing to peel off the illusionist shades that create an opposing mirage of innocence? Too many contradicting scenarios that cloud sentiments.
Perhaps all we need now is a clear focus on securing our frontiers. Let us not permit a fallout of mis-governance on the part of our neighbours to spill over on our shores. Either they handle their bandits or summon our help!!
Update: 5th Dec’08: Lets not overdo the anger bit. Activism is the need of the hour but hyper activism can degenerate into a farcical exploitation of the situation. We need to be SEEN more than heard. There is nothing really we can advise the Govt of which they are not already aware. It is the execution and implementation which was sorely lacking. Lets face it we arent more informed than the specialists in the field in deptts of Intelligence, Army,Navy. The advice has been up to date, It was the lackadaisical appraoch of the decision makers that precipitated events..or am I being naive here and not taking into account ‘desh drohis’ in the garb of politicians who advertently suppressed warnings! For the sake of our nation, I hope it is the former.
Let us limit our actions to protests in one form or another. lets not try and create leaders from a bunch of media savvy citizens. There is nothing new being uttered by any of us. We all are linked in our emotion and reactions, some more vociferous, others more erudite and yet some who find this another reason to hog the limelight without really offering anything that is fresh or unprecedented. We all hold an equal right to express our thoughts . But let us be wise enough to know when to stop.
Or it may come to a point when the common man may raise a cry of ” Enough is Enough” for the newly enthused citizenry. Moderation is urgently needed.
War is not an option. Terrorism is a symptom. Pakistan its bosom. Ideology its nursery. So how does one eradicate the base? Certainly not through war with namby pamby neighbours who are shifting their stand like a ‘ bin painde ka lota’ .Unable to deal with factions who dictate terms to them, attack and degrade them, they seek solace in expressing half baked thoughts to India, depending largely on Ms. Rice’s ( read their AKKA’s) mood. Deplorable. their insincerity was never more pronounced!
On practical grounds now. Politicians are a necessary evil. We CANNOT replace them. We can at most contain their irresponsible and self centred behaviour through constant referendum on public spaces and outspokenness. Lets tray and work in tandem with the new lot. Lets not even hope that they would better their predecessors save from the fact that public accountability might make them wary of overt unprofessionalism.
Update 4th December 2008: I was at the Gateway Of India yesterday . Unprecedented!! One was expecting a few hundreds. But what emerged was a sea ..maybe a couple of lakhs! Indians finally united in their anger and anguish. Cutting across all barriers of caste, class, education, religion. It was simply marvellous. I was choked with emotion and moved to tears seeing the human pyramid for the waving of the National flag. It was a momentous moment..a show of thumb to those who tried their damnedest to attack us and also to the politicians who for long have sat back resignedly in their plush chairs, comfortable in the knowledge that India will take it!
NEVER AGAIN is my call! yesterday though was not a day to be heard but be seen! Our numbers spoke loud and clear even over the memory of the past din of grenades and bullets. India has woken up!! What hurts that the catalyst that finally emerged to alarm us out of our slumber was this horrendous episode. Nonetheless…it has happened finally. I had on a hunch written on the 29th that India would be on the roads. Never expected to see it fructify so soon and so satisfactorily!
Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh despite some hectic lobbying by his ministers was forced to resign yesterday! So Maharashtra Government has more or less been thrown out. Is this the change we want? maybe not. But it will sure be a deterrent for future lapses. No governement can now imagine unaccountability as part of the deal of governing. Perform, act and deliver is the new mantra!! Our taxes are a result of hard labor..we want security. No security No taxes! it could well be No Governance/Roads/ No Taxes. For now…our mission is accomplished. This post is on as mentioned earlier for the whole year. Our eyes are on you Mr Minister!
Update 2nd Decemeber 2008: this piece of information may prove the amswer to our woes at least to those of us who dont want to vote and yet be counted.
“Did you know that there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section ” 49-O” that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he/she doesn’t want to vote anyone! Yes such a feature is available, but obviously past present leaders have never disclosed it.
This is called “49-O”.
Why should You go and say “I VOTE NOBODY”. Because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received “49-O” votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them.” Umquote.
Update 1st December 2008 : Deputy Home Minister RR Patil resigns but not before making his DDLJ inspired statement that shocked the country and his colleagues enough to show him the door. He spake thus ” Itne bade shehar mein aisa ek aadh haadsa ho jata hai iska matlab yeh nahin intelligence failure hai” Loosely translated ‘ In big metros an event and a half such as this may occur but that doesnt mean it is an intelligence failure”. Well Mr. Patil your ouster is also a minor event and a half in our life. All the best. May you be successful in discovering those situations which are worthy of your time. Perhaps fishing in Ganapatiphule may just be it.
Oh and this has been an eventful day. Chief Minister Vilasrao deshmukh has also put in his paers of resignation, resignedly. Waiting for the final acceptance from Madam ji while Sh Chidambaram takes over as the new Home Minister albeit ‘disinclined-ly’ as said he.
they really are all out to please us arent they. Elections are around the corner. So the much needed NSG aircraft has finally been allocated, in addition to promise of providing every crucial requirement of the NSG force. On the 27th the commandos were transported in BEST buses to the TAJ ..believ you me. So now they are also asking for their own transport. All this while the tinted glasses of the BMWs of the ministers perhaps shaded the need of this basic necessity presumably.
All of a sudden things are moving ‘tabadtope’..Only makes you angrier since it brings the point home of apathy of the last 60 years, rather clearly.
Update 30th November ’08 : Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil resigns..finally.
Japanese ministers were reported to commit harakiri ( suicide) if their ministry erred. Its high time our ministers stand accountable for lapses that spell misery for innocents. Shivraj patil resigning, for whatever its is worth may be the first baby step towards Change. Somewhere the niggling doubt does creep in that it may be an eyewash to tide over the immediate crescendo of emotions of Indians worldwide.
Effective attrition of funding to terrorists by their Mother organisation may be the long term solution which makes it incumbent on all nations to co operate. Meanwhile the strengthening of our own security, is paramount. The 1993 riots witnessed RDX arriving by sea. Fifteen years later, nothings changed. We have to ensure this was the last time ever that these’ guerillas’ took us for a bunch of jokers..which sadly is how we must have appeared to the world at large.
Mumbais tryst with terror and its shocking unfolding makes it well nigh impossible to keep ones emotions under check at the vicious, brazen incidents which have unravelled in Mumbai since 9.15 p.m. yesterday 26/11 ( details of timings and venues of attack in link ) . Under normal circumstances perhaps ‘coward’ wouldnt have featured in the title of the post.
Arguably the most extensive and devastating terrorist attack in India ever. The 20-25 ‘fidayeens’ (numbers vastly differ..some put it down to 15) as is reported on various channels arrived in Mumbai yesterday by ship on M.V Alfa which was Karachi bound, hopped on to small boats to disembark at the Sassoon Docks in Colaba ( heart of Mumbai) heavily armed and loaded with ammunition laden bags, unchecked and almost in complete freedom to let loose their reign of terror using weapons like AK47s and grenades.Latest reports suggest that the ship has been chased down by Naval helicopters and is presently under search.
Three hours into the early hours of Thursday the group of terrorists, in a well planned and meticulously detailed operation struck down innocents on the VT station, Oberoi and Taj group of hotels, among other random shootings at Leopold cafe the hub of tourists in Mumbai well known for its delectable cuisine and quaint air which attracted foreigners by the drove.
Hostages taken at the hotels and the fact that their main area of operation has been 5 star hotels and the cafe clearly indicates the mindset as intended to target tourists in an effort to hit out at the tourism industry . The fact that the Cricket league teams were meant to check in today as also the impending elections are details which may be noted.
As one surfed through channels greedily devouring every bit of information, to gauge the extent of harm and mayhem and also the intention and identity of the terrorists brought out in its wake rage and helplessness all at once. Just what are the intelligence agencies in India earning their livelihood on? The fact that a complete lapse of security on the entire coast is evident of the care a damn attitude.
Numbly one watched the utter despair on faces of those at the scene of action. They just didnt seem to have a clue as to what they had been just propelled into. Understandable but not if it takes more than a few minutes to gather your wits and get down to damage control. You cannot afford to wallow in dependency. Which is what was unfurling.
A badly injured resident of the Taj lay on the floor, while a group collected around, one of who checked his pulse and waited!! Jut simply waited!! Whatever happened to the Disaster management cell that was to have found its bearings with complete precision 2 years ago at the time of the Blasts? Werent they supposed to be geared up for an occasion such as this, well oiled, greased and operational and on to the rescue??
Meanwhile the terrorists brazenly played out their plan, uninhibitedly and with complete confidence. It seemed as if they had every move planned out, not just in action but also in reaction to what they knew the administration would employ. Its as if they had Mumbai on a platter to unleash their machinations on undisturbed and as if boastfully displaying their sophisticated modus operandi and precisive functioning. They exhibited their intensive study in the art of terrorism, paradoxically while simulataneously challenging the administration and their readiness and adroitness to deal with the situation.
Wonder where are those who claim ‘Me Mumbaikar’? Where are the zealots who could act in support to the police and army and prove just how much they loved Mumbai, honestly this time! Not anywhere in sight!!
Actions or rather inaction speaks louder than words!!
Hemant Karkare PI Vijay Salaskar
Tragically one had to digest the news of the death of ATS Commander Hemant Karkare. I saw the clipping yesterday when he arrived on the scene, calm, placid, confident and as if in complete control. He asked his subordinate for his helmet. Then one read that he had been shot dead with three bullets in his chest. Wish hed asked for a bullet proof vest instead. Surprised that it wasnt a part of his attire. He lead the operation into Taj and was gunned down. Now here is an officer along with the other three, including Sh Vijay Salaskar who one heartfully Says ” Salaam Sahib”.. You have died a martyr. You will not be forgotten.
Army arrived early this morning. Our Mubaikars gathered outside the Oberoi trident instictively, unanimously, equivocally burst into ” Bharat Mata Ki jai”..It was touching! This show of extreme confidence in our Jawans and the underlying emotion of retribution which looked all set to be accomplished, along with a full throated encouragement to our Bravehearts who were determined to go in and flush out the terrorists. Wonder which religion teaches killing as an act of bravery!!
One hopes for a detente between the opposition forces and the ruling party, If not now, then when? Get together, prove solidarity and banish the terrorists from our soil. External and internal alliances had led to this massive build up which resulted in this attack. Show them the door. Show us that you care! Care about what happens to India and Indians. Those innocents who lost their lives at Vt Station waiting for the train they never took. The chefs at Taj and other staff who were merely doing their job. Tourists who love India.
Give us an India we deserve, and India we have only dreamt of so far, where we live in freedom fearlessly. Giev us an India where each lives to realise his potential and in turn takes India up to realise hers. You have the Power. Deploy it. Or then live and die with the blood of innocents forever on your hands!!
PS: As of now 5.30pm the operation to flush out terrorists at the Taj and Oberoi is on. Army has been in since early afternoon for the Final assault. To see the portions of the Taj in flames is devastating..an iconic Hotel which holds memories and can boast of the best celebrations personally for me and for Mumbai in general. Night is descending and it may hinder activity.. advantage terrorists.
One terrorist has been captured at the Taj. He is reported to be Abu Ismail from Faridkot Pakistan, according to Times Now.
There are a bunch of terrorists who after the gunning at VT and Metro are roaming the streets of Mumbai, even as I write. The others holed up in Trident and Taj, still inflicting harm on whoever is available may have finally played themselves out, going by the escalating fire wrought by the army . The drama is yet to reach its climax although sporadic blasts are heard every twenty minutes or so and the injured are being constantly evacuated. Hostages still under threat, some in their respective rooms, wothout food and drink for almost 20 hours now.
Update: 7.30 pm..Hostages freed from trident and Taj. Number yet present in the hotels not known. meanwhile a tragic news. The general manager of Taj Mr. Karanveer Rang’s wife and three kids have been killed by the terrorists report channels. The drama isnt over yet !
Is India safe? Now what?
The sequential blasts in Mumbai couple of years ago had evoked a sense of outrage. One had poured out ones angst and sense of hopelessness in a post . Nestled somewhere was the dim ray of hope that perhaps I would be proven wrong. My fears would prove unfounded. I quote the words written then and it breaks ones spirit that those words seem relevant even today. Nothings changed.
“Lack of infrastructure, the constantly, growing multitudinous population, influx from other states, fluid statistics, all add to a picture of impending doom.It is as if we are on the brink of disaster. Spirit..for how long?? Mumbai, the financial capital has always been vulnerable and a soft target, in order to strike at the mind of India and get the sensex to tumble. So here we are sitting ducks, at the mercy of a weak intelligence and corrupt administrators, with our resilience, infallibility, stoic and strength, grit, bravery and whatever else our dear P.M. bestows on us.. ready.. for what? (btw the readers digest survey about mumbai being the rudest city goes limpingly redundant now, something I had mentioned in a comment in desicritics on the 11th as well)
Citizens ought to do this that and the other..ask not what your country can do for you..blah blah.. is all very well.. If anything, it was Mumbaikars who came together and help salvage a sitution when the administration fell apart. But can we wage a war against terrorism? Is that not the bounden duty of the state machinery to ensure safety for its citizens? Information is never forthcoming from these so called sleuths. One has to wallop it out of them? Dont we have a right to know just what is getting done towards further avoidance? What measures are under way?
Where is the guarantee that criminals will be indicted? There is not A SINGLE instance of a prisoner being penalised for blasts, in any of the past incidents..even from 1993. There has always been a loud proclamation of arrests, as evn this time and years later he is Freed for lack of evidence. The police only hang their heads down in shame or in speak out in defense, when questioned.
One has deliberately not written of the goriness, gut wrenching scenes of anguish and misery personally experienced, since it will only add to angst and feeling of destitution and solves nothing. But today what is needed is a demand for answers. To make the administration accountable and answerable. To voice disgust and protest at the lackadaisical manner that security and anti terrorist measures have been implemented or rather not implemented.
While we can show our tongue out to the terrorists and continue to pretend as if nothing has happened, let this not be the message that the Administration receives. Our confidence is flagging, fear is gaining foothold and hopelessness is slowly setting in. From the looks of it, seems it wil not be long before, INDIFFERENCE replaces concern, and apathy replaces sympathy.
The channels are gradually relinquishing their infatuation with blast news by now opting for spicier stories and interviews. In another week, 7/11 will be another day featuring in the History pages..mentioned with a polite tsk tsk ..and onto the next topic.
While the average citizen waits with bated breath for our blogs to be read by the powers who be..
Or a Superman to take over the reigns of Mumbai.”
This was two years ago….How different could it have been expatiated today?
Updated 5th January 2009: Media is rife with names. Names of those supposedly behind the siege . Most of these are names heard earlier as well. Intelligence agencies from US, India even Russia seem to corroborate on the zeroing in to four or five who are the masterminds of this attack. Pakistan dilly dallies on handing them over which in itself is indicative of the tacit understanding with them or even the complicity of the ISI and the Army with the leaders of the camps.
A must read..why Dawood Ibrahim will not be extradited, or for that matter, others like Nakhvi, Ibrahim as well.
Update 7th Jan 2009: Pakistani officials finally admit that Ajmal kasab is a Pakistani after the evidence dossier by India was sent to Pakistan. After the massive state of utter denial Pakistan had no option but to concede that the lone live terrorist captured is a Pakistani. Whilst the rest of the world had considered it a foregone conclusion, Pak took its own time, and with major reluctance and gracelessly were forced to admit the truth. It may have been more appropriate had the denial not been so vociferous and outspoken in the days following the attack. Pakistan suffers majorly from protocal disciplinary ethics. That they are disowning kasab and refuse to grant him any legal aid may also be noted.
Updated 9th Jan 09: Kasab made to say ‘ Jai Hind’ by jail authorities. Somehow this didnt go down well with me for the simple reason that we certainly dont require a Pakistani, a terrorist who has mercilessly massacred innocents remorselessly to then merely through lip service mouth ‘Jai Hind’.
This is a slogan that resounds with noble patriotic fervour. If someone is compelled, cajoled, to utter the words its senseless to the core. All it achieves is a slight embarassment for Kasab and a nudge wink joy for the officials but beyond that its pointless.
Of course Pakistan too must have and must be following the same procedure with our POW..but then that is pakistan, a terrorist state. We are India the land of the rishis and sages, wisdom and bravery. We can live without a tyrant mouthing ‘ Jai Hind’! It insults India.
Updated 13th Jan’09: Vinita Kamte, widow of martyr Ashok Kamte had to resort to becoming a sleuth to clear the false propoganda and ambiguity involving her late husbands actions on that fateful night. Deeptiman Tiwary brings you this poignant report.
Nothing can ever replace the loss of a husband for Vinita. But she had to simultaneously overcome her grief or perhaps keep it on hold till she personally investigated the events as they occurred that night since the authorities concerned seemed uninterested in a clarification even in the face of michievous, malafaide allegations flying around. A very very Brave Vinita Kamte.. Bravo!! A must read!
Update 24th January 2009: Obama has re infused us with faith in his leadersip and vision, promises of change and hope galore. Only a few days into his Prsidency and he has sent out a strong message to pakistan unlike his predecessor Bush who perhaps had his implicit alliance with Mush and nothing ever came out of namby pamby threats.
Two missile strikes targeting suspected terrorists hideouts inside Pakistan in the first few days of his presidency indicates that new US President Barack Obama is going to be tough on Islamabad, when it comes to the war against terror, media reports said.
Now that is what one means by ‘business’. Mush and Gilani have backtracked as expected..making funny sub human noises..detestible. The former admitting to Al Qaeda hideots in Pak and the latter announcing the need for quick action to do with India. Wonder if the threatend dossier from Pakiatan in response to ours will find its way here. ..ha