Novita Singh Three near-simultaneous explosions rocked Mumbai at evening rush-hour on 13th of July, killing at least 21 people and injuring 141 in what the government said, “Appeared to be another terrorist strike in the city”. Surprisingly, no organisation has claimed responsibility for the blasts that occurred at Zaaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar, but then, this is not unusual for Mumbai. The perpetrators are giving a message to specific targets and they feel that the message will drive home without resort to publicity. Suspicion has fallen on the Indian Mujahideen (IM), an underground terrorist group operating in India and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The investigation into the blasts by the Mumbai
police made headlines for wrong reasons a few days later with the death of Faiz Usmani who was being questioned by the Crime Branch. Faiz was the elder brother of Afzal who is alleged to be an IM operative and an under trail. But how far has the genuine investigation progressed is anybody’s guess. It was not very long ago that the city was hit by the worst terrorist strike ever to have hit
Indian soil. The images of the terror attack on Mumbai in 2008 still haunt the collective Indian psyche. The entire nation witnessed the nightmarish hostage drama on national television for 72 hours consecutively. Many pledged to wipe out terrorism for good, when people took to streets angrily. Since the November 2008 attack, money has been poured into upgrading police and intelligence capabilities in Mumbai and elsewhere, but knowing the Indian procedural systems, even the most basic measures get indefinitely postponed. According to The Guardian ‘a Mumbai police
plan to set up a city-wide 5,000-camera surveillance network has been gathering dust in the Home Department of the State since January 2009’. Therefore it does not come as a surprise that the city that has time and again witnessed lives
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being lost to mindless terrorist activities is considered to be a soft target by these groups and organisations. “Mumbai is a soft target, it will always remain a soft target. The only way to combat this is through good intelligence, and that’s not there,” media professional Prahlad Kakkad told the CNN-IBN news channel. “We see a lack of political will to take this [protecting the city against terror
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attacks] on an emergency basis.” During a plenary session at the Asia Security Summit
in Singapore last month, the Indian Minister of State for Defence, M M Pallam Raju had issued an open warning to Pakistan against any sort of terrorist activity similar to the Mumbai attacks of 2008 that killed over 160 people. He had claimed that India would be forced to retaliate if any such incident launched by
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Pakistan based terrorists was to occur in the future. Now we are a mute witness to yet another blatant hit in the same place by terrorists. The recent dialogue between the Foreign Minister’s of India and Pakistan ended rather unconstructively amid an air of connived positivity. The media talk is more about the persona and fashion statement made by the Pakistani Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani, rather than any concrete development on the critical issue of containing the flow of terror from Pakistani soil into India. It is this mute posture and incoherent, passive policy in engaging Pakistan that gives to terrorists the impetus to continuously embarrass the Indian State and the Indian people. We should not say anything that we cannot do or ensure, instead we should work quietly on multiple levels and give the terrorists a run for their money while embarrassing Pakistan in the international community with irrefutable evidence of its involvement.. What, we as a country, need is a policy against terrorism that ensures the safety of the Indian citizens and not an endless saga of unyielding bilateral talks with the neighbour. Instead of waiting for Pakistan to act upon the dossiers and bring the perpetrators to book, it could be better to first tighten the internal security and boost up intelligence to avoid these abominable acts of terror. A leaf can be taken from the success achieved in anti-terrorist operations by the security forces operating in Kashmir. Around the same period when 22 innocent lives were lost on 13th of July in Mumbai, the security forces in Kashmir managed to save many lives by killing top terrorists in a surgical operation on the 15th of July at village Maidanpura, Lolab. As recently as Thursday, August, 04, three terrorists were killed in two encounters once again in the Kupwara District.
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As per estimates at least 20 terrorists have been killed in separate encounters in the last three months in the Kupwara, Sopore
and Bandipura belt of the Kashmir valley. These operational successes in a short time span have seriously undermined the operational capability of Lashkar in North Kashmir. An important aspect is active participation of the local populace in the security network. We must always remember that success in anti-terrorist operation in J&K came about only after the local populace got disenchanted with the terrorists and came out with actionable intelligence that helped launch surgical operations. This is even more important in metropolitan, crowded cities like Mumbai Even now, when the government is not openly proclaiming Pakistan based terrorists behind the recent Mumbai blasts, it is not unknown that
IM is an ISI creation. The fact that Mumbai is an easy access point for terrorists of any sorts is only a mockery of our system. It is appalling that the financial base of our economy has been hit so many times and yet we continue with our lives. If we can do it in Kashmir we can do it in other places also. Only the will to proceed forward is required.