A-Z collection of insights, opnions and updates of November 2008 Mumbai attack.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
November 29, 12:01 pm
My fingers are shaking as I key in this piece, minutes after watching visuals of panic stricken commuters at CST station, running helter skelter as fresh reports of terrorist attacks near the RBI and GT Hospital send a grievously wounded Mumbai reeling once again…to save itself. If these horrific attacks that have struck every Mumbaikar’s heart do not act as a serious wake up call, nothing else can or will.
The most important lesson to learn from the carnage is that the time has come for citizens to take control of their lives and their beloved city, for if they don’t, they will be dead.What the past 70 hours have demonstrated unambiguously is that our city fathers have learned nothing from past blows in our gut, or else innocents would not have lost their lives because there was no one in charge when the city most needed a figure, capable of leading from the front.
The chief minister showed up outside the Trident, when the crisis was nearly over. Delhi politicians caused more of a nuisance than anything else when the prime minister, along with Sonia Gandhi made the mandatory hospital visits…diverted traffic and police attention.But it took a Narendra Modi to show us what political opportunism is all about when he arrogantly arrived here with bags of money to distribute to the families of Mumbai’s real heroes – the slain policemen, and wasted no time in capitalizing on the tragedy to cold bloodedly push his own agenda.
There were several shocking failures and lapses…But what good is a post- mortem, after the damage is done? What good, delayed responses – we could have, we should have, why didn’t so-and-so do this or that? The truth is, we effed up. Each and every one of us. Let us not point fingers and play the blame game, for it is dangerous and unproductive. We were caught off guard – once again. This time there is no excuse. How many attacks is it going to take for Mumbai to act and save itself?
And where should we begin? I would say let us start from taking a few key lessons from America, post 9/11. The entire country acted as one. Political differences were set aside and a superbly strategized counter-terrorism plan put into place.There have been no further attacks since then. Next, we need to pay attention to the immediate requirements of our over- burdened police force – those poor constables armed with nothing more lethal than laathis can ‘t chase a rabid dog, forget about taking on hard core, armed terrorists.Give them equipment, training and autonomy to act in such an emergency without waiting for bureaucratic clearances, then see the difference. We need an action plan to deal with crises. Citizens need to be taken into confidence with a disaster management strategy, and regular drills to keep people alert.What became evident( and cost countless lives) was the absence of leadership.
With whom did the buck stop?
Who was in charge of taking key and timely decisions?
Was there anyone at all who was monitoring and co ordinating collective efforts to deal with each ghastly development? Individual stories of heroism are not enough in such situations – they create martyrs, nothing else. We lost outstanding officers, who misread the threat to their own lives and were not adequately protected. Our police lack basic gear – helmets, bullet proof jackets, riot shields. We expect them to protect us while they themselves are unprotected. Lack of funds is a poor excuse. Take a look at any minor politico moving around with a convoy of police cars, security personnel, ambulances. These privileges must be instantly withdrawn and reserved exclusively for top ranking politicians alone.Help in the form of crack commando units, the Marcos, NSG and the Army, arrived several hours after Operation Mumbai was underway. Naval helicopters were deployed still later. Securing a city like Mumbai is not an easy job. But it is possible . Something simple like neighbourhood sirens to alert citizens of an impending attack, are not that difficult to install. This IS war – make no mistake about that. Mumbai is hemorraging…bleeding a slow death Political tourniquets can’t save us. If we have to save ourselves, we need to perform radical surgery…amputate a few gangrenous limbs. And rely on the mighty heart of this great metropolis – the extraordinary people of Mumbai. But this time I am not going to be a sentimental fool and say, ‘Salaam Mumbai’. It’s time to shout, to holler, “Wake up Mumbai. Fight back. Fight back. Fight back!”
On Shobhaa De blog
Don't Bounce Back to normalcy please.In the Army, after every battle or even after simulation of a battle, a session is held that is called "Lessons Learnt". The aim of the exercise is to do an introspection on the operation and bring out the weaknesses that led to the situation and also to correct the mistakes done during the operation itself. Our country has come out victorious out of a battle today. Before slipping into congratulatory mood for too long, we have to get into the "Lessons Learnt" mode first. Let me enumerate a few of the lessons which i think we should have learnt out of this exercise which has certainly given us a bloody nose.
1. Instead of fuming at foreign hand involved in the terrorist operations we should concentrate on strengthening our security mechanism. The nature has given defence system to every object. An insect has its sting which it activates when in danger. The beautiful rose has thorns. Even birds are careful enough and look around ten times for any danger before approaching a food item that has been laid out for them to eat. As far as the human being is concerned, his security system goes right back to the stone or the cave age. He would in addition to having arms and ammunition for his safety, invariably keep a big boulder on the door of the cave to prevent any wild animal from entering and eating up his family.
2.We have our intelligence agencies, our boarder security, our coast guards and other para military forces who are responsible for keeping an eye on our land and maritime boarders in the peace time. Smugglers cross the boarders of our country with impunity, carrying drugs and other contra bands, after bribing the forces which are meant to keep a check on them. So if contra bands can be smuggled , then why not arms and explosives.
3. Further, our police and security system bows to the VIP culture that we have in our country. Flaunting the beacon lights on the car and a group of security or protocol personnel walking behind a VIP has become status symbol rather than necessity .
4. More than half the strength of the police force of a city is busy looking after the security of the VIPs instead of taking care of the same for the common citizen.
5. At the five star hotel gate, a guest will feel insulted if the tall durwan with turban and moustaches does not salute him/her and more so if a security fellow asks for searching the body and the baggage of the guest.
6. At the air ports the VIPs throw tantrums if subjected to security checks.
7. Even a common citizen cares a hoot if he/she notices an unattended object or a suspicious person loitering around.
8. Whenever a security gadget is installed at an office or a public place, the first reaction of the common man is how to by pass the same.
9. Mobile SIM cards are distributed by the service providers without much verification of antecedents of the customer.
10. The land lords don't bother to verify the correct particulars of the tenants. Same goes when contract employees are recruited by companies without getting any police verification done for them.
11. And last but not the least our vote and note hungry politicians are busy washing their dirty linen in public instead of concentrating at real issues staring in face of the country's security.And I will hate to read the headlines in the papers tomorrow that Mumbai bounces back to normalcy. Normalcy in our country will mean all that I have mentioned above. We have to deal with times abnormally. Our country is on the path of unprecedented economic progress and that is not liked by every one around us in the world. So please, please tread cautiously. And don't be in a hurry to bounce back to normalcy.
16 Hours Ago on Facebook.
I would not blame the civilians of Pakistan. They are probably just a replica of any other society. Look at the Pakistani junta, they blame Americans for this. Of course I'm sure they would understand it is not the whole of America that needs to blamed but a few minds that orchestrate this. Similarly there are a group of people in Pakistan, and specifically they are Pakistani nationals.The point made earlier was true that more than Kashmir, these Pakistani groups cannot bear the economic prosperity in India. Another thing, Pakistan itself has always had an identity crisis. It claims to be a democracy, but it has never been. Both sides of the border, the politicians are the biggest terrorists than those youngsters who fired aimlessly in Mumbai.
- I would ask my Pakistani contemporaries, India and Pakistan are normally terror prone nations, but why is that the west and all other nations find India safer than Pakistan?*
- Why is that cricket teams more or less always refuse to tour Pakistan, but on most of the time readily tour India?*
- Why is that after repeated hardcore evidences sent to Pakistan that Dawood Ibrahim stays in Karachi, Pakistan is not ready to cooperate? Why can't it sign an extradition treaty with India?
Pakistan just claims to cooperate, but has never done that.Pakistan more or less has never had a national goal of prosperity, With all the levels of corruption in India, India is where it is , Pakistan is unfortunately no where. Your politicians are your real enemies not India. Your army is one of those who never follow international protocols of war, rape innocent women brutally torture captives. India has always gracefully captured and sent all the captives back to you time and again from the Wagah Border.The whole world knows where the terrorist camps are , but neither the govt of Pakistan is doing anything neither they are letting anyone else do it. The people of Pakistan may argue that Indians dnt like us and hence all these accusations, but unfortunately the whole world equates Pakistan with terror. Who all are you going to silence? The youth of Pakistan is an answer to this, I still believe this generation needs to take over Pakistan and make it prove itself as a nation. Otherwise the day is not far away that Pakistan too will be declared as a terrorist state.My comments are based on my own views, to all the Pakistani nationals, I lost a dear friend in the blast. Today I hate the Pak military, their politicians. but I do not hate the people.
Source: Times Of India
MUMBAI: Mohammad Ajmal Mohammad Amin Kasab, the only terrorist to have been arrested in connection with the three-day terror attack, shot dead
Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, Mumbai police sources said here on Saturday. They said Kasab, a Pakistani national who was remanded to police custody till December 11, also killed encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte. The sources said ten terrorists had arrived in the city for the first time on the night of Wednesday using the sea route and then dispersed in pairs to the targeted locations. The terrorists allegedly took taxis to their assigned locations and paid in Indian currency. "Each terrorist was carrying Rs 6,200 with them," a senior police official said. Kasab was arrested on the night of Wednesday after his partner, whose identity is stated to be Ismail Khan, was shot dead by the police at Girgaum Chowpatty locality in south Mumbai. Kasab and his partner had first opened fire at CST railway station and then proceeded to Cama hospital and G T Hospital, a senior police official said. Kasab has allegedly revealed that their plan was to take hostages at the Taj hotel, Oberoi Hotel and Nariman House and then use them to escape from the city, he added. He said the Indian financial capital was chosen keeping in mind the worldwide impact it would have. According to a Mumbai crime branch official, the ten terrorists had not come to Mumbai before this to conduct any 'recce' and they had learnt about the locations with the help of Google Earth. The police are still verifying as to how the blast in suburban Vile Parle and Dockyard Road in south Mumbai was executed and if the terrorist had received help from any local group.