Tag Archives: mumbai terror

One hundred days ago

A hundred days ago, on 26 November 2008, Mumbai was attacked by terrorists. Some people and media, set in the perverse liberal ways of the average human being, called the terrorists simply “gunmen”. These terrorists were cowards, scum of the earth, firing automatic weapons on unarmed people who had never done them any harm. These cowards were no “gunmen”, for, they did not deserve to be called “men”.

These cowards snuffed out the lives of normal human beings, who were mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, fathers, husbands, brothers, or sons to someone beloved.

Take for instance Lo Hwei Yen, the Singaporean woman whose life was plundered by these enemies of humanity. Her life did not mean anything to these terrorists, yet they took her life in cold deliberation, with the terrorist handlers in Pakistan readily ordering her killing. Ms Lo’s life meant a lot to people who loved her and nothing to these cowards. Yet, they killed her.

Lo Hwei Yen, Singaporean woman killed by terrorists

Lo Hwei Yen, Singaporean woman killed by terrorists

International Herald Tribune (5 Dec 2008) Article on MUMBAI ATTACK reported:

Once the calls were finished, the attacker moved the small group of guests, who did not know what their fate would be, into a room. When the attackers became distracted by tear gas fired by the police, the hostages managed to escape.

In another instance, the gunmen forced a Singaporean hostage at the Oberoi hotel, Lo Hwei Yen, to call her husband in Singapore. She told him that the hostages were demanding that Singaporean officials tell India not to try a rescue operation. The next day, Lo was killed, the foundation’s report said.

Investigators found that after the gunmen killed her, they used the phone she had called her husband with, the report said.

“The worrying scenario is that Muzammil may have ordered her execution along with two other hostages that were found murdered in the same room,” the report said.

The phone intercepts confirm how the killings were ordered (reported in The National Post, 9 Jan 2009):

Fahad Ullah: “We have three foreigners, including women from Singapore and China.”

Caller: “Kill them.”

The dossier then notes the telephone intercept records the “voices of Fahad Ullah and Bada Abdul Rehman directing hostages to stand in a line, and telling two Muslims to stand aside. Sound of gunfire. Cheering voices in background. Kafa hands telephone to another handler, Wasi Zarar, who says, “Fahad, find the way to go downstairs.”

(No Chinese citizens were killed; A Thai woman of Chinese extract was apparently mistaken by the terrorists as “from China”.)

Other reports on the killing of Ms Low: The Straits Times (Singapore) (archive may not be accessible), Report with Pics (Wayang Party), Tranquil Singapore shaken by Mumbai killing (Telegraph, UK), Singaporeans in Europe express shock (with Pics) , Singapore women in Mumbai terror attack – New Straits Times , a forum post about the killing.

Lo Hwei Yen and Michael Puhaindran

Lo Hwei Yen and Michael Puhaindran

Michael Puhaindran is Ms Lo’s bereaved husband — please wipe his tears. Here is Michael Puhaindran’s facebook page with a picture of the couple.

Let us all tell ourselves this day that some things are wrong, and some things are right. There is right and wrong, believe me. Killing of innocent people, is wrong. Whether the motive for the killing is simply to strike fear, to advance some cause, or to launch the jihadist killer into promised heaven, it is wrong, wrong, wrong. It is just as wrong to kill innocent people under cover of “collateral damage”. We don’t have the right to take a life when we cannot give life. And more so, human life. If your religion tells you otherwise, please do not walk away without questioning it. Let us make humanity the first basis of our religious practices, whatever our beliefs may be. Only that can bring peace on earth.

My deepest condolences reach out to all those who lost loved ones in the attack. May such events never recur.

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Liberalspeak: Deepak Chopra calls terror an “organized inflammation”…

And Jack Diamond throws light on Deepak Chopra and sundry liberals who end up as apologetics for this “organized infllammation” (or shall we call it cancer?) : Clueless: The Fallout from Mumbai Massacre.

And then there are people who can’t use the T-word for terrorist. Terrorists are called “gunmen”, to be politically correct, it seems. Read Denis Shulz:
Mumbai Massacre: One Man’s Terrorist is Another Man’s Gunman

In which Arundhati Roy gives herself those ones

…and fells herself with thoughtless hate speech.

You may have read how Ms Arundhati Roy tried to justify the Mumbai Terror Attacks (Guardian UK, British newspaper) and, in the process, ended up exposing herself, irrecoverably, to the public ?

When Salman Rushdie was interviewed on the Mumbai attacks, he said:

… I think one of the most worrying developments… has been the willingness of a number of commentators … to place the question of roots (of the attack) in the concept of justice.

People have said that the reason for these attack was that there is injustice, that Indian Muslims are economically disadvantaged in India, that they have much lower educational qualifications, they have much higher unemployment rates and then of course there is the great injustice of Kashmir. As the argument be that while those injustices exist that is the thing from which these actions spring.

And as our colleague Arundhati Roy wrote the other night, as she ended her article, she said: You have a very simple choice: Justice or civil war — and you choose. As Suketu said, that is the entire spectrum of possibility from A to B.

[Suketu Mehta on his part agreed with what Rushdie had to say and pointed out that the attack on Parliament in 2001 for example predated the Gujarat pogroms]

Rushdie said:

…. But I do not believe that the terrorists such as these — I do not believe that their project has anything to do with justice.

… Ask yourself the question that if the Kashmir problem were resolved tomorrow, if Israel-Palestine reached a lasting peace, do we believe that al-Qaeda would disband? Do we believe that Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad would put their guns down and beat them into plough-shears and say we would now be farmers because our job is done ?

Further, on Arundhati Roy:

The moderator: “You mentioned Arundhati Roy…. (referring to her article)… the phrase was “the Taj is not our icon” … [Arundhati Roy in her article had actually written: “We’re told one of these hotels is an icon of the city of Mumbai. That’s absolutely true. It’s an icon of the easy, obscene injustice that ordinary Indians endure every day.”–Ed ]

To which, Rushdie said:

I thought that particular remark in her piece was disgusting. The idea that the deaths of the rich don’t matter because they are rich is disgusting.

Yes indeed, Rushdie. Roy was overall nauseating. (She mentioned the media whipping up mass hysteria which I thought was a worthy observation, but after that, her own hysteria took over).

Additional Reading

1. The Algebra of Infinite Fundamentalism by Great Bong.

2. Taking on Ms Roy (from http://www.nationalinterest.in)

3. SAJA Forum debates Roy’s article

4. Booker vs Booker – Rushdie Blasts Arundhati Roy about Mumbai …

What can India expect from the world ?

Nothing much except sympathy, it seemed.

Russia’s response to India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks comes across as one of substance, when contrasted with the Western world’s response. The U.S. seems too engrossed with its own Afghan objectives, and its own response leaves the phrase “war on terror” now sounding all but hollow.

The terror in Mumbai has exposed the fault-lines. The possible future directions of India’s evolving role in the region are outlined in what I would call a prescient but innocuously named article by M. K. Bhadrakumar: India, Russia regain elan of friendship. It is lengthy, but worth a read.

Appearing timely, was another article by an American journalist based in Moscow, titled That Was No Small War in Georgia, which tells us about Putin’s Russia:

… But after years in which Russia rebuilt itself … our (USA’s) advantages in global power politics have started to tilt Putin’s way. Slowly and quietly he got American forces thrown out of Uzbekistan and all but sidelined in Kyrgyzstan. And then, here in Georgia, he seized the opportunity to really hammer home his point.

With that backdrop, Bhadrakumar’s article makes more sense. If Russia is capable of a more equal relationship, why not ? Should, or shouldn’t India forget and forgive the grim days of the Rupee-Rouble trade (with terms unfair to India, see Russia’s Rouble Advantage) and reports of Russian arm-twisting ?

Will a walk with the bear take India out of the woods ?

Time will tell.

Needed: A responsible government, and with some luck, a responsible super-power

What is the true import and long term implications of the attack on Mumbai (26.11.2008) ? I view this on two fronts: domestic as well as foreign.

Domestic: What protection does the man-in-the-street deserve ?

Indians of every hue have reacted to the failure of the Indian government and the intelligence agencies. Lakhan Bhai, Khan Bhai, Peter Bhai, and Kuldeep Bhai have all spoken out. To this extent, the demos- part of our democracy works.

The government now appears to be trying to fix some of the institutional problems.

But, what can Lakhan Bhai, Khan Bhai, Peter Bhai, and Kuldeep Bhai expect ?

They (we) should expect the government to:
1. improve preparedness of each security/intelligence agency, and improve co-ordination between agencies (this includes stuff like getting real bullet proof vests instead of fakes).
2. verify and monitor response capability. (Use mock-attack drills, as reported to be undertaken after Mumbai attacks, in China and later in Indonesia.)
3. tighten laws as necessary (bring back POTA?)… but, at the same timem monitor that there is no abuse of draconian laws.
4. and, during the next terror attack, demonstrate rapid response.

External Impact: Intelligence and Foreign Policy

Meera Bai, Mumtaz Bai, Lily Bai and Karamjeet Kaur should also expect our government to conduct proper foreign policy to guarantee the viability and security of India as a nation, not for just the next 5 years, but beyond.

We should expect the government to:
1. Do the right thing with respect to foreign policy and international relationships with:
a) India’s self-interest as the primary and non-negotiable motive,
b) India’s enlightened self-interest as the secondary motive
c) The region‘s (including Pakistan) security and development as the third motive, and
d) The world’s security and development as the fourth motive.

To be crystal-clear:

** India should stop monopolizing the role of the “world saint” always offering the other cheek to be slapped. There are no canonizations for nations and no awards to be won for masochism.

** Nor should India try to take over the unenviable job of the “world policeman” (currently held by the USA).

That is how we may build the super-power, if ever.

Yes, Indians can run call centres for a thousand multi-national companies, Indians can work as CEOs for PepsiCo’s and CitiBanks. But these things do not make India a super-power. Only chain emails saying “Did you know ? One in every three … employees is an Indian!” proclaim otherwise.

Now, for the silver streaks on the storm cloud: many indications that India will move along a path towards enlightened self-interest, are visible in this excellent analysis by M. K. Bhadrakumar, humbly titled : India, Russia regain elan of friendship. It is a lengthy read, but highly recommended.

2. Build up strong CAC (Covert Action Capability). Today, India’s CAC is close to zero, zilch, null, nix, nothing. Whatever existed in RAW was disbanded by I.K. Gujral to win brownie points from foreign hands. (He did not win the Nobel Prize for Peace for it, unfortunately). It is a national shame that we Indians are always willing to sell the nation for a few bread crumbs. But, there are voices calling out for India to allocate 2% of our GDP to root out terror.

How should India regain / develop its CAC ?

It is fine to learn CAC tactics or strategies from any willing teacher, including Israel (as reported). But remember, I said “teacher“… not “master”!

We have to be wise about the nature of all relationships. Our CAC should never become a tool in the hands of any foreign power. Pakistan’s ISI may do CIA’s bidding, and receive protection in return, but that is Pakistan’s choice (or lack of choice). Whether that is an enviable situation to be in, or not, depends on which ISI or ex-ISI generals you ask. So:

India’s CAC capability should be built in such a way that it will only act in the sovereign interest of the country, and not become any other foreign power’s tool.

That, when the time comes for India to be a super-power, will give the world a responsible super-power.

Mumbai Terror, JuD, China and CPI(M)

What is the connection, you may ask ?

At the U.N, India had made three previous efforts to get the Pakistan-based “charity” Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) declared a terror outfit.  All three attempts were defeated by China using its veto  power, and JuD continued operating.

Now, in December 2008, finally… China did not veto; and U.N. declared it a terrorist organization and called for freezing its assets.

But wait — that was no victory !  JuD had moved funds out of their bank accounts by then.  Finding a new name should not take the organization too long… they have been through that before !

CPI(M) is the Communist Party of India (Marxist).  If someone can be holier than the Pope, CPI(M) is more communist than China:  if China sneezes, how can CPI(M) not catch a cold ?

Sitaram Yechuri, Communist (CPI(M)) Politician

Sitaram Yechuri, Communist (CPI(M)) Politician

Kashmir - J&K (India), PoK (Pakistan), and CoK (China)

Kashmir - J&K (India), PoK (Pakistan), and CoK (China)

No wonder, CPI(M) is stressing the need for India to engage Pakistan and China:  Mount international pressure on Pakistan: CPI(M) tells Centre.  Further, “Instructions from the U.S. alone will not serve the purpose” (emphasis mine) says Sitaram Yechuri of CPI(M).

In other words, Yechuri is exhorting India to talk to the power that matters — China.  That makes ample sense, since China holds the cards (and plays them too, as in the JuD affair).

Not just cards.  China holds a nice piece of Kashmir too. It was a gift from Pakistan, if you remember.  Now you know, who first invited China to the party.
(WSJ graphic: http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/images/P1-AN987_KASHMI_NS_20081214190816.gif)

See also If Pakistan is the arrow , China is the Bow

Updated Collection of Analysis Articles

I am collecting all the analysis articles related to the attack on Mumbai on 26.11.2008 under this page:

Links to major analysis articles on Mumbai Terror 26.11.2008

The page is updated as often as I get time to !

Disclaimer: Each author may have his own favourite theory and bias, so please use your brains to filter out as best as you can.

1. It is clear that there are a lot many players and stakeholders with their hands in the game.

2. The “man in the street” (you/me) is the first casualty in terror.

3. So, ordinary men and women need to analyse the facts down to their origins and sources to make sense of all the bizarre things that are happening to us in our lives.

If misinformed, you and I, ordinary and innocent civilians, the majority, will continue to be held to ransom by terror of a few.

This collection of articles is a step to bring the analysis articles scattered over many websites and online newspapers, in one place.

So… please head over to Analysis of Mumbai Terror 26.11.2008 for the most current collection.