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The Mumbai Mayhem – a different perspective.

Dr Nitin Pandey

Things we must not forget... Things we should forget about... Things which have changed
post - Mumbai.....
  1. Statistics: Over the last 4 1/2 yrs of this government more than 4500 people have died in about 35 terror attacks. In the Kargil war the death toll was 525.
  2. Spread: These attacks have been spread all over India, ranging from militants in Kashmir to Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh to the Huji Militants in North East to Pak sponsored militants in Gujarat in the West.
  3. Life of all Indians is equal: whether they are from Mumbai or from Assam. Did you know that train blasts in Assam three days after the Mumbai Mayhem killed 3 people? This was not even mentioned on our TV Channels, while it did feature on DD News, BBC and CNN. Are those 3 who died in Assam less than people who died in Mumbai? In June this year 36 police commandoes were drowned when they came under Naxalite fire while crossing a lake in Andhra Pradesh. Were their sacrifices less than the sacrifice of policemen killed in Mumbai or Delhi? Why was the news never beyond page 3 of most newspapers and why did the news channels now so active, spend not more than 5 minutes on it then?
  4. Security: of our country is interlinked. You cannot defend Mumbai by deploying armed guards and mounting Naval patrols at the coast, while leaving vast stretches of our land border with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Burma open. Either we are all safe or no one is. Three SIM Cards carried by the terrorists in Mumbai were purchased from Bengal – Bangladesh border!
  5. Far more dangerous than LeT: is the illegal migration from Bangladesh. The Governor of Assam, Lt Gen Ajai Singh is on record saying that 6000 people illegally cross over to India every single day! If even one of them is a terrorist daily, how can we ever be safe? For petty politics the Congress has been encouraging such immigration and has always resisted efforts to deport them. After entering India through Assam most of them obtain fake papers and then disperse to various parts of India. The recent blasts in Assam are a manifestation of the same problem. Our country is literally being burrowed into and how many storms can a hollow tree stand, only time will tell. Now that the Congress Party has suddenly woken up to the threat of terrorism, will someone remind them of their policy on Assam?
  6. Terrorists are not fools: to have left their satellite phones, with all the dialled numbers and GPS system on boats and other indicators pointing to Pakistan for us to find so easily. Even a petty thief will not leave his mobile behind at the scene of his crime. And here we are talking of people who have planned things to the minute detail over months if not years. Clothes stitched in Karachi, Karachi toothpaste, Karachi combs….. Thank god they didn’t wear T-Shirts with a Pak flag. How can they be so foolish enough, unless they wanted Indians to get a Pakistani smoking gun so that tensions rise in the subcontinent forcing Pakistan will divert its Army from its Western Border to the Eastern one with India and this in turn will release pressure over them and the Taliban? Are we walking into their trap? If they could kill and dump 3 other sailors in the sea, what prevented them from sinking the entire boat?
  7. Media should be responsible: Part of our electronic media has been over aggressive in its coverage of the Mumbai events and some channels are on a war mode, asking for Pakistan to be carpet bombed. Participants are coaxed to say aggressive things and then the tapes played and replayed Ad nauseam . Cool and analytic reporting seems to have been replaced by hysteria. During the days of the Kandahar hijack, the same Media pressure literally forced the Government to free the terrorists. Are we now going to let the media force us into a war? Thankfully our print media is much more balanced and mature.
  8. Police reforms, Salary of our Armed Forces, enhancing costal and air surveillance, streamlining of Judiciary, corruption: are well debated points which we all must also remember. In the Mumbai attacks the policemen died in spite of wearing bullet proof vests. As it later emerged these very vests were rejected twice by the Police on account of not passing mandatory tests, but by some mysterious way did finally find their way into the police armoury with deadly results.NSG is the last weapon against terrorists and not the first, therefore concentrating solely on augmenting them is the easy and populist way to showing “action” to the people of India. The foot solders in the war against terrorism are the police constables and field intelligence operatives. As long as they can be bought over by a 50 Rupee bribe, we will never be safe.
  1. Attacking Pakistan: Addressing the Police Chiefs earlier this year the PM identified the Naxalite problem as the single biggest security threat to India and Naxalites have camps all over the red corridor from UP to Tamil Nadu. Are we going to carpet bomb them also? Have we been able to close them in spite of so many years of Red terror? There are hundreds of similar camps in Bangladesh, Burma and Nepal. How about starting an all out war with all our neighbours? To deflect criticism from its own failed policies our weak Government has come out strongly against Pakistan. Why did it not talk of bombing Bangladesh after the Assam blasts? Does it not know where the camps are or is the life of Assamese of less consequence than life of Mumbaikars? We cannot have different policies for terrorism in different parts of India. Attacking Pakistan now will weaken the civilian government there and further reduce its tenacious hold on its own country. Already because of our verbal attacks and threats the mood among the common Pakistani’s has changed from sympathy for India after the bomb attacks to anger. The Taliban has offered the Pakistani government support in war with India. Is this what we want? To further aggravate Indo – Pak tensions one could also probably see another similar audacious attack very soon. Wounding national pride of any nation will only turn it against India. How would we have reacted if China demanded that we send over our Intelligence Chief for questioning to Peking? Military attacks are the last resort after we have corrected our own mistakes and weaknesses. Instead of looking inwards, our government is trying to deflect the blows it receives to Pakistan. This is not to say that Pakistan is clean and uninvolved, but it is only to say we must improve ourselves first then point fingers at others.
  2. “We need no help” attitude: Terrorism is a global phenomenon and needs to be tackled globally. India should give up its past “we need no help” attitude and accept cooperation from all countries, it trusts and who are willing to help. Since the trails of such acts go across a number of international borders, such a help will not only solve the present crime, but may deter many more. The technology FBI, Scotland Yard and the Israelis will bring in is much more advanced than we have in India and there is nothing to be ashamed about it. Such involvement will also help the world accept India’s arguments in a better way. Whether we like it or not, as of today, India is the only country pointing fingers at Pakistan for complicity in the Mumbai blasts, all other countries including US say it is too early to definitely comment.
  3. Politicians will improve: Gradually this media fuss will die down and everything will be where it was. Politicians do not want anything to improve because their grip over India will wane. Even as they cry themselves hoarse over reforms, the fact is no politician wants to see a world class police force in India, because then the first person behind bars will be the politician himself. They will never relinquish their control over the Intelligence agencies for fear of their dark deeds being exposed. Nepotism, corruption, misuse of official machinery, vote bank politics all harm our country and weaken its foundation and it will not go away. Politicians are never accountable to anyone the five years they are in power.Replacing the Maharashtra Dy CM RR Patil with the Chhagan Bhujbal, notorious for Telgi scam and corruption shows the true face of our Politicians.
  1. Educated people have shown some interest in the way our country is run. India Inc has also started talking about the need for action. Until now politics and the running of our country was left to the politicians. Most of the people who are actively protesting on TV would probably not have been so concerned about things beyond their immediate environment before this incident. How many of them will still be around once the TV crews are gone, remains to be seen. We must realize that politicians are not capable of rising above narrow partisan interests and the Civil Society must step in and call for accountability. The Corporate sector cannot pretend its industries run in a fenced off pieces of land cut off from the realities of India. It is time it lends a hand in the running of India. A question all of us must ponder over is why we did it take us so long to get out of our slumber?
  2. Beyond that I really don’t think anything else will change, except for cosmetic changes which this government will bring about to save its skin. It is sad that Manmohan Singh could not find a person better versed with security than an excellent economist, to be his new Home Minister. Finally, would Shivraj Patil have been sacked if instead of Mumbai the terrorists has attacked Goa and the Lok Sabha Polls were not over the horizon? Frankly, I dont think so.

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From: , India has a huge number of prblmeos and challenges, and I don't think any Indian would disagree with me. The question becomes how the West is going to understand India and its complexities in order to have a harmonious relationship. I have a degree in
, India has a huge number of prblmeos and challenges, and I don't think any Indian would disagree with me. The question becomes how the West is going to understand India and its complexities in order to have a harmonious relationship. I have a degree in South Asian Studies and have been coming to India since 2004, so clearly this is a country and a culture that I hold very dear. I can speak for myself, and possibly for Bronwyn as well, since we both work at NGOs here, and say that India's development and growth is truly important to us, regardless of the personal challenges we must endure.This blog is meant to be humorous and if you don't find it entertaining, you don't have to read it.

From: Dear HilaryI'm a friend of Trekhal's from Kenya. I saw his link to your blog and am up wanitig for my workaholic lawyer boyfriend to return home from work somewhere circa 11pm. So I'm generally just delving into people's personal business on Facebook as a
Dear HilaryI'm a friend of Trekhal's from Kenya. I saw his link to your blog and am up wanitig for my workaholic lawyer boyfriend to return home from work somewhere circa 11pm. So I'm generally just delving into people's personal business on Facebook as a way of keeping myself awake.Its excellent- the blog. I laughed heaps. Two things I can recommend if you don't already know- when you take off your shoes, wash your hands immediately (that's unless you didn't use your hands and just kicked them off) and the salt and water to wash your veg, bleach and water works a treat too. I'd also say before eating anything, or generally putting anything near your mouth, eyes, or noes use that alcohol gel sanitiser. Though I realise given you can't access basic food supplies and may not want to look like a neurotic foreigner this may not be the best suggestion.Also you'll be happy to know I've lived in South Africa, Kenya and Australia and I've never seen eggs that are refridgerated in a store though I keep them in the fridge at home. I also eat eggs that expired 6 months before so maybe I'm not the best egg-pert.Anyway it may be frustrating at times, but I'm sure its all worth it.Take care,Kelly

From: Rohit
Then why can not you join in politician ? If not then what is the use of remark ? It does not mean your thoughts are not good. but your thought can be come into effect only if you have power.

From: Nilakshi
Hi Nitin, Great work. Congratulations!

From: Rakhi
Very well written piece. Somehow our vision these days is limited to Mumbai, as if it can exist in isolation. We must talk to Pakistan instead of attacking 'em.