Monday, 1 December 2008

Terrorists call shots again

Terrorists call shots again
Dr Shabir Choudhry 27 Nov. 08

Mumbai is under attack once again. The terror attack is so devastating that it is called India’s 9/11. The attack shows very careful planning and military style execution with sophisticated weapons and grenades. They chose many targets in centre of Mumbai and aim was to cause maximum damage to people, property and paralyse nerve centre of India’s economy.

The fight to flush out these terrorists is still going on. It is believed that more than hundred people have lost their lives and more than two hundred are injured, among them some Western citizens. It is too early to say who is behind this shameful act, but a claim in name of hitherto unknown Daccan Mujahideens has been made. But later on they were called as Indian Mujahideen.

Some even suggest that Somali pirates could be responsible for this. A top Indian naval official has said that he ‘would not rule out the role of Somali pirates in the terror strikes in Mumbai in view of the recent action by the (Indian) Navy against the sea bandits in the Gulf of Aden’. When asked whether there can be any connection between the pirates and the attacks in Mumbai, Vice Admiral Sunil K Damle, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, said ‘such a thing cannot be ruled out’.

Some people are clearly saying that there was outside hand in this incident. One commentator said, ‘These Islamic terrorist crossed all barriers of being human… These senseless Islamic terrorist have only succeeded in butchering their own youth and offering local governments a handle a reign of terror against our innocent Indian Muslim and Hindu populations’.

Some others, especially Pakistani experts point finger of blame on India’s home grown right wing extremists of BJP, RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh), Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). In opinion of these people ‘Hindu terrorists’ have committed this crime that Muslim extremists (organisations like SIMI) are blamed for it resulting in crackdown on Muslims in India, as was done after 9/11 in the USA and elsewhere.

In order to support their contention they give example of recently discovered Hindutva extremist network of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, her accomplices Shyam Banwarilal Sahu, Shivnarayan Singh Kalsangar, Sameer Kulkarni and Ramesh Upadhyay. It is claimed that these Hindutva militants are linked to some bomb blasts for which Muslim extremists were initially blamed. On this issue, Andrew Buncombe wrote on 23 November 2008 that for bomb blasts police usually blame:

‘Muslim extremists’, and link them to militant groups based in either in Pakistan or Bangladesh. As a result, the recent cracking of the alleged Hindu cell has forced India to face some difficult issues. A country that prides itself on purported religious and cultural toleration – an ambition that in reality often falls short – has been made to ask itself how this cell could operate for so long. India's military, which prides itself on its professionalism, has been forced to order an embarrassing inquiry’.

Some are even linking it with the problems if Jammu and Kashmir, as some unconfirmed reports have suggested that the terrorists have condemned Indian actions in Jammu and Kashmir and spoke in Urdu. But Urdu is spoken by many other people who could be behind this terrorism, and this rumour is spread to ‘defame Kashmiri cause’.

However at this stage it will be difficult to say with certainty who these terrorists are, but surely they have caused havoc in Mumbai causing death, destruction and chaos; and created more difficulties for Muslims in India and elsewhere. In my opinion these terrorists are not friends or well wishers of India or Muslims; and it would not be prudent to suggest any names because of repercussions against Muslims and other groups.

Terrorists selected their targets carefully to cause maximum damage. Among the targets were top class hotels of Mumbai which are favourite spot for tourists Sajjad Karim Member European Parliament who was part of the British delegation was also staying in the Taj Mahal Palace hotel when the terrorists began firing. Sajjad Karim said, "I was in the lobby of the hotel when gunmen came in and people started running. A gunman just stood there spraying bullets around, right next to me. I managed to turn away and I ran into the hotel kitchen and then we were shunted into the

It is believed that these hotels were targeted because of their high status and Western visitors, who could have been potential hostages. Alex Chamberlain, who was there on a business trip, told Sky News that he believed the gunmen were looking for British and American visitors. He said: "They told everybody to stop and put their hands up and asked if there were any British or Americans. My friend said to me, 'Don't be a hero, don't say you are British'."

It is because of this some, analysts think they could have Muslim connection because they wanted to target the British and the Americans; and it could be due to the British and the USA role in the war against terrorism. Some think these extremists dislike Western values and either out of hatred or envy attack these targets.

The British High Commissioner in India Sir Richard Stagg said: "that while India had significant experience of terrorism, it had not suffered attacks of this nature before. Clearly there has been a massive and carefully planned operation which has, to a degree at least, changed the way in which terrorism has been operated in India and it will make everybody here reflect on how best to deal with this scourge,"

Some senior Indian analysts and officials are suggesting that there is a foreign hand in these acts of terrorism, and that they will give appropriate reply. In their view this kind of coordination and sophistication could not be managed by individual groups. But important question is reply to whom? Some suggest that India and Pakistan are forging closer links which include their cooperation to fight terrorism; and that is not to the liking of some militant groups in Pakistan.

Moreover President Zardari’s policy on Kashmir and India is strongly opposed within the state apparatus, especially in certain quarters of elite secret agency. In other words the government is pushing things in one direction and these masters of terrorism are pushing it in the other direction or throwing a spanner. Latest reports suggest that police found a mobile phone believed to be belonging to terrorists, which received phone calls from Pakistan. But the sim card of the phone is not Pakistani, and is probably an American or Euopean, and that information, if true, changes the direction of investigations.

It should now be clear to all concerned - even to those who promoted it in the past - that terrorists have no religion; and that they are enemies of humanity who must be defeated. A coordinated effort must be made to counter and eliminate scourge of terrorism.

However I can visualise more and very serious trouble in the early part of next year, and battleground could be areas adjacent to Afghanistan. This battle will be a turning point in the politics and history of the region with death toll surpassing tens of thousands.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:

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1 comment:

Neerja said...

I think you are the first Pakistani who is talking so truthfully. Though we have many good pakistani friends in US but when the time comes for a good judgement they had shown that they are still thinking very radically!And can't think prgressively!

Neerja, CA