Archive for November 28th, 2008

INDIAN-AMERICANS CONDEMN THE MUMBAI TERROR ATTACKS AND SEEK EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT ACTION TO STOP TERRORISM

November 28, 2008

INDIAN-AMERICANS CONDEMN THE MUMBAI TERROR ATTACKS AND SEEK EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT ACTION TO STOP TERRORISM

New York – November 28, 2008 – As a broad-based coalition committed to promoting justice, peace and human rights, we denounce in strongest possible terms the dastardly terror attacks in Mumbai and demand that the highest echelons of political decision makers be held accountable for what seems to be widespread and escalating trend of abject failures in protecting precious lives of ordinary citizens and preserving the pluralistic fabric of India.

We express our deepest gratitude to the thousands of security personnel for their courageous and selfless service in fighting these well-planned and coordinated attacks. We are deeply moved by still-emerging stories of the heroism and professionalism of the hotel staff. Our heart goes out to the families of fallen heroes and the civilian victims. We also note with a sense of great pride and satisfaction, that Indian citizens have by and large maintained harmony, understanding and resolve in the face of successive acts of terrorism, thereby foiling the perpetrators’ principal objective. We have no doubt that it is this unique strength of ordinary people which keeps India resilient, vibrant and united in the face of mounting internal and external challenges. We call upon all political forces in India to build upon this unique character rather than fomenting divisive agenda for short term gains.

We are alarmed by the reports of foreign groups being involved in the attacks. We urge the government of India to identify these foreign groups and to reassure the nation that such threats are being dealt in an effective manner.

Recent years have witnessed an alarming growth in the number of groups committing highly orchestrated acts of violence against innocent civilians. As evident from this still unfolding tragedy, a coordinated and open attack on this scale by a relatively handful of people completely paralyzing a city like Mumbai points to major and multiple break downs across the internal and external intelligence agencies, center-state coordination on law and order as well as political-bureaucratic-civil society continuum.

As non resident Indians, we note how India has come to be recognized as a rising power as a result of successive recent governments assiduously pursuing and successfully accomplishing projects to advance the country’s profile on the international stage. However, we also note with dismay and frustration that similar single minded focus and resolve seems to be lacking in successive governments, when it comes to ensuring the life, liberty and livelihood of ordinary citizens. We therefore call upon leaders across political spectrum towards a renewed sense of single minded focus on this very fundamental and basic purpose of government.

While acknowledging the complexity of the situation and concerned about frequent terrorist attacks in recent months, we feel nevertheless compelled to request Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh to make much needed changes in the senior ranks of the government officials and the government apparatus to ensure that the citizens and institutions of India are fully protected from acts of terrorism.

COALITION AGAINST GENOCIDE- A Coalition of Concerned Indian-Americans

http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org/

Points of Contact:
Gautam Desai [urvigautam@hotmail.com]
George Abraham [georgeabraham2003@yahoo.com]
Kaleem Kawaja [kaleemkawaja@hotmail.com]

Endorsing Organizations:
Aligarh Alumni Association, Washington, DC
American Muslim Physicians of Indian Origin (AMPI)
Association of Indian Muslims in America (AIM), Washington DC
Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (CSFH) –www.stopfundinghate.org
Friends of South Asia (FOSA), San Jose, California (www.friendsofsoutha sia.org)
Gujarati Muslim Association of America (GMAA), Chicago, IL
India Foundation, Michigan
Indian Minorities Advocacy Network (ImanNet), New York
Indian Muslim Council (IMC), Morton Grove, Illinois (www.imc-usa. org)
Indian Muslim Education Foundation (IMEFNA), North America
International Service Society, Michigan
Muslim Youth Awareness Alliance (MYAA), Michigan
Non-Resident Indians for a Secular and Harmonious India (NRI-SAHI), Michigan
Sikh American Heritage Organization, Wayne, Illinois
South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), Greater Vancouver, Canada (sansad.org)
Supporters of Human Rights in India (SHRI)
The Coalition for a Secular Democratic India (CSDI), Chicago. Illinois
Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment, Michigan

Personal Endorsements:
George Abraham
Habeb Ahmed
Dr. Syed S. Ahmed
Dr. Waheeduddin Ahmed
Girish Agrawal
Rasheed Ahmed
Shahid Ali, M.D.
Khalid Azam
Dr. Chinmoy Banerjee
Dr. Angana Chatterji
Nasir Chippa
Gautam Desai
Shalini Gera
Sapna Gupta
Imtiazuddin
Kaleem Kawaja
Attaulla Khan
Dr. Fazal Khan
Dr. Hyder Khan
Dr. Shahid Ali Khan
Wasim Khan, MD, MPH
Alex V. Koshy
Dr. Kursheed A. Mallick
Ghulam Mansuri
Biju Mathew
Saeed Patel
Shrikumar Poddar
Syed Azmatullah Quadri
Raju Rajagopal
Ravi Ravishankar
Dr. Shaik Sayeed
Dr. Hari Sharma
Ramkumar Sridharan
Raja Swamy
Dr. Shaik Ubaid
Firoz Vohra

Advertisements

EDITORIALS FROM SOME OF MUMBAI’S ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS

November 28, 2008

EDITORIALS FROM SOME OF MUMBAI’S ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opinion/Editorial/EDITORIAL_COMMENT__Its_War/articleshow/3766472.cms

EDITORIAL COMMENT | It’s War
28 Nov 2008, 0000 hrs IST

This nation is under attack. The scale, intensity and level of orchestration of terror attacks in Mumbai put one thing beyond doubt: India is effectively at war and it has deadly enemies in its midst. Ten places in south Mumbai were struck in quick succession.

As in the case of the demolition of New York’s World Trade Center in 2001, Mumbai’s iconic monuments such as the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Oberoi Trident and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus have come under attack. The number of people killed in multiple attacks is 101 and counting, which includes foreigners and senior policemen. At least 300 have been injured.

The terrorists who carried out the attacks are well supplied, armed to the teeth and extremely well motivated. The question now is whether the nation can show any serious degree of resolve and coordination in confronting terror. This war can be won, but it will require something from the political class, from security forces and from ordinary people. It’s time now to move beyond pointing fingers at one another or resorting to cliches such as ‘resilient Mumbai’. It’s also time to end the habit of basing one’s stand on terrorism on the particular religious affiliation of terrorists, criticising or exonerating them using their religion a point of reference. Terrorists have no religion. Political bickering on this issue is divisive; what India needs now is unity.

While Mumbai also witnessed multiple attacks which brought the city to a halt in 1993, this one is different in two respects. One, it is unfolding in slow motion with the world media as witness, which makes for maximum psychological impact. Two, foreigners have specifically been targeted. Sites frequented by them have been chosen for attack and Britons, Americans and Israelis appear to have been singled out.

This kind of attack on India’s financial capital is intended to send the message that India isn’t a safe place to do business. The Indian economy and its links with the world are under attack. On the plus side, there have been unprecedented outpourings of sympathy and offers of cooperation from world governments. All the more reason to make the attacks on Mumbai a transformative moment. There has been talk of beefing up India’s poor infrastructure. Security must now be seen as an essential element of infrastructure, as vital as power, water or transport.

Both L K Advani and Rajnath Singh have said it’s time to rise above politics, which is welcome. An announced joint visit to Mumbai by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and leader of the opposition Advani would send a signal of political unity. Beyond that the PM, in consultation with senior opposition leaders, must draw up a consensus plan about how to deal with contingency situations as well as upgrade India’s security culture.

A host of institutions have been built since the 1980s when India first encountered terrorism. New agencies, special cells and commando units have come up since then. But how well do we run them, how well resourced are they and is there proper coordination among them to maximise and collate information? According to the home ministry, terrorists sneaked in from the Arabian Sea. They may have sailed past the naval headquarters to blast their way into the city. However, it took a while before the National Security Guards and naval commandos in the city were pressed into action. What explains such delay? Was it a multiplicity of commands or plain bureaucratic lethargy? The point is even in circumstances when personnel and infrastructure are available, planning and execution are shockingly poor.

Constitutional experts must put their hands together to see whether under existing laws any special, but temporary, powers can be given to the security agencies. All major political parties should be taken into confidence to see what urgent steps can be taken to prevent the nation from sinking deeper into chaos. There is a pressing need to restructure India’s security architecture. A federal agency to deal with terrorism has been suggested by this newspaper and now by the PM. A coordinated effort to process information gleaned by state and central agencies should help to transform randomly collected information into actionable intelligence.

The government should immediately work on an internal security doctrine that demarcates the role of various security wings and a clear command structure to deal with terrorism. This should include contingency plans for various scenarios which lay out in advance how to respond to them. Tougher laws, in consultation with the opposition, may also be needed to control terror.

It’s incumbent on all chief ministers to remain on alert and maintain calm in their states. Unnecessary repercussions from the Mumbai incidents need to be avoided at all costs. Election campaigning needs to be kept at a minimum to avoid stretching security too thin. The political class must ensure that communalism of all varieties is kept out of politics.

Besides terrorists coming in from the Arabian Sea, their looking for Americans, Britons and Israelis give the signal that the attack on Mumbai is a spillover from the larger war on terror. Al-Qaeda is, for the first time, feeling the pressure in its Pakistani sanctuaries as it is under Pakistani and American attack. But South Asian borders are notoriously porous. Al-Qaeda affiliated organisations such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) have struck deep roots in Bangladesh.

To tackle terror in India it is urgently necessary to stabilise Pakistan and Bangladesh. And, India should seek international help now to upgrade its own security apparatus, but also to stabilise the entire region stretching from Afghanistan to Bangladesh. There is no time to waste.

————————————————————————–

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opinion/Editorial/TOP_ARTICLE__Neighbours_Create_Trouble/articleshow/3766468.cms

TOP ARTICLE | Neighbours Create Trouble

28 Nov 2008, 0000 hrs IST,

K SUBRAHMANYAM

Mumbai has experienced terror attacks earlier. In March 1993, simultaneous attacks on a number of targets resulted in over 270 fatal casualties.

Their origin was traced to Dawood Ibrahim and his associates who were based in Karachi. The multiple bomb blasts on Mumbai trains killed 200 people in July 2005.

Once again the investigations led to a link between those who carried out the blasts and Pakistan. The present batch of terrorists is reported to have landed close to the Gateway of India in rubber dinghies. The equipment, training and sophistication of their planning and the identity of a suspect arrested in Chowpatty would tend to indicate a Pakistani link.

Unlike in previous attacks when the casualties were all Indians, this time there are foreigners among the dead. There are also reports that the terrorists were particularly interested in US, UK and Israeli passport holders.

While an organisation called ‘Deccan Mujahideen’ has claimed responsibility the Indian agencies do not consider this a genuine claim; they feel that this is a Pakistani jihadi operation.

Since a few terrorists have been captured, their identities would surely be revealed in the next few days. The Mumbai police believe that the sophistication and skill of the terrorists would tend to indicate that they were not locals. It appears that a mother ship had dropped dinghies close to Mumbai. The Indian Navy has intercepted a vessel from Pakistan believed to have been the mother ship. Though in the 1993 operations the explosives came via sea the people who placed the explosives were from Mumbai. In this case, the terrorists landed on the Mumbai waterfront. Though sea-based terrorist attacks have been talked about, presumably those in charge had not paid adequate attention to it.

The counterterrorism efforts in India are fragmented among the state and central agencies. Efforts to have an integrated central agency to deal with terrorism have so far been thwarted by political parties who tend to place their own parochial interests higher than national interests. In the US, where they had a number of federal agencies dealing with different aspects of intelligence in the wake of 9/11 they found that there was inadequate coordination among them.

Hence, there was a failure to assess the 9/11 threat though there were bits of information. Subsequently, a new post of director of national intelligence was created to supervise and coordinate all intelligence agencies. In the biggest bureaucratic reshuffle in US history the department of homeland security was also created with bipartisan support. The terrorist threat India faces is far more severe than the one faced by the US separated from Europe and Asia by two oceans and having friendly neighbours in Mexico and Canada.

India has three unfriendly porous borders and nearly three decades of terrorism and proxy war directed against it. Yet our political parties are not sensitive enough to appreciate the need for intelligence coordination and an integrated internal security structure. Recently the Pakistani government stripped the ISI of its responsibility for political intelligence. Pakistan had to seek a multi-billion-dollar loan package from the IMF and the loan has been sanctioned with conditionalities.

Many in Pakistan have openly resented president-elect Barack Obama’s friendliness towards India. The recent friendly remarks of Pakistani president Asif Zardari towards India have also not found approval among sections of the Pakistani establishment. A section of the Pakistani establishment and the ISI have been attempting to bleed India through a thousand cuts.

The ISI was known to create problems for its own government to advance its interests. Therefore, the possibility of rogue elements in ISI and jihadi elements in Pakistan conspiring to create tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad cannot be ruled out. This would keep ISI’s pre-eminence in Pakistan’s India policy and help it to argue with Washington that increased tension with India rules out Islamabad playing a more effective role on its western front.

The terror attack on Mumbai was aimed at hitting tourist traffic and its commercial relations with the US and other developed countries. It was also intended to club India with the Crusaders (the US and the West) and Zionists (the Israelis). This may look like an act of desperation by the jihadis and their friends in the ISI and Pakistani establishment. In a sense, the jihadis may be attempting to bring the clash of civilisations thesis to its denouement. One should not forget the original ‘clash of civilisations’ thesis was the two-nation theory which the Indian Muslims repudiated by choosing to stay on in India.

The present acts of terrorism is an attempt by the advocates of this thesis to create tension between the two communities in this country. Till now the US and other western nations were not adequately sensitive to terrorism perpetrated against India. This was partly because the casualties were all Indians. This time it is different.

While all evidence points to the involvement of Pakistani elements in the terror acts, New Delhi should at the same time be careful not to walk into the trap of creating major Indo-Pakistan tensions as a new president takes over in Washington and with India facing a general election in the next few months. The country expects the two national parties to get together to formulate a joint strategy to thwart the jihadi attempt to create a ‘clash of civilisations’ in this country.

The writer is a Delhi-based strategic affairs analyst.

—————————————————————————-
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Opinion/Mumbai_paradigm_of_terror/articleshow/3766983.cms

Mumbai paradigm of terror

28 Nov 2008, 0101 hrs IST, ET Bureau

EDITORIAL

Even for a country distressingly familiar with terrorist outrages, the multiple attacks in Mumbai herald a new low. The sheer audacity and scale of the attacks, the spectacle of young men armed to the teeth with machine guns and grenades roaming on the streets of India’s financial capital, bring home the fact that terrorism has attained a new sophistication and organisational ability.

To talk of an intelligence failure is almost a truism, yet given that such a large group of men could physically launch attacks on multiple high-profile targets, eschewing the recent pattern of engineering blasts, is a clear sign of an abysmal deficiency in our intelligence-gathering capabilities.

To combat such a new level of terrorism, it is imperative the contours of the extant anti-terror paradigm change. Terror has simply been politicised, with parties using it as yet another electoral plank. The scale of this latest outrage demonstrates the pitfalls of a divisive polity squabbling over instrumentalities.

The need of the hour, and the future, is for political parties to break with past patterns and evolve a clear consensus on how to prevent the recurrence of such heinous attacks. In this context, it is heartening to see that there is some sort of communication between Manmohan Singh and L K Advani.

To ensure a better security culture, and the involvement of every citizen in contributing to it, is also a matter of shaping a thoroughly neutral investigative apparatus. The issue of abysmal intelligence gathering also has to do with the perception of investigative agencies as being partisan.

This has also led to severing of links between effective policing and intelligence gathering and various communities and groups. The prime minister has in the past spoken on the need for wider police reforms, and we could not agree more.

The wider aspect of such reform, however, should also be to address the rifts within civil society at large. The spectacle of young men engaged in such brutally invasive terrorist acts, with no thought whatsoever as to concealing their identities also posits that idea of a collapsed civil society.

And beyond measures such as preparedness and response, the extremism that feeds such fanatical acts needs to be addressed in the wider socio-political arena. That is, without doubt, and as various nations around the world have discovered, the best kind of pre-emptive measure.

That said, installing effective anti-terror mechanisms are also a matter of intra-state and international cooperation. While domestically measures such as institutionalising state coordination among investigative agencies would be imperative, India should now press hard for greater intelligence sharing within the region.

These latest attacks have also demonstrated a new level in the terrorists’ capabilities. The organisational and logistical abilities they have displayed are staggering. Both in the kind of targets chosen, the scale of the destruction and bloodbath, as well as the fact that for the first time, western nationals were sought to be targeted for greater international impact, point to a sharp escalation in terrorist ambitions.

And even the response and management capabilities of the state have been shown to be glaringly low. That such an immense attack, almost akin to a mini-invasion, should have happened in Mumbai, home to one of the more respected police forces in India only underlines that fact.

Another aspect of terrorism relates to how security forces are able respond in a situation where hostages are taken by terrorists. The past 36 hours have shown that the police is not equipped to handle such complex situations.

The National Security Guards (NSG), where commandos are drawn from the army, has the wherewithal to do so. But the NSG has limited numbers and is a national-level organisation. Wednesday’s incident has indicated the need to have NSG-like outfits at the state level so that they can move more swiftly into action when the need arises. The NSG is trained specifically for such situations.

And it would be a good idea to create state-level NSG-like modules, which are ready to act swiftly when such incidents occur.

———————————————————————

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/our-nightmare-our-wakeup-call/391644/

Our nightmare, our wake-up call

Shekhar Gupta

Posted: Nov 28, 2008 at 1038 hrs IST

How does a democracy of billion-plus people respond when a few madmen tear the heart out of its financial capital and shatter its soul? The question has to be asked because it is only adversity of such staggering magnitude that shakes up slumbering, old civilizations to turn it into an opportunity. It is time, therefore, to close rank, unite, focus on the greatest threat of our generation, perpetrators of which have benefited from the fuzziness that partisan politics can bring to most issues in a democracy. Posterity will record this as India’s 9/11. But are we now stirred enough to also respond to it with the equanimity with which the other democracy recovered, and has protected its people in the seven years that followed?
Nothing can guarantee that a small suicide squad will not infiltrate one of our cities and cause mayhem. But a policy of genuine, non-partisan zero-tolerance towards Terror of all kinds would have made the task of such conspirators much tougher. In this case, it seems to have been rather too easy. Sadly, our woolly-headed response to terror over the past five years was not caused so much by any fundamental differences in the way the two national parties look at it, nor because we have had so brilliant a Home Minister that he can tell live, realtime TV, which presumably the terrorists could be watching inside the hotels, that “200 NSG commandos” had left Delhi “at 1.15 (am)” and should be on the job in a few hours. It was caused by five years of surreal politics, rooted in psephology rather than ideology, that communalised our responses to terror in a manner that no other democracy allowed since 9/11. Both sides, the UPA and the NDA, were equally guilty, so while one railed endlessly against “jehadi” terror, the other searched for “root causes” of terrorism. Similarly, when a module of alleged radical Hindu bombers was busted, one side was smiling that vicious, non-stop “Gotcha” smile in TV studios, while the other was questioning the motives of the ATS, and demanding the sack of its brilliant and intrepid chief. At least in his death now Hemant Karkare would have achieved what he could not when alive, to have Congress and the BJP shed a tear for him. Together.

That is the key word: together.

Time had come a long time ago to depoliticise our response to terror just…

——————————————–

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=ViewsSectionPage&id=57f8f8cb-7f49-4bbf-a2f6-faef3d67ac79&MatchID1=4858&TeamID1=1&TeamID2=5&MatchType1=1&SeriesID1=1224&MatchID2=4862&TeamID3=9&TeamID4=8&MatchType2=2&SeriesID2=1225&PrimaryID=4858&Headline=A+nation+that+cannot+afford+to+sleep

Fri,28 Nov 2008

A nation that cannot afford to sleep

Hindustan Times
November 27, 2008

India is under attack. And along with it, the idea of India is under attack.

When a city like Mumbai is held hostage by marauding terrorists, with its citizens forced to cower in fear under a fog of utter helplessness, any notion that the country is secure ― or will be able to re-establish its sense of security quickly and effectively ― becomes a fanciful thought. This country has had its fair share of experiences with terrorism. One would have thought that our governments, law and order machinery and political establishment would be prepared to tackle and disarm these noxious forces. But the tragedy that continues to unfold in India’s most vibrant, cosmopolitan city has exposed the terrible unpreparedness ― and dare we say unwillingness ― to fight terrorism on a war footing.

The attacks that have crippled life in Mumbai, stunned the nation and the world have also woken up many people from the reverie that saw India as a safe house in a dangerous neighbourhood. Terrorism in the Indian mainland, either perceived as a localised menace or one coming from ‘across the border’, has linked itself to a global phenomenon overnight. If there was any further confirmation needed regarding the borderless nature of terror, India has got it the hard way. Regardless of the nomenclature, the Deccan Mujahideen carries all the hallmarks of the genre of terrorist networks that go under the name of al-Qaeda. This is 21st century terrorism reaching the shores of our country.

Unfortunately, Indian counter-terrorism is still in 20th century gear. Intelligence collection and intelligence coordination are two processes lying at the core of the contemporary war against terror, whether in the United States, Israel, Britain or any other targeted country. India needs to understand that and understand it quickly. It also needs to implement stringent anti-terror-laws. Without these in place, India will still be fighting a contemporary war anachronistically. A department of homeland security is still shockingly a non-concept here. And to add to the general sense of flailing about is the spanner of politics. After September 11, 2001, America came together to fight a common, shape-shifting enemy. Can we as a nation that has known terrorism for far longer ― and with far more wounds to show ― come together to face this nation-crippling assault?

The days ahead will show whether we will be able to survive ‘effortless’ terrorist attacks. It will also show whether we can save the idea of India and the way we live our lives. Playing the headless chicken is no longer an option.

ALERT SECURITY STAFF SAVE THE DAY AT TOI – Mumbai – Economic Times

November 28, 2008

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/PoliticsNation/Alert_security_staff_save_the_day_at_TOI/articleshow/3767602.cms

Alert security staff save the day at TOI

28 Nov 2008, 0653 hrs IST, ET Bureau

The Old Lady Of Boribunder had a narrow escape. On Wednesday night, when horror was playing out in the streets of Mumbai, the iconic Times Of India Building was under serious threat. It was the sheer presence of mind and alacrity of the building’s security staff that saved the day for the Lady.

Danger literally came knocking at the Times’ door when two heavily armed terrorists tried to locate the entrance of this over 150-year-old structure at some time past 11 pm on Wednesday. But by then the security staff at the main gate, facing Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), had pulled down the shutters. Unable to find the entrance of the building, the terrorists walked past the facade of the building.

The chief security officer of the Times Building, PA Vergis, said between 200 to 250 employees , mostly editorial staff, were inside the building at that hour (around 10 pm) when terror came within sniffing distance. “It took a fraction of a second for us to realise the danger.

We used common sense and closed all entry points to the building,” he said. “One shudders to imagine what could have happened if even one of those terrorists had managed to enter the building,” deputy security manager JR Joshi said.

When all hell was breaking loose on Wednesday night, there were three security officers on the night shift and 10 guards. There was also an element of providence here -the security staff manning the Times building do not have guns. So, if the terrorists had barged in, the security staff could hardly have done anything.

“That’s why we decided to use our resources well. We pulled the shutters down, and asked all the employees to wait inside. All this made it difficult for the terrorists to locate the gates,” Mr Vergis added.

The Times Of India building has three entry gates – the main gate for the employees, the time-keeper’s gate, and a third gate for goods and materials. The time-keeper’s gate usually closes at 9.00 pm but the main one remains open till late.

“At around 9.50, we heard gunshots at CST and sensed some kind of danger. This building had always been on the radar of terrorists and something real was happening out there,” said Mr Joshi. Sensing the threat perception to this building, the Mumbai Police have already provided security. “The Mumbai Police have reviewed our security arrangements and appreciated it,” Mr Vergis added.

Once was Mumbai – By Kumar Ketkar

November 28, 2008

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/once-was-mumbai/391603/

Indian Express > Op-Ed >

Once was Mumbai

Posted: Nov 28, 2008 at 0115 hrs IST

By Kumar Ketkar

: Even otherwise, the city of Mumbai is explosive. But every time there is a terrorist attack, the metropolis is gripped by a kind of fear psychosis. The attack on “A Wednesday” (what a morbid coincidence!), proved yet again that the so-called “courageous” and “resilient” Mumbaikar is rapidly getting used to mayhem and murder. That is not a reflection of courage or of collective sanity, but of the desensitisation of the mass mind.

That the terrorist attack took place just when the media was full of stories of “saffron terrorism” may be a coincidence, but the killing of Hemant Karkare, the chief of the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), gives the event an anti-climactic turn. The Sangh Parivar and the Shiv Sena had gone to town for almost a month, aggressively campaigning against the ATS and virtually running a propaganda drive to condemn Karkare as an anti-Hindu and anti-national officer. Karkare was known for his upright character and courage, as well as for his patriotism. With his long experience in RAW, he strongly believed that terrorism has no colour and creed. He worked tirelessly, and arrested those who were engaged in terrorist acts, irrespective of faith. As long as the suspects arrested were Muslims, he received applause. But the moment he caught extremist Hindus, and collected evidence against them, he became a villain in the eyes of the Sangh Parivar and the Sena.

Now that he has lost his life fighting the terrorists — who are believed to be part of the global Taliban-ISI-Al Qaeda network — the sinister campaign against him has turned on its head.

Karkare had monitored international terrorist operations and splits, as well as “splits within splits” in the ISI, and was following the threads of the groups who were also working against the Pakistani state. The tragedy is that along with him, two other brave very senior police officers, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar, have also been killed by the terrorists. Intellectuals, talking heads and the media will now routinely condemn the state and central governments for failure in gathering intelligence and not having a “disaster management plan”. But the fact is the city of Mumbai has gone beyond any disaster management plan. This is because disaster is a way of life in this vast, totally disconnected and uncontrollably grown metropolis, where there are a crore and a half people, but no social and community life. That is why…