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India, Pakistan: 66 people killed on the “Peace Train”

66 people were killed on the Samjhauta Express with homemade bombs last night. According to Wikipedia,

The Samjhauta Express is a bi-weekly train — Tuesdays and Fridays — that runs between Delhi and Attari in India and Wagah and Lahore in Pakistan. Until the reopening of the Thar Express, this was the only rail connection between the two countries.

Both Pakistanis and Indian were killed on the train. Some of the initial and early reactions in the blogosphere appear to indicate that bloggers find themselves confused as it was mostly Pakistanis who died, making it difficult to blame Islamic militants. But this terrorist attack comes at a time when Pakistan is already on high alert because of similar attacks recently. All Things Pakistan says

Pakistan has recently seen a spate of bombings in its major cities, and even before this some in government were pointing towards a ‘foreign hand’ in these bombings. Both countries have long played this game of ‘blame the foreign hand’, including in the recent tragic train bombings in Mumbai. The impulse to do so at the first sign of trouble is a natural one in the sub-continent. Given the deep distrust that exists between the two, it may even be understandable. But irrespective of the short-term political gains such finger-pointing might gain, it is not a very useful way to deal with deep tensions.

Some blogs like Pass The Roti are concerned that the investigation process may not be free of bias, and that the death of the passengers will probably be used for political mileage in both countries. Despite the obvious animosity between the governments of the two countries, there are people who have half their family across the border, or have experienced the other country and are worried about the threats to the relations between the countries. Nothing Adds Up says

This is personally distressing also since I was aboard one of the first Samjhota Express trains to run after it was resumed in January 2004, when I visited New Delhi for an Economics Conference in early February 2004. That train ride was one of the highest points of my life, full of hope and excitement, and I hope they don't cut back or cancel it, just ratchet up security.

Meanwhile, Pacific Empire reminds us that we're increasingly numb to acts of terrorism and the death of people.

There was a car bombing in Baghdad that killed more than 60 people today, as well, but I guess the media consider that normal. There were also waves of simultaneous bombings recently in Algeria and Thailand, and a courtroom bombing in Pakistan, not to mention smaller bombings in Afghanistan, St. Petersburg, Mogadishu, Uganda and even an ineffective mortar attack on US forces in Japan. How did we get to the stage where that level of world terrorism is nothing out of the ordinary?

At Retributions, the blogger wonders if Pakistan is being absolved of its responsibility by the media because Pakistani nationals died in the attack.

Even more strangely, CNN-IBN is parroting President Musharraf’s line of India and Pakistan being equal victims of terror-just because a few Pakistani nationals were also killed in the attack. While any loss of life is regrettable, Pakistani role can’t be ignored just because it’s nationals were also killed. Despite proclamations to the contrary, it continues to support anti-India terror organizations.

whatz in my mind outlines the usual outcome of such incidents.

1) VIPS visit the spot.
2) Media will be covering the scenes exclusively. Interviewing survivors/victim's family/politicians.
3) Government/Police suspect X or Y terrorist groups involvement.
4) Opposition blame the government for not being pro-active.
5) A special commission will be formed to investigate the case.

The involvement of Hindu fundamentalist groups isn't ruled out either. At a forum called World Affairs Board, one person writes

From media news, it is clear that it was a planned terror attack. But, interesting thing to note would be if govt explores possibility of hindu terrorism. Considering the fact that majority targetted were pakistanis.

At the Bharat Rakshak Forum (Consortium of Indian Defence Websites), one of the persons writes –

It is important to have some clues as to the composition of the passengers. i.e. were they majority Shia/Ahmediya going back after observing some religious occasion ?? Is there any link to Afghan/Iranian Intelligence, who are determined to attack Pakistan both within and outside their borders ?

One thing that is absolutely sure is that *this is not intended to hurt any so-called peace process* because it gives pak politician and UPA the perfect opportunity to claim *peace process irreversible onlee* slogan…esp UPA since pak civilians have been killed in India. To investigate ‘Company hand’ is mandatory anyways, goes without saying…

4 comments

  • […] The post-attack reactions were predictable. It was an act of terrorism, they all agreed, and intended to derail the India-Pakistan peace process. Last night’s attack on the India-Pakistan ‘Compromise Train’ that killed over 66 passengers—mostly Pakistani—comes just as the Indian government’s weather balloonists have floated their most ambitious one yet. In today’s column in the Indian Express, C Raja Mohan calls upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discard caution and incrementalism for a Grand Act of Statesmanship (GAS). The Pakistani foreign minister will arrive for talks this week, and the two foreign secretaries will have another round of comprehensive discussions soon. Gen Musharraf is up for a ‘re-election’ this year, so he’ll want something to show to those whose approval he needs before he starts another innings. All signs point to a India-Pakistan summit later this year, with something “historic” in the offing. […]

  • It is amazing how some people here are pointing fingers at Pakistan for this, when it might just be a Hindu terrorist outfit which targetted Pakistanis and Muslims.

    Some of us lived through the terror unleashed by RAW, at the behest of KGB, during the 1980s’ Afghan war. I still remember as a child being scared of even going to a railway station for the fear of terrorist bomb blasts…

    So let us all wait before prouncing judgements. My guess is you’ve got to look at extremist Hindu groups for this one.

  • Jason

    It was a sad day for everyone.

    But I don’t know why lot of Muslims are pointing fingers at Hindus.. and saying the attack was by the Hindu terrorists…

    First and for most you cant make any assumptions before the culprits are caught. Usually in Democratic countries you cant make assumptions like that. But I don’t think Pakistani people will understand this since they don’t know WHAT DEMOCRACY is.

    Second rather then blaming Hindus and India. Pakistanis should look at themselves first.They were the creators of TALIBAN AND MUJAHADINS AND Lashkar-e-Toiba.. Who are responsible for most of the terrorist attacks in the world. SO “MAYBE” they are responsible for it.

    Third and for most . India has been the one who has given the first hand towards peace. When the bus service was created by the past Indian government (Atal Bhihari Vajpyee), Pakistani terrorists were planning the Kargil war.

    Forth why would any Hindu or so called Hindu terrorist attack the train, they don’t gain anything from it. Since they really don’t care if there is peace with Pakistan or no peace, they are enjoying there economic boom and modernization. But you see Muslim (Pakistani) terrorist outfits would gain a lot by doing activities like this because they don’t want PEACE WITH India. Thus they would do such a thing to derail the peace process or cause civil unrest in India.
    So to sum it all up. It would not be in the interest of any Hindus or the so called Hindu terrorist to do such a thing since to them it doesn’t make any difference if there is peace with Pakistan or no Peace.

    But EVEN I AM WRONG in making assumption that Pakistani terrorist are responsible for it even though they would gain lot by doing such terrorist act. What I am saying is let the culprits be caught, then people can give their dam opinions, until THEN WE ALL JUST NEED TO SHUT UP and READ news from unbiased news services such as…Reuters.com and bbc.com Plz don’t read CNN.com

    Thank you

  • Dio

    That seems so sad for the people of South Asia. When will people undestand?

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