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Mumbai and Terror: The Day After

An attack of this scale has surprised the entire country. While India is no stranger to bomb blasts and attacks by terrorists, a prolonged hostage situation at prominent landmarks is a complete surprise. The last hostage situation that was covered this extensively was the hijacking of a flight in 1999.

At Mumbai Metblogs, ideasmith rounds up the events of a day and more.

Later this morning, there was a sudden buzz that a fresh round of firing had opened at C.S.T. station and that hostages had been taken. This turned out to be a false rumour. Apparantly someone had heard some noise that sounded to them like gunfire and panicked.

Just ten minutes back, I heard what sounded like a blast. I jumped but I ignored it. Two minutes later it was followed by another one. I looked up to see if anyone else had heard it. Apparantly no one else had. I was just debating whether to go back to my desk (in one corner of the office so I could have been the only one to hear it, being closest) or tell someone (and risk starting another panic wave). Upstairs someone else had heard it too and called us to check it out. We raced to the terrace, hearts thundering. It turned out to be nothing more than the daily workers going about their deed at the construction site next door. Whhhewwwww.

On Twitter, prempanicker is providing constant updates. In a sense, it captures the high levels of confusion. Every two hours, there is a an announcement of sorts that things are under control, but right after, more gunbattle and blasts are reported.

Prem Twitter

code clicks n caffeine posts photographs from the last two days – taken by various people and from various sources. John P Matthew has been liveblogging the events in Mumbai, with reflections on people's reactions and the media's coverage.

At the office where I am there are excited voices, raised in concern, about attacks at VT station through which I have to pass. Somebody says that in the lane downstairs terrorists were firing indiscriminately. There's panic in the building and a colleague is spreading more terror with his uncontrolled blurting of what little he knows. He gets too excited unnecessarily.

Kunal at Live's Short Live it Up has been liveblogging relentlessly as well –

# GPS Satellite phones found on terrorists. Another phone with foreign SIM card found near Taj hotel
# Terrorists hijacked fishing boards
# All Terrorists in Taj hotel have been Eliminated! [23:25]
# NSG sources say one injured terrorist still holed up at Taj hotel
# More hostages rescued from Nariman House. 15-17 people are out of Nariman house now
# 25 blasts at Taj hotel in last 24 hours
# Fresh round of firing from Taj hotel’s far end

As is obvious, confusion appears to reign supreme, and there's very little clarity on the status of the terrorists and hostage situation.

30 comments

  • NTK

    One thing that stands out in this crisis is: Utter Lack of Co-ordination:

    We all understand that flushing out terrorists from these builds involves complex and difficult military maneuvers. Surprise and shock is the key. We all have heard of “shock and awe”. Delivering this “shock and awe” needs precise co-ordination, which the terrorists seem to have mastered.

    Let us take a step back. Handling this entire operation involves several arms of law enforcement and humanitarian agencies:
    1. Police
    2. Special action forces
    3. Firefighters
    4. Hospitals.
    5. Media wings

    Co-ordination between these arms is very important for the whole operation to succeed. Terrorists had been successful because of their excellent co-ordination.
    Having watched the events for the past 3 days, i do not see any sort of co-ordination between these agencies.
    Looks like this whole operation does not have any central authority who is fully responsible for issuing commands to these agencies.

    Handling the media is very tricky. They are always prying for information. In this case, everybody ranging from Home minister, chief minister, state ministers, police chief, NSG chief, army general is issuing statements of his/her own to the media agencies. Most of the times these statements are conflicting. Even at the very end of the operation, NSG chief says the operation in Taj is still on, when the police chief says the operation is over. Where in the world have we seen before a commando wearing mask giving interviews to the media?

  • Rene

    It is finally over! The Taj hotel is safe! I salute the NSG! I also salute my Muslim countryment! There has been so much speculation in the international media that Indian Muslims have been involved in some way in this attack. It is out – all the terrorists are Pakistanis! Also all the comments about the way the operations were held by the NSG! Just shut up! You are not an expert on such operations! This has always been our favouriter pastime – armchair expert comments – whether it is cricket and now commando operations. The terrorists wanted to destroy the Taj and they were not successful. The NSG, the marine commandos has saved this symbol of our prosperity. We are the best! Today we can rest because we have the best military and commandos in the country. We managed to secure our country without any outside help. What are going to do to Pakistan? We do not want to go through this again.

  • Rene

    There has been a lot of criticism about the way the media has covered this incident. But today I feel that what was done was the best thing. Today people in India have seen the operations unfolding in front of them. They have seen the effort which went into ensuring that the Taj is safe. I agree that ideally it is not right to do this in the interests of safety. However now it appears that this had not happened we would never know how much effort had gone into this. All the people who criticised the lack of planning, co-ordination etc should now sit in a quiet corner and take a resolution that in future they will not make comments about areas in which they have no expertise.

  • vikram

    As the operation cyclone comes to an end, and the blame game towards the politicians begin, the big question is will the common man wake up and take charge? The major root cause is the humungous lack of strong ownership towards our country and its citizens. Instead of ancient art colonizing of marathi manoos and thereby garnering votes, if the efforts are focused on uniting Indias to have a revolution towards oness and betterment, India will atleast start to improve. Whoever the perpetrators are, it is the govt who is to be blamed for its lackadaisical attitude towards the blast and the terrorism. I salute the brave Indian soldiers who layed thier life for me and India.

  • Lakshmi

    I read Ahmed’s and others comments. I dont agree with Ahmed nor Axe. Ahmed should understand that though all Pakistanis are not terrorists, they are home to some of the elite schools of terrorism, brain washing young boys and girls to think anti western or anti muslim or anti human being even. Axe, blowing up the whole of NW region will not solve the problem. They are everywhere, like in Hindu mythology – rakthabeej. Every drop of blood turns into another monster working from England or US.
    I would openly say that there are foreign interests in this recent event, where the sole aim was to destabilize the region. The idea is not to let Pakistan or India join hands to make a peaceful Asian superpower perhaps? So these innocent boys are trained and told to be ‘fidayeen’ for the sake of religion to serve the purpose of the political leaders who would directly benefit from this mayhem.
    Sadly, we are the losers in all this, losing lives, loved ones, peace of mind etc. while people who perpetuated all this, sit in their cozy homes watching and laughing.
    Just a word to the so called terrorists – GOD will never forgive your acts – no matter what you are told that this would achieve. Attacking mankind is not vested by God and you are going to rot in hell forever.

  • Ahmed

    Why every Indian is ignoring the fact of existence of HINDU extremists in the form of shiv sena, bajrang dal etc. who were actually behind Melagaon blasts, samjhota express blasts etc. etc. All of their links were going to be exposed when they did it and diverted the flood back to Pakistan…. thanks for your so-called honesty Indians but no thanks… Pak is already troubled with terrorism, bomb blasts are taking place every day in Pakistan, thousands of people have died in them…..

  • Thank our creator the situation at the Taj is over.Thank you to all the commandos, military and Israeli forces for taking a stand against these bastards who will rot in hell forever. Every soldier should be given a medal and honored for their bravery, especially those who ultimatly gave their lives. I stand with the people of India all those who lost loved ones, held hostage, trapped, injured, and the families of the killed, injured and held hostage and trapped. This is a time for everyon to stand together and help out in any way. The terrorists ultimatly did this to stop peace talks between Pakistan and India and to Play the blame game they will win. I don’t care who did this, anyone who kills innocent people for any reason is a heartless monster that should be punished to the fullest scale.

  • NeutralVoice

    The 2 day bloody ordeal has finally ended..As always, there is a talk of “Mumbai Spirit” doing the rounds in media..It angers me to see that instead of bringing the culprits to book (Govt & Intelligence officials) we are singing the same old crappy tune of the unbeatable mumbai spirit..I am a god fearing hindu but i completely oppose the attack on the Indian muslim community for this massacre..These militants had a base in Pakistan but how we be sure that this is planned by them?
    Pak is in shambles struggling with their own security problems..The control (or the lack of it) of Pakistan on these elements & their own notorious agency, ISI is well known..
    While we all are offering condolences & sounding positive post this horrific incident, the time is to be angry & demand answers from the Govt authorities..
    How can under-trained policimen armed with wooden sticks hold fort against these AK-47 weilding barbarians with the sole purpose of murdering innocent civilians?
    The govt pumps in enough money procured from the taxpayers into the security forces..We saw faulty bullet-proof vests, outdated rifles & some policemen wondering how to use automatic weapons..This incident has exposed the lack of support from the Govt (not just current one but also it’s predecessors & the centre)
    Worldwide, the security forces use advanced weapons & Kevlar to save themselves in these turbulent confrontations..Why can’t shining India spend some more to procure this & give the taxpayers the security & peace they deserve..The politicians were holed up inside their safe homes in an airconditioned room while these ill-equipped policemen bore the brunt of the militants..

  • jerry

    Every time a bomb goes off in India, the needle of suspicion invariably turns to a “Muslim outfit’s terror network” (stressing on the Muslim part) which, interestingly, always has a link with the Intelligence agency of Pakistan, whether it is the historical event of attack on the Indian parliament or the blast in Samjhuta Express. But the original face of Hindu Terrorism is well exposed with the arrest of this serving Lt. Col and retired Major in connection with Malegaon and Modasa blast… the terror storm in India is the out come of her own indigenous dynamics actually… and yet they have a courage to blame all their ills on Pakistan… BRAVO!!
    Not to mention how conveniently Lt. Col Purohit used the money from the funds meant for operational purposes of Military Intelligence (MI) to set up a saffron group, without anybody knowing it… now that’s what I call Intelligence with a Big capital “I”…

  • Read about my take on Mumbai Terror Attacks here http://tr.im/1mgi

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