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India Remembers Horrifying Mumbai Terror Attacks

Categories: South Asia, India, Pakistan, Digital Activism, History, Politics, War & Conflict
26/11. Image by Flickr user -g-r-a-c-e-. Used under a Creative Commons License [1]

26/11. Image by Flickr user -g-r-a-c-e-. Used under a Creative Commons License

One year ago, Mumbai, India's financial and entertainment capital came under a well-coordinated terrorist attack [2] that lasted for 3 days. Downtown Mumbai, or “town” as it is popularly known was the target of 10 young men who reportedly arrived by boats from Pakistan and attacked the railway station, the main artery for commuters and a series of luxury hotels, a popular bar and a Jewish home. At least 200 people died in the attack and at least 308 people were injured. All but one young Pakistani attackers survived. That lone survivor Kasab is in India and has been the primary source of information about the attack. Nobody has claimed the body of the 9 young men, who launched the attack and paralysed Mumbai.

Only one word, fear! Collage by Flickr user Keerthi. Used under a Creative Commons License [3]

Only one word, fear! Collage by Flickr user Keerthi. Used under a Creative Commons License

For three days people around the world witnessed the brutal carnage unfold on their television sets. In hindsight it appears that the 10 young men were receiving instructions from a source in Pakistan on how to execute the attack.

Earlier today on the eve of the first anniversary of 26/11 the Government of Pakistan announced that [4] it has charged seven suspects for organizing the attack. The seven arrested men have not pleaded guilty to the charge according to reports.

Madhavi at The Trajectory [5] blog writes that Pakistan's actions comes after a year of “vehement denial” of the attacks. She continues:

“The most high profile name among those charged is Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, head of the banned militant group Laskar-e-Taiba.”

Madhavi's post has an interesting twist in the end when she asks:

“Pakistan has handed India an anniversary gift for 26/11 in the form of Lakhvi & company’s verdict; the people of India are still hoping to receive forgotten anniversary gifts. March 13th 1993, December 13th 2001, July 11th 2006, November 26th 2008…how many more strikes do we need before even a single mastermind of these terrorist attacks is punished by the Government of India?”

Nita at A Wide Angle View of India [6] wonders why are the foot soldiers (the Mumbai police) being blamed for doing an effective job in staving off the attack? It is not the foot soldiers that need to be blamed, but the top politicians and security folks of Mumbai. She writes:

“So many died in vain, but not a single person has taken responsibility for the carnage. We need to mourn the dead, but we also need to ask for the answers. It is the top cops and the politicians who are to blame. For the lack of coordination and action. It is really pathetic and in really bad taste to see television channels blast the foot soldiers. Try and shame those poor unequipped men who had rifles that were rusted, men who ran helter skelter because they had no leader to direct them. Men who weren’t even sure where the terrorists were, how many there were, what they were up to. […]

The foot soldiers in Mumbai had nothing. If some of them ran, let us not blame them.”

While there were lots of articles written and many recommendations made in the immediate aftermath of 26/11 not much progress has happened, writes Filter Coffee [7]. He writes:

“Sadly, barring a few cosmetic rearrangements, not much has changed in India, and no one, least of all Mumbaikars seem to care [8].”

Nyaypati Gautam of India Story [9] appears to echo the feelings of Filter Coffee about the lack of change in the past year. But, he wonders what it is that he can do to bring about some change? He writes:

“We continue to be as apathetic as before. If any terror strike were to happen today I fear that the same things would get re-enacted. I hope I have got it wrong but I have a dirty feeling that I am not. It is so frustrating. What can I do to channelise this anger in a meaningful way?”

Many people used Twitter [10] to share news and express their opinions. Here are a few examples of those messages:

RodrigoRMorais [11]: USA Today is saying “Mumbai commemorates one-year anniversary of terror attacks”. What is there to commemorate about?

aniljayakumar [12]: A minute for Mumbai………….

NitinNDTV [13]: all of us will forever remember 26/11,but let's not forget victims of earlier attacks & the brave men who continue to die in defending India

madhavgk [14]: Politicians abused after 26/11 last year… politicians abused after 26/11 this year… nothing changes in Indian politics!

nsohanlal [15]: 26/11 Jingoism on twitter today… Alas will be forgotten as a mundane Monday come Sunday!

For more background information on the 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks please go to our special coverage page [16].