Days of our Lives!

November 30, 2008

The Mumbai attacks – a few scrambled thoughts

Filed under: My Cup of Socie-Tea — Santhosh @ 9:38 PM

… some my own, some from around the blogosphere

A map of the places attacked

What I don’t want to hear:

  • stupid statements “condemning” the attacks (like this and this), like that would set everything right
  • requests to civilians for their “calm” and “cooperation”, which is nothing but a polite way of saying “we didn’t do our jobs, but things are bad and this is not a good time to yell”.
  • references to the great Mumbai “spirit”. People get back to their lives because most need to work to eat for the day.
  • anything that a doddering Shivraj Patil wants to say. I don’t expect a Rudy Giuliani act from him, but the least he can do is to appoint somebody capable to take care of this emergency
  • references to security checks in malls
  • media asking questions like “Sir, the cable connection in the Hotel is disabled, is that a precautionary measure?”


  • why no communication lines are yet to be opened with the terrorists
  • why we don’t have our own versions of a SWAT team that we so often see on American television
  • where Raj Thackeray and his goons who rushed to beat up those poor taxi drivers are
  • what the hell is happening to our tax money if it’s not being spent on guns that don’t jam or bullet-proof vests that are an apology for the term. I mean, the Maharashtra police look as helpless as the bystanders with their ridiculous service revolvers and helmets.

What do you do against people who’ve decided they just want to kill as many as possible, while also holding an entire country on hold for hours? What do you do against terrorism at its purest form. What do you do against those whose supposed demands (almost as an afterthought) are that all “mujahedeen” in Indian jails should be freed and that “persecution” of Muslims should stop.


What I find shocking is that this should have been expected and prevented, but it wasn’t and everyone in power seems to be surprised by it all. In the last few months there have been serial, perfectly coordinated, bomb blasts in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, New Delhi and Assam, taking over 200 lives. If the government had done something of note, Mumbai 26/11 needn’t have happened. Just take a look at the number of attacks over the past decade or so, and note their increasing frequency (here and here).


When the Pakistani army and LET sit for dinner to think up front names for their “modules”, do they go through the IPL roster? Mumbai Indians – Indian Mujahiddeen; Deccan Chargers – Deccan Mujahiddeen;


So what exactly is this “intelligence failure” thing? I mean, every time something like a bomb going off or some more Bangladeshi insurgency or a Sachin getting bowled happens, we get this matter-of-fact reply. I mean, it IS an intelligence failure, because if you knew this was supposed to happen and yet did nothing about it, it would be called collusion. It’s called Bayesian probability and in this case the value is one. Ever used “intelligence” and “it worked” in the same sentence?


And, speaking of our Intelligence Bureau is an insult to the word intelligence. All they’ve come out with for now is pages of pure, unadulterated bull:

  • The Intelligence Bureau has confirmed that the attacks that took place in Mumbai on Wednesday night were an act of terror and aimed at disrupting peace and causing panic among Mumbaikars.
  • The IB says that they have come to the conclusion due to two reasons. One is that the use of AK-47 rifles. IB sources told that apart from security personnel only terrorists have access to AK-47s. They also add that the firing was indiscriminate and largely aimed at causing panic. Another reason for the IB to say it was a terror attacks is due to the fact that the operation was synchronised. Any synchronised or serial attack amounts to a terror strike, IB sources maintained.

  • The IB adds that this kind of attack (serial firing) is completely new. Smuggling bombs/explosives had become difficult especially since the heat on terror operations were stepped up. Hence the module, which carried out the attack thought of this new method, IB sources said.

I wonder if they sat around with their pot-bellies, congratulating each other on successfully solving what the shootings and bombings were all about. I mean, seriously, if we need an intelligence bureau, and I stress the word intelligence here, to


More speculating:

  • why can’t we get someone better equipped to handle such an emergency to step in, instead of the excuse for an Home Minister that we have. Like The Godfather says “Tom, you’re not a wartime Consigliere.”
  • why has no official spokesperson been appointed, who could give hourly factual updates to the media about the happenings inside? This would have at least cut down the rampant speculation that we’re being subjected to.
  • why isn’t the media cordoned off but are instead allowed to get so close to the scene of the attacks?
  • how can one injured terrorist at the Taj, without any hostages, keep off a hundred commandos for over a day?

Our prime just started World War III:

We will take up strongly with our neighbors that the use of their territory for launching attacks on us will not be tolerated,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a televised address to the nation. “There would be a cost if suitable measures are not taken by them.” He said the terrorists may have “external linkages.”

Yeah, go get them tiger!


What exactly do the media mean by the 100 odd people who “sacrificed” their lives? They did not. They were brutally killed. In cold blood. It’s an insult to their memories to call it otherwise.

If ever proof was needed about the media’s stupidity

Commandos are landing on the Nariman Building. They seem to be tip-toeing down. The terrorists inside the building don’t know about this. The commandos are communicating to each other through hand signals. Of the 6 commandos, 2 seem to be moving towards the left wall. Surprise is the only weapon they have now….
This is being brought to you live and exclusive by NDTV!!!

and insensitivity

“How do you feel?”, “What will you do if your husband doesn’t come out?”, “Do you think terrorists should be hunted down?”


Sometimes I think BJP and Advani should be made synonyms for abhorrent.
On the 27th, L. K. Advani, talked of political unity. “We expect that the issue of terrorism is kept above politics,” the statement said. “This is an hour for all sections of society to sink their differences.
On the 28th, the front page of Hindustan Times had a BJP advertisement. The ad had a black background, except for an ominous splotch of red in the centre. The text read: “Brutal Terror Strikes at Will. Weak Government, Unwilling and Incapable.”, with the punch line: “Fight Terror. Vote BJP.”

Still wondering why we’re regarded as a weak, divided society?


Watching the western news channels, you’d be forgiven if you thought you lived in a different world.

  • Their maps have India in colour A, Pakistan in colour B, and Kashmir in colour A+B. Kashmir is India, dammit!
  • Terrorism in India finally gets more than the two sound bytes, since ‘westerners’ have now been targeted.
  • An expert from one of their multiple national security agencies notes that this time “the Islamic extremists have taken care not to antagonize the local Hindoooss by targeting only Western guests and Christians”. Yeah, right! What exactly happened at Victoria terminus then?
  • The age-old rhetoric: Indo-Pakistan is a hotbed of Islamic extremism. Atleast they’ve moved on from communism, God bless them.
  • India is on the verge of a major communal violence because Hindus would now be looking to get back at the Muslims for terrorising their country. Er, correct me if I’m wrong but I used to think the country never belonged to Hindus alone.

I just can’t believe what’s happening. In a hostage situation, the commandos stormed into all the buildings at the same time, knowing full well that there are innocent lives at gun-point. I mean, the definition of a hostage situation is that they’ll kill those they have at gunpoint if they don’t get what they’ve asked. This is exactly what happened. Almost all gunpoint-hostages across the three locations have been killed and the only survivors are those who were locked up inside their rooms.

Those are brave people who took part in the operation, but I’m just wondering at the strategy behind all this, if at all there was one. First, to my knowledge at least, there were no communication lines opened – any Hollywood flick will tell you that you first try and talk to the hostage-takers. Next, policemen and ATS personnel tried to take on trained, well-armed jihadis without any apparent plan. And finally, Operation Cyclone and Operation Black Tornado finished the mess-up by storming everything at one go.

Yes, hostage situations take time to be resolved. Wonder if the intense media pressure had anything to do with the decision to storm, thus to be seen to be doing something. I hope not.


Terribly confused with Manmohan Singh’s “call” for the establishment of a federal investigation agency. Er – who is he “calling”? Isn’t he the guy who is supposed to set it up? And preferably have set it up by now?


What’s the urgent need for Sonia, Advani, Manmohan, and co to visit Mumbai right now? When Mumbai’s police forces and logistics are already stretched to the limit.
Thoroughly pissed off when I read this.

Sources said though the plane carrying NSG Commandos was ready by midnight, it could not take off due to the delayed arrival of a VIP, who wanted to accompany them to Mumbai, at the Delhi airport. Worse, the Commandos had to wait for a vehicle at the Mumbai airport until morning.



Shivraj Patil finally does the sensible thing.


In other news, Barkha Dutt is being nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for coining the phrase “India’s 9/11”.


Rashmi has a few good links in her latest post.



  1. The intelligence agencies have actually issued highly specific warnings on this attack. Please go through the following information.

    Comment by Anonymous — December 1, 2008 @ 7:45 PM | Reply

  2. The godfather quote was very apt. But our chap wasn’t too hot as a peacetime consigliere either.Guess who he met on his way homeShivraj Patil debates with Sardar Vallabhai Patel on who was the better home minister. Check

    Comment by Ramesh Srivats — December 3, 2008 @ 8:11 PM | Reply

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