Mumbai attacked again. Why?

I am stick to my stomach as I write this, while also following the news online at NDTV and CNN-IBN, and on Twitter. Forty Sixty people may have been killed in five attacks in Mumbai (the death toll mounts even as I am writing this, and I am not even sure how many more are seriously injured). All the places targeted are public places – hotels (The Taj, Oberoi/Trident, Marriott), a hospital, a bus station, the main train station (CST), movie theaters, gas stations, a restaurant (Cafe Leopold)..  it’s horrifying to read, and I can only imagine what people in these locations are going through even as I write this.

Some people, in India and elsewhere, seem to blame the police for lack of security and wonder at the fact that terrorists are able to strike at will in India.

I don’t think these attacks show any lack of security. Public places anywhere in the world are vulnerable even with the best of security. Can one body-search every person who enters a crowded train station or a movie theater? Or, for that matter, a gas station?

Mumbai is a remarkably resilient city, and has taken repeated serial bomb blasts in its stride. This is a really great quality in a people. You don’t want people living in a constant state of panic, or heightened terror. That is exactly what the persons who spread terror want. But it is hard to stay calm and go through life normally, when you do not know where the next danger lurks.

But why do terrorists target Mumbai again and again? For that matter, why do they target Indian cities repeatedly?  CNN-IBN has a list of terror attacks just in the last few years in various cities in India. Yes, it’s a long list, and just goes to show how India has been targeted repeatedly by terrorists, far more often than any other country that is not in a war.  Why is this?

Why are a peace-loving people targeted repeatedly? Why are hundreds of innocents killed?

Do the people who carry out these attacks this believe the West will turn a blind eye to terror attacks in India? Or do they want to create the impression that India, and Mumbai in particular, is an unsafe destination?  Or is India just an easy target with its crowded public places?

This latest attack seems to be aimed at taking hostages, from what I hear, US and UK citizens.  Again, I wonder what signal the terrorists are trying to send.

To the great people of Mumbai – my wishes are with you.  Please stay safe.

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22 thoughts on “Mumbai attacked again. Why?

  1. Can’t help but marvel at these bastards. They checked UK/ US passports before taking hostage and this is like f***ing “retail terrorism” or “distributed terrorism”.

    I did my MBA summer in Bombay in 1993, the summer of the stock market bombs, remember? Leopold cafe, Metro cinema all were within our reach. The restaurants in Oberoi and Taj are *now* within our reach. Will I stay indoors when I am there next? The hell I am…

    This is so awful, so awful.

    It is so very awful. Vinu’s photos show an eerie city that looks almost war-torn 😮

    I remember the summer of ’93 very well. My brother narrowly escaped the bombs – by maybe 5 minutes, maybe less. The owner of the lassi stall where he’d just bought his lassi was not so lucky 😦

  2. What really pisses me off is this “Mumbai is a resilient city” shtick. It’s really simple – people get up and go back to work the next day because that’s how they earn their living. It’s a city filled with people not resilient but resigned to the fact that this is just one of those things that they have to deal with. They are scared out of their wits to go to work tomorrow, but go they will, because they do not have the option of staying home. Resilience can go suck an egg.

    Running around in panic mode doesn’t help either 😦 I agree people have to get on with their lives, and some of this may be fatalism and necessity, but there is also a strong element of faith and resilience.

    But the issue is, just because the people are resilient doesn’t mean the government should be apathetic, or incompetent.

  3. I’m feeling terrible following these stories !!!!

    ….and the feeling of helplessness is even worse !!!!

    I can empathize – the combination of anger and the inability to do much about the situation is not a good feeling 😦

  4. I don’t know if we can just put the whole thing down to so many public places cannot be guarded..True you cannot blame the security situation with respect to patrolling and all that. But what about intelligence? Our borders are very porous..I saw this sting operation a couple of years back on CNN IBN where a team essentially retraced Dawood’s men’s path of bringing in explosives into India and they plonked the bag that they “smuggled” in in the Gateway..on the way bribing customs officials etc to escape inspection..No questions were asked. This raised a bit of a hullabulloo in Parliament but evidently nothing was done about it..Our intelligence network simply has to improve.

    You’re right, I have been wondering this too – why did none of the intelligence agencies see this coming? None of the Indian agencies, none of the international agencies.. were there tip-offs that were ignored? We’ll know in the coming days. Hopefully, this situation will be a massive wake-up call for everyone involved.

  5. 100+ already confirmed dead. It is soooo sad. Thats what terrorists want to do: instill fear, chaos, confusion and suspicion in the citizen’s mind.

    I haven’t left office till now. The streets are quite deserted. Spent the night in my cubicle with my chair pushed back and my legs on the table. Not very comfortable. But it is even more uncomfortable to know its still going on even now!!! My most sincere prayers and condolences to all the victims. 😦

    Yes, I wish the news agencies wouldn’t fan the panic further 😦
    Stay safe!
    I woke up early this morning and found that more than fifteen hours later, it’s still not over 😦 I cannot begin to imagine what those caught in those situations are going through ..

  6. Pingback: Mumbai Attacked Again | FIAAC - Find It At Any Cost

  7. I wonder y v indians r the only victims to these terrorists..i can only blame our
    f**king politics for this…how long r v going to tolerate such cowardness of our
    political leaders sitting n enjoying their life to the fullest when innocent civilians
    are being killed at large…
    Down down… manmohan singh
    Someone out there plz ask our PM not to reiterate the same slogan
    of ”Shanti Mantra” ..i, in fact the whole of indian citizens are getting
    tired of this mantra..we can’t risk our lives anymore..u hear me, Mr.PM??

    Once this crisis is over, I think people should demand some hard answers from the government – what measures do we have in place to respond to terrorist attacks? Is there a separate dept. that is specifically responsible for co-ordinating national security issues between different agencies? Why didn’t the intelligence agencies get any idea this was being planned? and other questions..

  8. “do they want to create the impression that India, and Mumbai in particular, is an unsafe destination? ”
    Yes, you hit the nail on the head. That is the primary goal. Make India look as unsafe as Pakistan.

    “I don’t think these attacks show any lack of security”
    Bingo!, it is not lack of the security, fact of the matter is there is no place in the world that can be kept safe from fanatics that are bent on killing innocent people.

    “Why are a peace-loving people targeted repeatedly? Why are hundreds of innocents killed?”
    India is a soft target because there is no political will to contain terrorism. Indian politicians think only in terms of vote banks and will never do anything that might affect their vote banks. They just care about their political future and not worried about the country or its people.

  9. Pingback: Global Voices Online » India: Political will, terrorism and Mumbai

  10. Pingback: Mumbai terror attacks | DesiPundit

  11. Just now Shobha De was saying on NDTV and I second her thoughts that enough of wearing “we are mumbaiites and we are so resilient” badge. Its time Mumbai people stop being resilient and stoic about terror attacks and speak up or rather do something to get some action from the so called leaders.

    I agree with the part about not taking things lying down and speaking up. But isn’t all of that part of being resilient?

  12. anywhere in the world, terrorist attacks happened. they don’t choose any country. it happens, it’s not just india or mumbai, it’s everywhere–; i read a lot about this type of blog today and sad to say that there were feelings of shame and hatred against the govn’t. blaming them for not doing anything. if the gov’t knows how terrorist mind’s working, they probably not wait any seconds to get them. normal people doesn’t want this kind of terror, only the terrorists!…and, terrorists are not that dumb, they know when and how to attack. they plan it carefully. they don’t know fear…they don’t afraid to die–that’s why it’s so easy for them to kill…howver, government officials has rules to follow…rights to keep and maintaining the peace and order, as much as possible they will solve conflicts not by guns or death.. . it’s so easy to blame the govt. but what else could be done? what choices shall people in india make when many were dead? bloodsheds are everwhere? ..pretty sure..the government plan the best move to solve this type of terror (not through guns and bullets)…, but i could not blame those people who point out that the government ddin’t do anything… , it’s after all the people’s emotions who cares and wanted to symphatize the loss…it was really, really sad, heart-wrenching turn of unexpected loss… the whole world are watching…there must be strategies to solve this…there must be method to stop this…i know there are…ways..!!!

    hope this terrorists bombings will end! —all we can do is to keep watch and pray!

    God knows! take care…my condolence!

    Thanks for your wishes. Yes, I wish too, that such attacks wouldn’t happen anywhere in the world 😦 While you are right that terrorists strike anywhere in the world, I do believe India has been affected much more than any other country.

  13. I tracked down the links of the sting I was talking about. Also read an article of a possible Dry run of this entry into Bombay that took place in 2007..put them up on my blog..

    I read your post. It’s all rather shocking and very,very sad.

  14. All this makes me so sad and mad. This is not the India I grew up in.

    But it’s not surprising, is it? 😦 India has always been a favorite target, and I wonder how much of that stems from our own lax vigilance 😦

  15. Dont those little 20 something kids gunning down hundreds of people feel any kind of remorse at leaving behind so many innocent dead people? Is this what religion does to people? Is this what independance is about?

    Do they really believe they will go to heaven after this? I kinda doubt.

    I am sure their religion does not teach them to gun down innocent people 😦 The fault is not with the teachings, it is with those who interpret the teachings 😦

  16. I just commented on some other blog with these lines. And these are ringing in my head. All day, all night. I hear it in my English teacher’s voice –

    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    And am so sure Yeats meant the Mumbai attack.

    That is so poignantly true. Especially the last two lines..Harini quoted Kahlil Gibran’s “Pity the Nation” which is also completely apt.

  17. Well, it is true that we have a lack of security but what you say is also true. Even with the best security I wonder if it would have been possible to prevent these attacks.

    The one in VT, for instance 😦

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