A Muslim pays homage to the victims of the Mumbai attacks during a special prayer meeting at a mosque in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri November 29, 2008. Commandos ended a three-day rampage by Islamist gunmen in Mumbai on Saturday, gunning down the last of the militants who killed nearly 200 people in a strike on India’s financial heart.
REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri
We absolutely condemn the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and lament the senseless loss of life that resulted from these tragic attacks. We mourn all the victims. According to the Times of India, Muslims comprised 40% of the victims of the tragedy. We offer condolences to all of those of any religion who lost loved ones and to those who were injured, those who suffered property damage, and we pray for those whose lives were lost in the tragedy.
Unfortunately, the responsibility for this incident was laid at the door of Muslims before the guns had cooled, before the fires had been put out, and before any real investigation could have begun.
Yet even mainstream papers have asked important questions about the official story of these attacks. The Christian Science Monitor questioned the identity and the origin of the lone survivor, Azam Amir Qasab. No one has yet been able to identify him in Faridkote, the village he is supposed to be from in Punjab-Pakistan. Rumors were spread by Indian police of Muslim involvement, and these rumors were immediately picked up and run by otherwise respected and responsible media outlets.
What was the motive behind this terror act, and who benefits? Was it to create a rift between India and Pakistan? Was it to warn Pakistan to fall in line with US policies on the NW frontier lest India may open hostilities with Pakistan? Was it to create a further chasm between the Muslims and Hindus of India? Or was it to serve an indigenous political agenda?
These and many other questions continue to work inside the minds of those who love India. And the reasons are obvious. Why was there no ransom demand from the terrorists, after they took hostages? This is most unusual. The taking of hostages is usually done to obtain ransom; but in this case despite holding some hostages for three days no ransom was forthcoming.
Terrorists usually take the maximum possible hostages as a bargaining chip, but in Mumbai the terrorists killed mercilessly anyone they came across. This is what mercenaries do, or as might do the goons of mafia dons Chota Rajan or Dawood Ibrahim; irrespective of their religion or their origin.
People could not comprehend how only 10 terrorists were able to carry out such a heinous crime at 10 places spread over the space of more than 12 miles, almost simultaneously, within 15 minutes of one another.
Is it possible instead that a large number of mercenaries were hired to do this job, and they had safe passage before the conclusion of the operation? Were they battle hardened terrorists or were they mercenaries? If the number of terrorists involved was higher, then what happened to the rest of them?
It is alleged that one of the hostages who escaped from room # 630 following his brief captivity said that there was huge stockpile of arms in that room, and the room had served as a communication center. How did that happen without the knowledge of the authorities?
Quoting his captorsâ€™ conversation in his interview with Aaj Tak, a TV news channel, he says in broken Hindi/Urdu â€œOne terrorist asks the other: â€œHow much amount of money these Indian politicians have?â€ The other terrorist answers, â€œYou have received your payment isnâ€™t it, then why are you worried?â€
Who benefits from all this? And how is it that ATS Chief Hemant Karkare, his associates Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar and his entire team of about seven were gunned down in a narrow lane near Cama hospital about 12.5 miles away from the Taj Hotel? How is it that they happened to be by the Cama hospital? Why were they there? The Marathi papers in Mumbai have reported that the killers of Hemant Karkare and his associates spoke to them in Marathi before killing him and the others.
The hard and dedicated work of ATS chief Hemant Karkare had led to the arrest of Lt. Col. Purohit for serial bomb blasts at the Malegaon and Samjhuta Express trains.
Initially the blame had been laid on Muslims, but he proved the culprits were non Muslims. The real terrorists were Lt. Col Purohit, a Sadhivi (A Hindu religious preacher) Miss Praggya Singh, a religious head of Hindus, Swami Asimanand, and others of higher political and law enforcement officers. It is said that he was about to announce the names of people in higher offices of BJP, RSS and Chota Rajan, a mafia don of Mumbai.
He was also investigating the bomb blasts at Thane, Vashi and Panwel (all in greater Mumbai). He had indicated of stunning revelations but he was silenced before his disclosures. On November 26 his ATS office in Pune had reportedly received threatening phone calls of blowing up the residence â€œwithin a couple of days.â€
Who are his killers/terrorists? Why were they so selective in eliminating Karkare and all his trusted office staff? Where did they disappear to? Why has his mother refused to take the one Crore Rs. compensation announced and offered by Modi?
Is it because Hemant Karkarey and his team had unearthed the unthinkable? Is it because his team had proved the involvement of Hindus in terrorist acts? Many feared that his investigations would further implicate many religious leaders, law enforcement personnel, and politicians.
Indian politicians have not hesitated in employing any tactics to win the elections. The Gujarat mayhem is still fresh in our memories. The terrorist attack on Mumbai occurred on the eve of the state elections in MP, Rajasthan and Delhi. And the announcement of national general elections is just a couple of months away.
Why was the security at the Taj Hotel reduced just a few days prior to this terrorist attack? Mr. Ratan Tata, the owner of the Taj hotel, recently acquired land for his Nano car in Gujarat, after his failure to acquire factory land in Bengal. Could there be any connection? Is it feasible that the same tactic used in Gujarat is being used to acquire political power for BJP in as many states as possible, and in the national government?
I am not sure we will ever know the truth. But Indian democracy is strong and resilient, and the majority of its people are tolerant and peaceful. The Congress party and its allies must seize this opportunity to expose the real culprits.
The people responsible for this horrific act must be brought to justice, no matter who they are.