Image courtsey CNN-IBN slideshow
26 November: Shock reverberates in my body when I see the morning newspaper headline, while traveling for work. Mumbai under siege. 80 dead, 300 injured. I visibly withered after reading the headline. I had missed last evening (25 November) bulletin.
Was it a coincidence that a day ago I had watched Denzel Washington-Bruce Willis-Annette Bening-starrer 1998 movie, The Seige? One of the targets of attack in the movie was elite broadway after having hit the commute system. Eventually military was called to manage country’s own citizens against all prudence. Now elite hotels like Taj and Trident Oberoi are under siege. Terrorists have attacked Nariman House, CST terminal and hospitals. Since three days! Death toll and number of injured have increased since the first newspaper headline. 125 lives lost and 327 injured as per latest bulletin. You can check list of released hostages, injured, and deceased here at Mumbai Help.
Hostage. Most feared word in recent times – hostages. It was just few days ago that the 60-day saga of hostages captured by Somali pirates ended. Entire nation had been hanging on to the awaited release and return of Captain Goyal. Now Mumbai. 40 hostages released, 93 from Trident…but you never have clear idea that how many are still inside. I hope this is the last leg and then there are more.
Survivor and trauma stories are also pouring in. One survivor says, “Actually while we were in we never realised the magnitude of the attack. We kept thinking it would be over in a few hours – can’t believe it is still on!”
I am grieved like many other about the losses, but I am seething for following reasons:
1. Media: Why do they also have to report live, every movement of our NSGs? Where they are, when they are being airdropped, how many commandos, when helicopter came and when it went….Why? If we can speak to the hiding hostages on phone, I am sure these trained terrorists have their easy own sources of outside news outside whom they can contact via cells. (One news channel did report about a dead terrorist’s phone that had received 5 calls from Karachi.) One of the hiding hostages called up his home in Ghaziabad to tell he was safe and hiding in the basement. Our news channels broadcast it live, without editing his location. We have not heard of him since. I hope he is safe.
Nor do the news channels and news portals double-check before broadcasting rumors. All of them broadcasted there was another round of firing at CST today. Railway police denied it later.
I am sick of the panic that is being created throughout the country with sensational replays and replays of firing thuds. I respect that the service they are doing by informing us, but I earnestly wish that they would do it more responsibly. I am not shying away from calamity, only I do not want terrorists to succeed in their motive to create panic.
2. Police: This may not be the right time to say it as 3 officers: Ashok Kamte, ATS chief Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and NSG chief Sandeep Unnikrishnan have laid their lives fighting the terrorists. But I have a huge grudge against ATS and police force of entire country. I know none of us have faith in our law enforcement.
I am sick of hearing police claims of ‘cracking’ the case and having arrested the ‘masterminds’. It is a lie, and we know it when we are struck more ruthlessly by little known terrorists again.
Several cases like Uma Khurna case and Arushi murder case in Noida saw police feeding all sort of lies and conspiracies to the media and public to save their face. I bear a similar grudge against ATS and also late ATS chief Hemant Karkare who had arrested Sadhvi Pragya and others for Malegaon blasts. I think any ‘saint’ or ‘dervish’, irrespective of religion, may turn out to be a terrorist, but I condemn this practice of calling an accused a criminal unless proven. There is no proof, except some fleeting mention of tape that has never been presented, and Sadhvi and her counterparts have already been condemned as ‘mastermind’ Hindu terrorists throughout the country. Read the Sadhvi’s affidavit published by this organisation called Rogue Police that protests again police atrocities:
I do not count her guilty till she is proven so. Nor do you. We can’t get swayed everytime police lies to us. I have written about our this responsibility before.
I appeal to all law enforcement bodies to not to inundate the public, influenced by political motivations or with need to hide incompetence and corruption, with lies. Do not trap the innocent. We are in for a war against terror. It is not a random home-grown petty terrorist hurting us, it is mammoth planned, organised, synchronised war that has been financed with big bucks. Nothing could have grabbed more headlines for the than long, gruelling siege. They single out foreign nationals, specifically British and American just goes to show their aim.
3. Intelligence Bureau: It has certainly gone for a toss. Terrorists plot for months and get away with it. I will let Vir Sanghvi make this point.
4. Us, the Citizens: Yes, I know that some of us been constantly posting updates, posting condolences, protests but we need to do more. Alone I know, none of us can achieve. But together we can campaign for the rights of innocent, campaign for alertness by reporting any undue occurrences (like one of terrorists supposedly bought groceries for 50k in the first week!) however silly they might seem, can help each other. I was saddened when one colleague said, “jansankhya kam ho rahi hai”! Even in humor, this is insensitive. Why do we have to sit passively and comment insensitively until we are the jansankhya that is hit next time.
Let us be alert, campaign for the just cause and help each other.