Burning Taj: almost has become image of the year
We have all been complaining about the minute-by-minute media coverage of combat operations that took place during terroist attacks in Mumbai. Musician Vishal of Vishal-Shekhar fame has filed a petition about the same. You can go there on his website to sign the petition to show your support to the cause.
All the landmarks of Mumbai were attcked by 10 terrorists, who were armed to teeth. The timely information on Internet portals was well-publicised. Lede blogs updated everyday-progress in Mumbai attacks. Citizen journalists twittered and blogged away. Vinu’s Flickr page, that displayed first pictures of the Mumbai attacks, is being upheld by every blogger and online media.
Vir Sanghvi first ranted about how intelligence failure had devasted us, and then reported back about how we had intelligence reports, but government failed to act on it. It is shocking to know that how telephone intercepts by RAW mentioned ‘sea route” and also named the hotels that were to be attacked. It is said that we have intelligence but no intelligence dissemination and communication capabilities.
Several blog posts of individual condemnation were published. But one that stands out is the impassioned condemnation by this Indian Muslim blogger, who revealed his identity in his blog, and said commented in fury that terrorists were not doing any favour to Muslims with these attacks. But his post made me think many other things. Why do we muslims still feel discriminated when they have to look for houses in our localities? I had read about telly and bollyword muslims actors complaining about it and then making a case of it. But what does Indian muslim common man do?
Fingers started pointing to Pakistan after circumstantial evidence (like phone calls), origins of terrorists like Pakistan (Multan)-born terrorist Amjad Iman, and interrogation of lone terrorist captured. But there are few others like Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid (author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist) who warn against blaming Pakistan without evidence. However, as the evidence piles up and question of addressing the neighbouring country comes up. There are other security agencies analysing the strategic motivations of the attack. Of course, Shiv Saniks have ‘banned’ Pak artistes and cricketers in Mumbai. Watcha Wasim!
A section of Pak media misconstrued facts to conclude that Mumbai seige was all a sham. Here is an blog post by Pr3rna that has links to some of the articles in Pakistani Press.
To escape public fury, government then sacked Sonia-loyalist home minister Shivraj Patil. This should have been done a year ago. State deputy minister R. R. Patil was next to go, he had earned citizens’ wrath by his insensitive remarks like “Such small incidents keep happening in this city.”.
World press crticized our government and combat action. TimesOnline in UK said Mumbai police was under-equipped. A fact that we can’t deny as we lost our 3 ATS officers in the first five minutes of combat, allegedly owing to sub-standard bullet-proof jackets. A clueless police sub-inspector mistakes terrorists as college kids and dies trying to warn the them! Los Angeles TImes elaborated further about systematic failure in India’s response to attacks.
NSG commando being air-dropped
But despite systematic failures, we have our individual heroes. I am not only talking about much-talked about NSG Chief Sandeep Unnikrishnan and 3 ATS officers, there were many more. Even the captured terrorist admitted that they were surprised to note that even constables chased them to combat. We lost about 14 constables. Then there were civilians like this Brit who saved 150 Mumbai hostages. Then there are other heroes: fire-fighters of Taj Hotel.
Some like Suketu Mehta said we should handle the aftermath by visiting more and more to Mumbai. Shantaram aka Gregory David Roberts left a message on Leopold cafe opened again. Today Mumbaikars are standing outside Taj for peace vigil.
Images courtsey CNN-IBN