The terrorist attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008, must be reckoned as one of the most momentous, the most tragic and the most instructive events in the annals of the Indian Republic. Apart from causing huge loss of life and property, it exposed a number of wide chinks in the armoury of Indian polity and machinery of governance. A country, aspiring to be a super-power, stood before the entire world as nothing more than a huge tree with a hollow trunk. The event also brought to surface the inner shallowness of India’s intellectual discourse which had shaped the outlook of its social and political elite and caused the emergence of a soft and superficial state.
In this case, 10 young terrorists sailed on a Pakistani steamer from Karachi, hijacked an Indian fishing trawler on the high seas, landed quietly at a point near the Gateway of India, divided themselves in four groups, and moved towards their pre-determined targets.
One group seized the Taj Hotel, the second entered the Leopold Café/Oberoi hotel, the third proceeded to Chabad/Nariman House and the fourth went to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Railway Terminus. Everywhere, they resorted to blood bath with impunity, shooting innocent persons with savagery of a brute. They held the city in terror practically for three days. Before nine of them were killed and one captured, they had butchered 166 persons and left many more wounded. It was a tragedy too deep for tears.
What was no less tragic was the incompetence that was displayed on the occasion. When the terrorist attack occurred, the clarity, cohesion and promptitude that was needed was nowhere to be seen. In sharp contrast to the military precision and speed with which all the four groups of terrorists went about their task, the security apparatus of both the state and central governments looked disjointed. It took quite some time for this apparatus to adjust itself for effective action.
The other components of the social structure did not cover themselves with glory either. For example, almost all the television channels vied with one another in showing live the operation conducted by the National Security Guard against the terrorists at the Taj Hotel. They did not care to consider that their coverage could be used by the Pakistani handlers of the terrorists to convey fresh instructions and cause heavier loss of innocent lives.
All this happened despite the fact that India had seen a number of terrorist attacks in its metropolitan cities. In 2008 alone, it saw such bloody and brutal attacks as eight serial blasts in Jaipur on May 13, which took away 80 lives; 17 serial blasts in Ahmedabad on July 26, which left 53 dead; and eight serial blasts in Delhi, which killed 26 people. Unfortunately, India remained incorrigible, tempting its adversaries to take advantage of its soft underbelly again and again.
The only terrorist caught alive in the Mumbai Attack is Ajmal Kasab .. In the interrogation’s Kasab confessed that he was from Faridkot in Pakistan. Kasab also confessed that he received training from the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
He also said that Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi a.k.a. “Chacha”, the senior commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, offered to pay his family Rs.150,000($2700) for his participation in the attacks. Also Kasab said that “Chacha” pledged to pay his family Rs.100,000($1800) after he becomes a martyr.
Initially the Government of Pakistan kept on denying that Kasab was from Pakistan, but later they accepted the fact.
Kasab has been sentenced to death for attacking Mumbai, and he is held responsible for killing 166 people on 26 November 2008 along with nine other terrorists.
Not surprisingly, all actions post-26/11 by the Indian and Maharashtra government, including the disposal of the bodies, met with no international opposition, barring some stray voices from Pakistan.