FEAR: One Year Later

Remembering the Mumbai Attacks

Arriving in small inflatable boats, ten gunmen carrying bags filled with weapons and ammunition launched attacks in luxury hotels, a busy train station and the Jewish Chabad House in Mumbai. The siege lasted for more than 60 hours.

At least 166 people lost their lives and more than 300 were wounded in the attacks which occurred November 26-29, 2008. The Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba has been held responsible for carrying out the three-day terror spree during which Westerners were taken hostage.

It's been a year since the people in Mumbai were terrorized and the buildings stand as stark reminders to the bloody rampage. Damage from rockets, grenades and bullets can still be seen in walls and pockmarked floors.

At least 166 people lost their lives and more than 300 were wounded in the attacks which occurred November 26-29, 2008.

Critics complained that the police were poorly trained and outgunned – some of whom were armed only with nightsticks. Some officers fled the scene while others were gunned down by the terrorists. The fear now is this could happen again.

Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi, is quoted as saying, "Nothing has changed to alter the vulnerabilities of Mumbai. The only institutions that can protect against terrorism are state institutions. They are failing to do so. As a result private institutions are being forced to spend large amounts of money on largely ineffective security."

Deven Bharti, a top city police official, claims that is not true.

"A whole process has been set in place," Bharti said. "We are much better prepared. We have learned our lessons."

The Israeli government has issued travel advisories and instructed its citizens not to stay in the area without an armed guard.

"There's no guarantee it will not happen again," said Orna Sagiv, Israel's consul general in Mumbai.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the attacks, indictments were handed down on the seven of the gunman in neighboring Pakistan. Another man is on trial in India. The men face the death penalty if convicted.

According to an Associated Press story, Pakistan has admitted the plot originated on its soil and took steps against Lashkar-e-Taiba, but many of Pakistan's officials are believed to remain sympathetic to its anti-Indian cause.

Lashkar-e-Taiba, which means Army of the Pure, operates militant training camps in the Pakistani portion of Kashmir. It was established in the early 1990s to reclaim territories it views as Muslim land, primarily the Indian-ruled portion of Kashmir.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was in Washington for a state dinner at the White House when he learned of the indictments, said the planners of the attacks are still free in Pakistan and issued a stern warning to Islamabad to punish the masterminds.

Lashkar-e-Taiba, which means Army of the Pure, operates militant training camps in the Pakistani portion of Kashmir. It was established in the early 1990s to reclaim territories it views as Muslim land, primarily the Indian-ruled portion of Kashmir.

The group came into the cross-hairs of the U.S. government recently following the arrests of David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana in Chicago (IL). The men, along with two unidentified Lashkar members, are alleged to have been involved in plotting to kill an editor and a cartoonist at the newspaper that published a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Muslim protests erupted worldwide.

Mumbai was known as Bombay until 1995. It is India's financial capital and its largest city. As of 2009, Mumbai is also the largest city in the world in terms of population.

Although Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving today, it's also important to remember those who lost their lives in this vicious attack and those who are mourning them on this first anniversary.

Citations:

  • Bloggers Unite - Remembering the Mumbai Attacks
  • NY Daily News - Pakistan indicts seven for aiding Mumbai attacks on eve of one year anniversary of massacre in India
  • Boston The Big Picture - excellent pictures
  • Wikipedia - Mumbai
  • Seattle PI - Pakistan charges 7 suspects in Mumbai attacks
  • Statesman - Mumbai still vulnerable 1 year after attack
  • Statesman - Pakistan indicts 7 in Mumbai terror attacks
  • KXAN - 7 suspects charged in Mumbai attacks
  • Associated Press writers Asif Shahzad, Ashraf Khan and Erika Kinetz



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