Yet another blast. Yet another one in India! Yet another one in the city of Mumbai… on 26 November, 2008. But there is more. Attacks at 7 locations. A city under siege. By not more than a handful of terrorists; 10 to be precise. Armed with grenades, AK-47s and stunning levels of motivation. The entire drama lasted for 3 days. And all that we could do was sit and watch. Yes. Sit and watch… As more and more people died by every passing minute, putting the final toll at 188 deaths (141 Indian civilians, 17 policemen and 30 foreigners from 10 different countries) and leaving 294 people injured.
What followed the carnage followed a pattern that is so unique to India. Statements, investigations, resignations, finger pointing, condolences, promises, visits from foreign diplomats (from a country that refused to accept terrorism as an international threat till September 11, 2001), condemnations, threat of yet another war with a neighbour (who is all the time busy in affairs outside of his own country) and more importantly assurances from world super powers that those responsible for these attacks will not be spared. Everything seems too rehearsed. Everything seems to follow a very strange pattern.
What’s even more hurting were the irresponsible statements from our beloved politicians. Yes! As if the shock, loss of life and the shame India face was not enough, the politicians rubbed salt with their statements. The Chief Minister of Kerala, V S Achuthanandan dared to insult the family of a slain NSG Commando Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. And here is what he said “Not even a dog would have looked that way had it not been Sandeep’s house”. Shocked? Now watch him say that…
And here is the vice-President of a national party – BJP (should I not mention names?), Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s statement on the protestors in Mumbai. “Why do some women, wearing lipsticks and powders are protesting against the politicians on the streets of Mumbai?” he asked. He thinks that women wearing lipsticks and powders can’t be responsible and sensitive to issues regarding their (read national) security. Perhaps!
There is more. Here is what the Deputy Chief Minister and the Home Minister of the State of Maharashtra (Mumbai is the capital city of Maharashtra) has to say when he was asked if the terror strike was an intelligence failure, “It is not like that. In big cities like this, small incidents do happen. It’s is not a total failure”. It’s a small incident according to him. Do you wonder what then a big incident according to him is? Keep wondering. Plus, it’s not a total failure for him. Does that mean there is more to come?
It’s hard to think of a time when the Government of India looked so shamefully like a wretched bunch of wimps than today, when strong leadership is so needed. These politicians were elected by you and me. Is it time to feel ashamed? Yes indeed. But let’s also think again. Better late than never.