November 27, 2008
The cleanup operation in Mumbai are still ongoing as the police and army search and fight through two big hotels that were attacked. The latest casualties numbers are 125 dead, 327 injured.
As said before, there is something weird about these attacks.
There was no clear target.
The major attacks were on a railway station, two big hotels, a multiplex movie theater and a bar. Two taxis were blown up. Two terrorists allegedly were at a hospital.
Of the dead only 6 were foreigners, of the wounded 7. While those hotels and the bar frequently have foreigners those numbers and the attack on the railway station and the cinema do not fit to an "attack on foreigners" scheme.
There also seams to be no special religious anti-Muslim or anti-Hindi scheme in this as no place of worship was attacked.
The attacks, even while there were a lot of casualties, seem not designed to cause the maximum number of dead. One would do that with explosives within the crowded railway station. Not by shooting into the masses or by blowing up a random taxi.
There were no suicide bombings. Apparently there was no hostage taking either. But the attackers did not care or prepare to get away either. Instead they waited for the police and then had a shootout at each place.
The group that allegedly claimed the attack has never been heard of. For maximum international media attention thanksgiving is not a good day.
This coordinated attack brought out all anti-terror units in Mumbai. That, I think, might have well been the intended aim. The attacks seem to have been designed to do and to create direct battle situations with the anti-terror forces.
Here is my conspiracy theory:
The right-wing, Hindu-nationalist BJP party is competing with the
ruling Congress party for upcoming elections. A big election theme is
On September 28 a bomb blast in Malegaon, some 150 miles north of Mumbai, killed four and injured 80.
Two years before in a series of bombings at a Muslim cemetery in
Malegaon 31 were killed and over 100 wounded. Most were Muslim, but the
local police then pointed to some people from the Student Islamic Movement of India as the culprits.
The investigation of this years blast in Malegaon was carried out
by the Anti Terrorism Squad from the state capitol Mumbai under its
chief Hemant Karkare. It figured that a right-wing nationalist Hindu
groups, which included some former higher ranking military and had some
ties to the BJP, was the culprit.
It is an ongoing huge investigation which has had loud echoes in the parliament and the election campaigns.
A week ago Hemant Karkare was in a tussle with the nationalist BJP:
Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Thursday invoked the stringent
Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the ten
accused arrested so far in the September 29 Malegaon blast case.
One more suspect would be arrested soon, ATS chief Hemant Karkare said at a press conference.
Rebutting senior BJP leader L K Advani's
charge, Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad said there was no political
pressure on it in handling the Malegaon blast probe nor was there any
substance in the charge that accused Lt Col P S Purohit was tortured in
"There is zero political pressure and we are working professionally.
Purohit has said in open court that ATS has not ill treated him," ATS
head Hemant Karkare said.
Two days ago Karkare received death threats:
The Pune cyber cell officer on Tuesday received a call from an unknown
caller who issued death threat to Mumbai's Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS)
chief Hemant Karkare, TV channels reported.
Yesterday Hemant Karkare was killed when he responded to the attack on the Taj hotel (video showing him preparing to go in).
All together four top anti-terror policemen were killed.
Police Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare was among the
dead. Two Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, additional police
commissioners Ashok Kamte and Sadanand Date, were killed in separate
gun battles with terrorists, the authorities said.
Mumbai Police "encounter specialist" Vijay Salaskar were also shot
dead in another gun battle. Karkare was heading investigations into
several recent cases of terrorist attacks here.
All four were in the first response wave against the attacks. Salaskar was
a Mumbai top response officer with 75 criminals killed on his list.
Kamte was the key officer in the state police and known to be 'in the
thick of it'.
Karkare died when he tried to enter the Taj hotel. Kamte and Salaskar died at the multiplex.(I could find out about Date.)
In total 14 police were killed and 26 wounded.
These are high numbers. How many of them were ambushed?
With Karkare dead, the investigation into the Malegaon explosions
and their backers will likely be postponed until after the election.
Meanwhile BJP leader Advani is milking the attacks as good as he can:
BJP's prime minister-in-waiting's remarks makes it clear that the party
is going to ratchet up its "soft-on-terror'' campaign against the
Manmohan Singh government in the coming days. While the latest serial
attacks are likely to boost its prospects in the ongoing assembly
polls, it is expected to add more strength to its anti-terror tirade.
The party is certain to spare no effort to bring the issue towards the
centre of the country's political discourse in the run-up to the
While the party stated that the priority
was "to bring the seize to a close with the least amount of casualty",
the larger questions were not far behind. "Such a well-orchestrated
attack could not have taken place without a long and large scale
conspiracy, we hope that the political establishment, security
agencies, and the country as a whole would draw the right lessons from
the incident. We need to strengthen our intelligence network and have a
strong legal and security mechanism to fight terror," BJP general
secretary Arun Jaitley stated.
From asking "Qui
bono?" I arrive at the BJP's door.
The attack, designed to created
fight-outs with police, killed the man who was the biggest danger for
the BJP as he was revealing Hindu terrorism
and made the BJP campaign against Muslim terrorism seem bigot. The
current attack, which will reliably be charged on some Muslim entity, will help
the BJP win against the Congress party.
But me arriving at that door does not mean that the BJP really is responsible here, I only find it possible to likely.