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2009 February 26 [Thursday]

Three months later

... Its been three months since the first terror attacks on Mumbai on Nov26 last year which was a haute topic of debate for the media ; certainly not a day easily forgotten. It should'nt be forgotten until justice is done either. By the time our Republic day dawned two months later, the heat reduced to glowing embers and it seemed that we would have to live with a failed police and judicial system, yet again.

Even though the Indian prosecutors managed to get their act together yesterday, with the Mumbai police filing a 11,280-page charge-sheet in the 26/11 attacks case, naming 35 Pakistanis as wanted suspects out of the 47 chargesheeted for terrorism ; I wont be alone holding my breath (literally) on this one, despite the public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam's promise of justice in 3-6 months.

The 284 VOIP calls the terrorists made have been traced to a serving Pakistani colonel but there are also news reports of an Italian link while the Japanese were into nuclear business with Pakistan which is intent on being as uncooperative as possible by raising polemic questions  :

Pakistan has sought an explanation, for example, why the terrorists’ maritime movements did not come to the attention of the Gujarat and Maharashtra governments and how their ship escaped the attention of India’s costal radar defences.

Given that Pakistan’s investigators are well aware that the terrorists reached Mumbai in a hijacked Indian fishing boat — a fact India’s dossier of evidence makes clear — the question is mystifying.

Its no secret that the US army is training Pakistan with a number of US military advisors but the USA has virtually no control on how the Pakistanis use the training against them (like the 26/11 attacks) a fact acknowledged for many years now.  Even the FBI is going to find it hard to get Pakistan to unravel its terror networks, especially when terrorists are intent on razing their home.

2009 January 26 [Monday]


As the Indian republic turns 60, it also ironically marks the second month-versary of the Mumbai attacks on 26 Nov last year. There was the initial outrage, brouhaha, etc.. for about a month ; then the dust began settling on the terrorism issue. Not surprising at all since the Indian media had jucier bytes to beam like the Satyam financial fraud issue, the Obama's oath ceremony and who can forget the desi stylists falling over themselves to comment on Ms.Obama's fashion sense.

When the attack occured 2 months ago, our politicians went into a tizzy in the ensuing media frenzy and gleefully gave media sound bytes bordering on hyperbole. The ex-CM of the Mahanarashtra state and his actor son took a film producer/director to the Taj hotel so he could get a first hand look at the terrorist's killing and carnage and faithfully reproduce an exaggerated over-hyped masala film with some sexy dance/item numbers thrown in for the masses.

Even the Dalai Lama called a spade a spade instead of pussy-footing like most others or hiding behind diplomasque. With politicians like the minister Antulay, who in Paliament indirectly suggested that the terrorists may not be from Pakistan but may be Hindus, India does'nt need enemies.  Despite Ajmal Amir (he also has a wikipedia page *eye-roll*) revealing that they attacked Mumbai to avenge the Mid-East/Israel gridlock, David Milliband manages to put his foot in his mouth with some faulty logic.  Since access to the USA is harder for Al-quaida, the ocean not withstanding, it makes strategic sense for Islamic jihadists to kill/strike at US citizens outside the USA in other countries like Mumbai and other parts of India, the probability of which is scarily plausible in the face of the ISI training women in terrorism tactics and not just poor Ajmal Amir's who want to become famous for all the wrong reason. Besides the geographical advantage, India is has amazingly high levels of corruption and scores of idiots who are inefficient and inept when it comes to delivering justice and clamping down on criminal activities. No really, you can get away with murder in India, literally !

Is Pakistan a terrorist state?? Not according to ex-Gen.Mussharraf who has a good sense of humor when he berates the USA (Obama government ?) thus :

"If you compare what you spent in Afghanistan, I believe I read an article where roughly 143 billion dollars have been spent in Afghanistan. What have you spent in Iraq? Maybe over a trillion dollars?"

Now that sounds like a subtle blackmail toned as whining for economic aid. Hmpf, so Pakistan is essentially telling the US and the world to "pony up the $$$ and then FO". Indirectly he just showed USA the middle finger as the $$$ will be used to create Al-queda sancturies.

Obama did not take kindly to being shown the middle finger but its too early in the game as Pakistan has always been good with international diplomacy while the Indian governtment fails abjectly on that front. They even managed to get China, (a communist country with abject human rights situation...Tibet anyone?) on their side by giving them carte blanche power to “sort out” this diplomatic tangle. Duh, now how did that happen ??

Pakistan managed to steal the limelight thanks to the jingoism our politicians indulged in, the sound bytes about how India reserves all right to wage war. A heir-in-waiting, Rahul Gandhi, is busy scoring brownie points with a morality spiel on how Indians only respect people who have money, authority and positions...err, how about giving up that Z+ security and Lyuten's bungalow for starters, Mr.Gandhi !?

Other ministers, including the Prime minister, did nothing beyond condemning the act vehemently as "outrageous" and engaged in empty rhetoric's. Although India had all the evidence in the form of : records of telephone conversation that took place between terrorist at Mumbai and coordinators in Pakistan ; written statements from the arrested terrorist ; his parents admission and identification that he is their son ; confirmation by international intelligence agencies (including US, UK, etc) ; captured weapons used by the terrorists with markings of ordinance factories located in Pakistan ; etc..... it appears that our external affairs ministry as usual failed to present the available evidence effectively ; to Pakistan Government as well as to international community. It is indeed pathetic to note that we are still sloppy in preparing our case sheet and are struggling to ensure 'to fix the offence committed on the offender without leaving any loophole'.

Amidst all this media drama, Pakistan was smart enough to deflect attention and play the victim while our government babus patted themselves on the back for the perfect media pitch, empty threats and sabre rattling, which only annoyed a lot of countries (including China the epitome of democracy). Red-herring's like "joint probes" and tangential unrelated issues like the Malegaon blasts and other diversionary tactics helped them subvert and play the innocent victim to good effect, leaving India foaming at the mouth. By the time the police and other criminal investigation agencies compile evidence to prepare the FIR, years would pass affecting the resolve and anger of the International community to punish Pakistan for promoting terrorism on its soil.

That is the crossroads India stands at on this 60th Republic day and its ironic that Netaji was choosen the youth icon on the occassion of his birthday last week. with politicians gleefully going the whole media hog over his janmashtami BUT yet every successive Indian government has always maintained a mysterious and deafening silence on Bose's death. Even his daughter thought we didnt do enough to remember her father. Hmm... maybe Dhar's book reveal the unknown mystery behind the PMO office destroying documents.  India may be a democratic state turning 60 which is a second coming of sorts, but frankly unless we pull up our socks and develop zero-tolerance to *corruption* we will not reach our full potential.

2008 December 7 [Sunday]

Does religion ask you to be violent?

The one thing that refuses to go away from my mind .... reading reports of the Jewish hostages being tied up and tortured before being killed. That they were killed painfully is extremely disturbing and for personal reasons. Around 195 died and included Hindus, Christians, Muslims, who who were killed in the attack but the terrorists didnt ask any of them the religion before they killed them except the Jews, who they decided to torture and then slaughter. That sounds so much like Aurangazeb torturing the last Maratha Peshwa alive, slowly skinning him whilst hanging him by his legs, for refusing to convert. That the last Peshwa chose to die a slow painful death on the 21'st day of torture, instead of converting to Islam, was something never taught in our history textbooks.

That lack of tolerance for another is similar in this singling out of the Jews. It irks me because I've lived for years in close proximity, shared innumerable laughs, tears, jokes, Sabbath's and Puja's with one such family who treated me as they would their own child. They were more Indian than most Indians - think long hair, sari, bindi .... and you know what I mean. I still remember the disapproving look I got for cutting my waist-length hair.

And that is why, it is disturbing and scary to even imagine that people you have known as a child and have grown-up with could be tortured and cruelly killed because they follow a different religion than you do.I am yet to overcome the fact that for some people religion is all about intolerance and fanaticism. Its a harsh truth, but it is.

Julio Riberio says his ancestors were Hindus from India and they never had an issue with getting along with other religions. I cant argue with that fact but its scary to think what India is degenerating into. We Indians are selfish, as after walking at a protest rally or blogging (like this), we will return to our excitingly mundane daily life until the next incident occurs and its time to repeat the circus all over again. Not to forget all the publicity-hungry stars who will hog the media bytes with inane comments about the spirit and tolerance of the the great Indian (re)public !! Talk of collective amnesia !! Easier to hold hands, have a candlelight vigil, and just impossible to control who gets voted from our constituency. THAT and Corruption would be two root causes of our misery. Our apathy is just icing on the cake for a public servant.

For a change the US got tough talking with Pakistan who acknowledge the terrorists were its nationals trained by the army and LeT. This has significance for both USA and other countries. Now that the LeT has tasted success it can strike at will anywhere in India, target all foreigners who come to India whether for business or pleasure. Since the LeT wants to take Jihad all over India and Jammu&Kashmir is their entry point in India they can almost succeed because there is not a single state in India without a sizable Muslim population which Indian politicians love to play around with. Its their vote-bank politics of divide and rule. If nothing else we have something to learn from the Americans who after 9/11 changed the way the world looks at terrorism. Yeah individual freedom and liberty was curbed but who wants a democracy where one can get away with murder, just like that!! Almost impossible in India due to vote-bank politics and public servants (read politicians) who will equate slain martyrs with dogs, whilst claiming the tag of 'world's largest democracy' ... but that exists only for them with the Z+ security, government bungalows and other perks that they enjoy at the expense of the tax-payers money. They need to learn a thing or two from TATA's generosity.

This slaughter would not have been possible without local traitors to help them in planning and logistics. Do we have the courage to kill the enemy within our midst? Isnt the quintessential chalta hai (take it easy!!) attitude responsible for the current mess? We talk of corruption, corrupt politicians, but are unable to do anything because it needs collective action. One individual cannot do it. It has to be a mass movement and should start with the public servant's accountability to the Indian tax-payer and voter(s). Each voter has a right to petition for a "Reject Candidate Vote" which was lost when the electronic voting was bought in. Earlier one could stamp on two candidate and nullify one's vote as a form of rejection. With electronic votes that is impossible. So I am forced to vote for a candidate I dont like (or choose the lesser evil) or Not vote at all (which is not even an option imho). So do we really have it in us to stop corruption once and for all or are we going to turn the other way because it didnt happen to us. Why are we waiting instead of being proactive? It should be mandatory for every 18 year old person (including women) to serve in the military for a period of 10 years. That would give people a real life perspective and force them to be more patriotic and live *equally* as common citizens which is not the case now.

In all this I feel sad for Moshe, the 2-year old orphan ...i wonder if he will ever overcome the trauma of his parents brutal murder just two days before his birthday. That will be a horrific fact he will have to relive all his life just days before his birthday each year. How cruel - What kind of religion asks you to be cruel, terrorize and indulge in mindless violence?

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