TERROR IN MUMBAI : THE TEARS & THE TENACITY OF MUMBAIKARS AND SOME STRONG REFLECTIONS

Time Flies fast… Terror Strikes Fast too… It’s been a week since South Mumbai was audaciously assaulted by Ten Terrorists who held the City as hostage for Sixty Long Hours 

We’ve just finished a round of Funerals and Prayers Meetings… My thirteen year old daughter lost a classmate… a budding twelve year old boy…. Another of her classmate lost both her parents and a third classmate lost his father…. My Nineteen year Old Son lost a Teacher who taught him at school and two of his friends lost their fathers… all to this senseless Terror that struck us on Wednesday night, last week

A Child is the Father of Man… Look at what some of these ‘fathers’ are saying… others are speaking through their distraught eyes and face

“I don’t want to live Now… I want to live in the Future”

“Daddy, you will take care of me, No ?

” Dad, How did these terrorists get in ? Was there no security?

“I want to live in a Safe World”

“Mom and Dad,I want to sleep with you”

“Mom,Can you come with me to the Bathroom ?”   

“Daddy, promise you won’t fight with Mummy from now”

“Why do we have so many holidays?”

While Tears Flowed, and we died too with those who really did, so did the Tenacity flow to fight back Terror and not let the Terrorists have the Final Word

Hotel Leopold, where the terrorists struck first, opened within days to a full house…. Citizens across the nation have organised mass protests raising demands on the Establishment to take action now especially against Pakistan…. “Enough is Enough”…. It’s not just a War on Mumbai, but a War on India… Schools and Colleges and Offices have all reopened…. Stock and commodity markets opened within a day of the first strike…. Communities have rallied behind each other and against politicians who wield power and influence in Mumbai and misuse it… Citizen outrage has quickly and rightly taken victims in the resignation of both the Home Ministers at State and Country levels…our CM however yet is trying to cling on to his post !… Coalition Partner,the NCP,instead of behaving like patriots are simply creating more political mayhem by opposing alternative candidates for the CM to protect their vested interests

It was on Tuesday, just a day before the strike, that we had graced the Awards Function of the Inter school Mahatma Gandhi Elocution Competition to applaud our daughter who had won the second prize… She had chosen for this elocution, Gandhiji’s passionate and powerful address just a day before he was assassinated in which he had said that in the event he was assassinated, he would forgive his assassins… The Father of our Nation who preached and practised Non-Violence and Peace and Forgiveness and warned that “An Eye for an Eye would only make the whole world go Blind”

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MISSION MUMBAI : TACKLING TERRORISM : IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED IN THE AFTERMATH OF THIS 26/11 TERRORIST ATTACK

We begin December today with Terrorists in Mumbai closing out November for us

Below I have bulletted what I strongly believe should be an Initial Charter of Action that should be Demanded of our Government after this Terrible Terrorist Attack on us in South Mumbai

Terrorists don’t time their attacks based on whether it’s a Congress led coalition or a BJP led one ruling India… so there is no political or religious bias in what I suggest…. I am only concerned with Civilian Security and to ensure a safe  and peaceful and healthy place to live and bring up our Children

  • Give Statehood to MUMBAI… make it distinct from rest of Maharashtra and let it have it’s own autonomous administration led by a Board of Technocrats and Professionals…This will bring in Accountability, Responsibility, Effective Governance and Transperancy and Less Corruption….. I’m not being condescending but let the Politicians and Ministers who come from the interiors of the State and could not care any less for our Mumbai go back to Sangli and Baramati and Kolhapur and manage those areas and cash rich cricket boards and clubs and trusts… and not with Monies raised from Mumbaikars….. This is not a new Idea but it has been vehemently protested by the politicians across all political parties for obvious reasons of losing their Seat of Power and Influence and with it their gateway to vulgar levels of corruption  
  • Both the Patils, Our Home Ministers at State and Centre levels at the time of the Terrorist Attack, should stay at Home….. Shivraj Patil at the Centre resigned yesterday and none too soon…it took Nine Terrorist Attacks in Cities all over India and immense pressure on him from even within his own Congress Party,before he has done so…Why was he made the Home Minister in the first place when all of India knew he was simply and downright unfit for this Job !? Was it a delibrate and sinster appointment !?..If you have seen Hindi Movies like ‘Dus’ you’ll know what I mean !  and our own Dy CM and State Home Minister, R R Patil resigned this morning…How bloody insensitive of him to make a statement in Hindi that was aired across all channels that translates to “In such a big City,one or two such tragedies happen and it does not mean there is a total  failure”…. Mr Patil, this is not just one or two such tragedies !… it is ‘THE’ Tragedy !
  • Our Chief Minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh, should quit his post… He just did not act on several and recent and specific Intelligence reports that there was a high possibility of such an attack… He also had just no business to take his film actor son and his director friend, known for his Mafia based movies, to the Taj to view the destruction… If there was an intention by this Director to make a Movie starring the CM’s Son, based on this Tragedy or seek some direct  first hand inputs for any movie on Terrorism,this  would have been nipped in the Bud by the Media and Public Outrage on his presence at the Taj ! He ofcourse denies he has such plans and was there just by co-incidence! Why not you and I also be part of the CM’s entourage just by co-incidence !?!…. I believe the CM has already offered to resign to the Congress High Command and has left the decision to them if they feel a CM is responsible for what happened ! Mr Deshmukh,pray tell me,who else should be if not the Governing Head !?…. we need a proactive as well as a quick reactive trained professional to head Mumbai
  • We must immediately ask the Swiss Government to direct Swiss banks to send us the List of all Indians and Indian Entities who have Swiss Bank Deposits in their direct names or are the ultimate beneficiaries or are even the power of attorney holders… Indians have hoarded over US $ 1.5 Trillion of ill gotten and undisclosed wealth in Swiss Banks…. Much of this Wealth is used to fund Financial and Physical Terrorism… 25000 of the 80000 Indians who visited Switzerland last year were not tourists… Don’t they realise that in the ultimate analysis this is all Immaterial material Wealth... as Kuldip Nayar practically suggested in his recent column, let all of them bring the monies back to India and be allowed to keep Two thirds of it and give them immunity from any prosecution   
  • India should petition the IMF to revoke their decision to grant US $ 7.6 Billion Emergency Aid to Pakistan to save the country from going bankrupt for now… Who knows how this Money will be spend !? Maybe some would be diverted to funding purchases of arms and ammunition and supporting Terrorist camps !?
  • Immediately Station a NSG Crack Commando Unit of over 100 men in Mumbai… They are our Heroes…. Why the Hell is the NSG Unit based only in New Delhi !?..Only to Protect our Politicians at the Centre!… Many Politicians simply don’t deserve any Security,especially ‘Z’ Category… Stated bluntly on CNN-IBN by one of the NSG Commando Leaders ” We wish we could have come in earlier than the Nine Hours we took after the attack… it was because of the Distance and other constraints and the reading of situation by the State we were unable to do so”. A major hurdle was the unavailiabilty of a Plane immediately to fly them into Mumbai…. Today, in double quick time, the proposal of NSG’s own Air Fleet, lying on a back burner for a long time, has been passed 
  • As Mumbai contributes over 50% of Taxes,make it mandatory to allocate half of this to the Maintenance and Development of Mumbai only…. Unless this is enforced,Millions of Mumbaikars should simply stop paying taxes as suggested by a concerned Mumbaikar on a show on this Terrorist Attack last night that was broadcast in the popular TV Show, ‘We the People’ … a regular Sunday Night show on NDTV 
  • Maharashtra has 740 kms of a porous coastline…. Smuggling of Arms and Ammunition and Drugs through it is not uncommon…. Earlier it was Gold and Electronic Goods that were smuggled through this coastline… How do we plug this ? The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard need to immediately strengthen their monitoring and patrolling the seas and coastline as also their Intelligence network… Men, Money and Machine Resources should be allocated on a priority basis for this. Interestingly, the President of the Maharashtra’s Fisherman’s Union was informed in August this year by his friend, Devbhai Bhatia,a fisherman in Gujarat that four or five people who had secured Fishing Licenses had nefarious plans to smuggle in Arms and Ammunition in large quantities into Mumbai. This warning was conveyed by letter to the DCP responsible for patrolling South Mumbai’s coastline, State Home Ministry and other concerned authorities… In fact,so important and urgent  was this information, that Devbhai Bhatia himself came in to Mumbai to meet the DCP, but was unable to do so. No action was taken on this letter….. an extremely serious Intelligence lapse  
  • Police should be made accountable only to the Law and not  to Politicians….. This would remove corruption and interference in their operations… The Supreme Court has even passed a judgement on this that does not allow Politicians to transfer out Police Officers from sensitive Postings to facilitate their own vested interests… However our Politicians blatantly continue to do so… The Law must be amended to allow the Supreme Court to be both proactive and reactive and initiate proceedings against politicians, bureacrats and others in the public and private domain without awaiting a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) or a complaint being filed… A watchdog authority needs to be created in the Supreme Court to go quickly into the merits of each circumstance and recommend immediate proceedings in a fast track court if necessary
  • Carpet Bomb the Terrorist Training Sites identified by our Intelligent sources across our borders… USA is already attacking tribal areas in Pakistan to kill off Al-Qaeda and the Taliban who are well entrenched in the North West Mountainous Border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan… This Civilian Pakistan Government simply cannot control and govern this area… has no will or capability to do so…. and  USA knowing this impotency has taken matters into their own hands despite Pakistan whining about infringement of it’s sovereignty… If our sensitive and tense relations with Pakistan restrain us from adopting such direct attack measures,we should have the USA do this for us…We cannot keep on relying on political assurances given by Pakistan that it will not allow it’s soil to be used for Terrorist Training and launchpads for attacks… There is enough clinching evidence of  Terrorists Links with Pakistan… the problem is that there is an internal challenge itself in Pakistan where Hardliners in the ISI and the Army and even in Islamic Religious Set up are literally and figuratively up in arms with the Moderates who are trying hard to initiate a peace process with India…. The Pakistan President, Mr Asif Ali Zardari continues to assure us that if at all they exist and when found, he will wipe off all Terrorist Training Camps in his country. Mr Zardari, the whole world knows where these Camps are in your country…. evidence has been provided to you by both, India and USA…… probably even Google Earth has captured them on Satellite !… How is it that you profess not to know !?… or is it that you conveniently call them Freedom Fighters and not Militants or Terrorists and so technically they are not Terrorist camps in your eyes !? If you really bleed and empathise and want to cooperate fully as you have committed for these Terrorist attacks in India, then walk your talk and  begin to demonstrate your support in action and not mere words by allowing us to come into your country and wipe out these Camps… also extradite to India the top five from the “Most Wanted” List already provided to you. There is direct evidence to link them to Terrorism in India. If you deny that they are on your soil or are unaware of their whereabouts then simply try this exercise…. Write a letter to them and just put their name and your country’s name on the Envelope and post it… Your Postal Service will deliver it and also bring back to you their reply ! 

Sadly we can only lament that none of our Politicians are Statesmen or Leaders…Leaders would have put the Country before Self….Corruption and Criminality in Politics has become systemic….. This poison has now compromised our Security and even demoralised our Security Forces… Our Defence and Police Forces are fighting Terrorists and Militants and Naxalites and even defending our Borders so we can sleep at night…. and what does our Political and Bureacratic set up do !?.. they debate the quantity of provisions provided at subsidised prices to the armed forces and downgrade their position levels against those in the Bureacratic Civil Services to deliberately create salary inequalities !

Want a whiff of the state of demoralisation of our Mumbai police ?… A Traffic Policmen in South Mumbai had a revealing conversation with me some time ago.He stated passionately that he was willing to even lay down his life for his Commissioners in the line of duty,but for the fact, he cursed, that some of the Commissioners themselves are such “BCs” and “MCs” and corrupt to the core… what he meant was the rot was top down and the Police  was at the mercy and bidding of Politicians at the Helm 

Most Politicians and Bureacrats and Celebrity Citizens are Hypocrites and live serious double standards…. You’re not patriotic just because you hoist the Indian Flag and stand at attention while our National Anthem is being played or play “Heroes” in Patriotic Films or endorse “Say No to Drugs’ Campaigns… you preach one thing and practise another !.. As M J Akbar rightly pointed out in his column in Times of India yesterday that these Bollywood stars should know that the drugs they snort are also smuggled through the same sea route that these terrorists came through ! 

While I’m dying in a terrorist attack I can already hear R R Patil saying “In a country of nearly 1.2 billion people, such a death, here and there, happens!”  

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South Mumbai breathes again after Three Days of Terrorist Hell !

I’m trembling, numb, frustrated, angry, sad, shocked, helpless, speechless and even in tears by a senseless terrorist act that involved senseless killings of soft targets by terrorists who did not even spare Women and small Children… shooting indiscrimately at point blank ranges

Are we living on a civilised planet !? How do we bring up our children on this planet !? 

This Terrorist Hell began in South Mumbai on the night of Wednesday, November 26, 2008 and we salute our Security Forces,especially the Marine Commandos and the National Security Guard (NSG), for ending it this morning

Eleven Terrorists have been chased and killed and one captured. 195 people have died in their strike including a top encounter specialist, the head of our anti terrorist squad, an Army Major assigned to NSG duty and an Additional  Commisioner of Police

These Terrorists came in by Sea and struck Terror at several places including at the Taj and Trident Luxury Hotels in South Mumbai entering them on Wednesday night and firing indiscriminately at Hotel Staff and Guests in the Lobbies and Restaurants and even Rooms…. they were well armed and well trained and knew the hotel layout, having conducted recees in months earlier.

We, Indians, salute our Security Forces,especially the NSG for quick and effective action and flushing out these evil men and killing them and their plans to blow up these Hotels that are icons for India’s growing Economic Strength

Our Coward Politicians who hide behind these NSG Black Cat Protection, should learn Life’s lessons from these very same  NSG Commandos… Humility, Selflessness, Patriotism, Sense of Duty, Professionalism… Commandos were humility and patriotism personified when they were interviewed on TV….. “it is our duty” …”We will protect everytime and not leave any terrorist from where ever they come” On being appreciatively queried how they are able to “Keep Smiling”  one of them said “That’s our strength and spirit and morale booster” .

NSG, WE ‘SALAAM’ YOU !

While immediate Family and Close Friends are safe, we sadly lost a few who we personally knew, who were dining or staying at the Hotels on this Fateful Wednesday Night

Many Politicians across parties in Maharashtra and even around our Nation should be shamed in their insensitiveness and ineptness in handling this crisis and not thinking twice in trying to extract political mileage from this crisis

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