India cannot pin all the blame on outsiders

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November 28, 2008

Radical Islamist terrorism has flourished among the sub-continent’s seething mixture of racial and religious rivalries

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Images of that great Bombay monument, the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, engulfed in flames and thick billowing smoke cannot help but recall the collapsing twin towers of 9/11. The attack seems to bear all the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda operation.

The terrorists chose Bombay (Mumbai), the New York of India; they targeted iconic buildings – the Taj and the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station, the flamboyant mini-St Pancras that is redolent of the Raj-era glory days. The terrorists are reported to have been daring in their approach – they arrived by sea not far from the Raj’s 1911 monument to itself, the basalt Gateway of India.

The Bombay outrage is a reminder of how crucial South Asia is in the creation of radical Islamist terrorism. Although the US often points the finger at Europe as its main incubator, it is in the sub-continent and the surrounding arc of states, simmering with ethnic and religious rivalries, that Islamist extremism thrives. Continue reading

How the attack on Mumbai was planned

Vicky Nanjappa and Krishnakumar in Mumbai | November 29, 2008 | 06:20 IST

Investigators working on the Mumbai terror attack have unearthed vital information about how the terrorists managed to enter Mumbai.

The interrogations of the two arrested terrorists, Abu Ismail and Ajmal Kamal, have revealed that 20 men were involved in the terror attack. While eight terrorists set up base in Hotel Trident and Taj Mahal Hotel, 12 others came to Mumbai in a boat.

Intelligence Bureau officials are trying to verify if the terrorists came in through the Persian Gulf.

The arrested terrorists have revealed that they hijacked two fishing boats and used them to come to Mumbai, armed with guns and ammunition. Continue reading

Mumbai locals helped us, terrorist tells cops

MUMBAI Did some Mumbai locals provide support to the Pakistani terrorists? Azam Amir Kasab, the only Pakistani terrorist nabbed alive, has revealed names and addresses of at least five people from the city who helped the terror operation.
Sources said that help like, providing shelter, taking them around and showing places, passing information on police stations and nakabandhis were given by these locals. Joint commissioner of police (crime) Rakesh Maria said,”We suspect there could be local assistants but it is subject to verification. It will be very premature to comment on this at this stage as our investigations is going on.”
Kasab has told police that they were sent with a specific mission of targeting Israelis to avenge atrocities on Palestinians. This was why they targetted Nariman House, a complex meant for Israelis. Sources said Kasab’s colleagues killed in the operation had stayed in Nariman House earlier.
“They have stayed in Nariman house on rental basis identifying themselves as Malaysian students.” said a source. Police are trying to find out how Nariman House rooms were given to non-Jews. Police has taken all the records books of for verification. The second target was the CST railway station because casualties would be high.
Crime branch has also recovered several fake identity and credit cards from the belongings of dead terrorists. “All the cards are in different names and of different banks. Now we are at least trying to figure out how they procured credit cards from various banks.” said Maria. The recovery of so many cards with different names have led Mumbai police to suspect the involvement of ISI.
Though Maria maintained only 10 terrorists had sneaked in, the two blasts in taxis in Wadi Bunder and Vile Parle have led the police to believe there could be possibility of the presence of another two or more terrorists in the city.

Mumbai atrocities highlight need for solution in Kashmir

Jihadi groups will exploit Muslim grievances unless peace can be brought to the troubled state

Three weeks ago, in the Kashmiri capital of Srinagar, I met a young surgeon named Dr Iqbal Saleem. Iqbal described to me how on 11 August this year, Indian security forces entered the hospital where he was fighting to save the lives of unarmed civilian protesters who had been shot earlier that day by the Indian army. The operating theatre had been tear-gassed and the wards riddled with bullets, creating panic and injuring several of the nurses. Iqbal had trained at the Apollo hospital in Delhi and said he harboured no hatred against Hindus or Indians. But the incident had profoundly disgusted him and the unrepentant actions of the security forces, combined with the indifference of the Indian media, had convinced him that Kashmir needed its independence. Continue reading

Patrick Cockburn: Pakistan is the root of the problem

The West can’t now lecture the Indian government about over-reacting

Saturday, 29 November 2008

I used to look out from the balcony of a first floor room in the al-Hamra hotel in Baghdad thinking that one day the hotel would be attacked and wondering from which direction the attack would come.

The general consensus among the correspondents and security men in the Hamra, which boasted 65 armed guards, was that the weak point in our defences was the single blast wall about 30 yards from the back of the hotel. On the other side of it was a public car park which anybody could enter.

The consensus view turned out to be all too correct. I was out of the hotel on 18 November 2005 when two vehicles driven by suicide bombers entered the car park. The first rammed the concrete wall and detonated his explosives, the idea being that the blast would open a breach enabling the second vehicle, packed with 1,000kg of explosives to reach the hotel. Continue reading