While the Indian government maintains that the militants responsible for the Mumbai attacks have been captured, skepticism exists about the verity of that claim. Ten terrorists are accounted for; one was captured alive and the rest were shot dead. However, is it truly possible that only ten terrorists carried out the immense attack on Mumbai, which occurred in at least 7 different sites? Eyewitnesses have made wide reports in the media of multiple terrorists at various sites of attack. Residents of Mumbai have widely stated on blogs on the Internet that they doubt that only 10 terrorists caused the severe havoc in Mumbai.
The London Times reports that on the Indian fishing trawler terrorists seized on their way to Mumbai there were supplies left behind that appeared to be the belongings of 15 people. Indian police report “Fifteen jackets were found, 15 toothbrushes.” Are the claims of only ten terrorists by India’s government false? Are an additional 5 terrorists now in hiding somewhere in Mumbai?
India’s populace is angry at the ineffective way the terror siege was handled. It seems unimaginable in this post 9/11 world that India did not have commandos stationed in Mumbai, the financial hub of India. It is widely reported that it took commandos over 5 hours to reach Mumbai once the terror siege started. Also, it is very peculiar that the waterfront area of Mumbai was left unmonitored and unprotected. With the financial sector of India located in Mumbai it would seem imperative for the city to keep the borders free from intruders and closely monitored.
For example, the streets in the waterfront areas in NJ where international boats arrive are monitored closely via video cameras and there are signs posted along the streets announcing that. I discovered this one day when I got a bit lost years ago driving to the Jersey Gardens mall and Ikea in Elizabeth, NJ for some holiday shopping and found myself in a remote area. I decided to do a quick u-turn when I noticed the signs warning of remote monitoring of the road. And yet NJ’s legislators are always announcing that the waterfront area needs much more protection from terrorism. Now it seems clear that Mumbai’s waterfront area needs much more protection too.
The London Times reports that the terrorist who was captured stated that the goal of the mission was to kill 5,000 people. He was “ordered to target whites (Britons and Americans.)” Thus it is very alarming if some terrorists are still loose in Mumbai.
Suspicion for the attack seems to focus with the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba; the captured terrorist has stated he was a member of this Pakistani organization. The New York Times quotes Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to America, who defines Lashkar-e-Taiba as a “Jihadi group of Wahhabi persuasion backed by Saudi money and protected by Pakistani intelligence.” Lashkar-e-Taiba is believed to have links to Al Qaeda. The captured terrorist said he did undergo commando training at a camp in Pakistan.
In the aftermath of the attacks, Shivraj Patil, India’s Home Minister, has resigned. All of the world is haunted by the images and descriptions of the attacks. The photo of commandos sitting in a bus after the Taj was cleared holding a “thank you” rose from India is unforgettable, as is the photo of an Indian police officer holding a small baby smeared with blood. I literally cringed each time I saw reports that the terrorists had stuffed grenades in the mouths of those murdered at the Taj. And the horror of the description of the 2-year-old child rescued from the Jewish center, whose pants were soaked with the blood of his murdered parents is so horrific it is impossible to comprehend. While everyday life continues around the globe a jihad movement against world financial centers and against certain countries rages on. It is hard to try to understand the new reality post 9/11 that any day, any where there may be more attacks against innocent people.
What lessons will Mumbai learn from this attack? What actions will the government take to ensure safety of residents and visitors in Mumbai? And finally, it must be asked, are there still terrorists from these attacks on the loose in Mumbai?