Sophistication and savagery in Ahmedabad
One of the most striking things about the weekend’s bomb attacks in Gujarat was the mixture of savagery and sophistication.
Savagery because of the way a second wave of bombs were detonated at a hospital, apparently to target the crowds of concerned relatives who had gathered there. Had they been watching Contract, a recently released Bollywood film with a similar plotline?
Sophistication because of the way the coordinated attack was planned and executed without the intelligence agencies getting a sniff of it, even though dozens of people must have been involved.
It also looks as though the IP address of an American living in Mumbai was hacked to send an email just before the first blasts. Perhaps the perpetrators remembered how Daniel Pearl’s kidnappers were traced in 2002 from a email sent from a cybercafe in Karachi. This time the sender of the email will be harder to trace.
The bombers also stayed one step ahead of the police by not using mobile phones to detonate Saturday’s blast. That allowed the bombers to detonate the second set of bombs without having to worry about the mobile phone network being closed down (as police in Bangalore did on Friday). It could also will rob the police of some potentially valuable leads.
By reportedly using old, rented bicycles instead of newly bought ones, as they did in Jaipur, the bombers may also have covered their tracks more carefully.
The email from the Indian Mujahideen was professionally put together, even if its message was one of hatred. In it, the group insisted that “each and every Mujahid belongs to this very soil of India”, and mocked the “cunning ones who call themselves the ‘Intelligence Bureau'”.
So far the police seem to have few leads on the Indian Mujahideen, but this level of sophistication and planning will undoubtedly lead some people to suspect the presence of a foreign hand.
It already has made some people wonder if India’s intelligence agencies are well enough equipped and resourced to cope with this sort of threat.
But there is one thing I simply do not understand. The email says the attacks targeted Gujarati Hindus. But if that was the case, why were some of the bombs left in the Muslim-dominated old city? But I guess the working of a Mujahid’s mind are not always easy to understand.