India Insight

Is Kasab’s death enough closure in the Mumbai attacks?

“If you hear the sound of a bullet, kneel, and if you have to move, then crawl, don’t run.”

Those are not the first words you want to hear when you arrive to cover an assignment — but then this wasn’t just any assignment. I was at Nariman House in Colaba to cover the attack that came to be known as 26/11.

On Wednesday, four years later, that story finally got some sort of closure, after the lone gunman captured during the Mumbai attacks was hanged. But for those who were a part of those dark days of 2008, whether real closure will come because of this one act of justice is a tough question to answer.

India is no stranger to militant attacks and Mumbai has seen many incidents targeting several of its icons — the stock market, the local train system and the Taj Mahal hotel. Every attack brings a new set of questions and very few answers.

Having covered the train blasts and the 26/11 blasts in Mumbai, it’s safe to say residents of the city aren’t looking for closure as much as looking for assurances that something like this wouldn’t happen again.

Kasab and mercy petitions: win for now, challenge for future

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters)

It seemed like a typical Wednesday, at least till the morning calm was shattered by the din of television channels announcing the execution of perhaps India’s most hated villain — Mohammad Ajmal Kasab.

On the morning of Nov. 21, India hanged Kasab, the only surviving member of a militant squad that attacked Mumbai in 2008. His hanging, just days before the fourth anniversary of the attacks, was done amid great secrecy, perhaps fearing a violent backlash.

Time for India to start talking to Pakistan?

It has been more than a year since the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai and many commentators have been advocating restarting the peace process between India and Pakistan.

Is the time ripe?

The pKASHMIR/rocess that seemed to have restarted with Sharm-al-Sheikh statement stalled after the outcry in India over the statement’s drafting and the subsequent revelations about David Headley.

But a major development since has been Obama’s new strategy for Afghanistan which involves a troop surge and announcement of a tentative withdrawal date around July 2011.

India’s 26/11 – religion no bar

A year ago, after the three-day siege of Mumbai ended and people took to the streets with candles and banners, a group of young Muslim men, carrying a hand-written poster, walked quietly with the surging crowds.

Seeing them, people began to clap spontaneously, applauding their assertion that Islam was a religion of peace, and not terrorism.

Since then, people in Mumbai, which has witnessed some of the worst communal riots in the country in the past, have come together in their grief, crossing barriers erected by politicians in the name of religion.

26/11 – Lasting images, limited impact?

Ahead of the first anniversary of the Mumbai attacks, India’s financial hub is on heightened alert.

Metal detectors and scanners “beep” in office blocks and malls, snipers and sniffer dogs keep guard at hotels, and barricades are in place around high-profile locations. And various talking heads have made power point presentations to show the city is now safer.

In the past year, several measures have been put in place to tighten security in Mumbai, including a hub for elite commandos, and new weapons, armoured vehicles and speedboats for the police.

Is the Lashkar-e-Taiba plotting another Mumbai?

The Jamestown Foundation, a U.S.-based think tank, has warned of a renewed threat to India from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

It quotes intelligence sources as saying the LeT’s marine wing may be planning a Mumbai-type incursion to target vital installations in the coastal states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa.

The group is also reported to have funneled huge amounts of money from its Gulf-based networks to fund activities in India.

from India Masala:

The Mumbai gawkers

 

Imagine taking a DJ to a funeral or U.S. President George W Bush taking Oliver Stone along to Ground Zero after the 9/11 attack. Would you call it inappropriate? I think the word doesn’t even begin to describe Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s actions on Sunday afternoon.

On a visit to the ravaged Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, he was accompanied by his son, actor Riteish Deshmukh, and filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, both of them strolling around as if it were a normal walk in the park.

That a city already grappling with rage and grief had to see images of Varma walking around the Taj like he was location hunting for a new film, speaks volumes about the sheer apathy and callousness of the people in power.

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