India Insight

The nightmare on television screens is real

Just returned from the Oberoi where hundreds are still inside – Indians, foreigners, cooks and cleaners. London in 2005, Mumbai trains 2006.

Each time I follow the same movements – learn what, locate where, retrieve family, check team, do phoners, make frantic calls with London desks.

And then reflect… strangely I was in both hotels just hours before Wednesday’s attacks.

Heavy security at the Taj in place since Islamabad Marriot bombing had just been lifted. As I entered to pick up a cake at 6 p.m., I pushed my way around a metal detector. I was in a hurry, the security guard gave me a knowing glance.

At 6:30 p.m. I was at the Oberoi – I walked in for a haircut (I have a thing for the hotel’s traditional barber shop). In the lobby two heavily decorated Maharashtra police officers chatting. One carrying a wooden baton with shiny metal tips. How odd it looked – what would it be used for I wondered… a marching band?

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.

Security personnel search for evidence near a bomb blast site in Ahmedabad July 27, 2008. REUTERS/Amit DaveSavagery 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.

Timing of Jaipur blasts will raise suspicion of Pakistani hand

Are militants, or even hawks within the Pakistani establishment, trying to undermine the peace process with India, now that President Pervez Musharraf has removed his uniform and civilians are squabbling for power?

A injured man receives treatment after a series of bomb blasts in Jaipur May 13, 2008. REUTERS/Vinay Joashi via You Witness NewsThe dust has scarcely settled on another horrific bomb attack in India, and the investigation has only just begun into the synchronised blasts in Jaipur that killed around 60 people .

It is still far too early to be drawing any firm conclusions, but the timing of the blasts is already making some people wonder whether Pakistan was involved.

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