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I have posted enough for today and I really need to get back to work. No amount of writing is going to repair this devastation in my heart. Yet, as I read this article about Raj Thackeray's response to the Mumbai terror crisis, I can't help but write. He would probably understand this as a fiery response. After all flaming emotions seem to be his forte.

I get the impression that Karkare saved Mumbai from the seige. Not to get me wrong, I applaud his deidcation and bravery, but hey, he died as the curtains rose on this show. No comment on the NSG? Or are they disposable since they are not Maharashtrians?

I wasn't too bothered about all the sarcasm about his being MIA in the time of his beloved Mumbai's crisis - after all, what could he do? His strength is not in fighting, and while its possible he could have talked the terrorists to death, I doubt if Mumbai was willing to risk time on it.

In a time when the country is shattered with this unexpected and unbelievable massacre, Raj actually seems to be a step ahead of the other politicians in making selfish and inane comments. "The officers of the calibre of Karkare and his colleagues Salaskar and
Kamte who led from the front in combating terrorists had done
Maharashtra proud with their supreme sacrifice."Not just Maharashtra, idiot! The country, the world, every humane person on this planet.

What put me into this flaming gear is "What needs to be condemned is the politics played by the ruling coalition in directing ATS to go after Hindu organisations and in the process ignoring the real danger of 'Islamic terrorism' that held Mumbai hostage." To be fair, its a common ailment of all politicians. ATS is not your (or anyone's) maid servant or pet dog. You can't 'direct' them to 'go after' anything (or at least shouldn't be able to - though I guess vandalizing a few places will make them cautious out of concern for this country).

For all these politicians, I'd like you to understand politics is politics and investigations are investigations. If you can't respect those boundaries, if you can't resist manipulating where you shouldn't, stop pretending that you are interested in the welfare of the country. You wouldn't like cops telling you how to run the country. Stop telling them how to keep it safe.

More than that, quit using the country's pain to peddle your political interests.

If you really respect the sacrifice of Karkare, read this and understand how politics hinder the process of keeping this country safe. "I don't know why this case has become so political," was one of Karkare's first comments. "The pressure is tremendous and I am wondering how to extricate it from all the politics."

Where is your humaneness? Where is your shock, sorrow, concern, uncertainty, caring....?

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I just can't seem to let go my anxiety about terrorists capable of spewing bullets indiscriminately and running around loose. A part of me has been alert all through this crisis to be reassured that all these guys are out of action. No luck. Not even sure how many they are.

How many are they really? All kinds of conflicting information from the interview on the one guy in hand - Ajmal Amir Kasab/Qasad/Qasab. When it came to Qasab, Mumbai went bonkers - right from the man on the street, media, cops, army officials, intelligence people......

While names and distribution details are available for only these 10 Kasab names, the number of terrorists killed/captured and "batches of 5" rather than "split into two groups" makes me think that the "16 fidayeen" from the ATS source, or "39 colleagues" from one version of Kasab's interview could be likely true.

How many were killed? Take a look at this timeline(1) - all data from this unless linked specifically.

Wednesday 26th November 2008:

  • Taj: NDTV reported (also mentioned in the timeline) on the 26th Nov that seven terrorists had been killed at the Taj earlier.

Thursday 27th November 2008:

  • Mumbai in general: "11.51 am: Five terrorists killed and one captured in Mumbai, says Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil outside Oberoi Hotel." couldn't possibly refer to the Taj guys, as the one captured was at Girgaum and five is less than seven, so it isn't an inclusive number either.
  • Nariman House: "12.39 pm: One terrorist holed up inside Nariman House in south Mumbai killed, says police. Six more ultras suspected to be inside the building."
  • Taj: "4.25 pm: A terrorist has been reportedly killed in Taj hotel. Reports say that commandos have started barging into the rooms of the hotel."
  • Taj: "8.00 pm: 4 more terrorists killed at the Taj. Another mammoth explosion in the Oberoi, starts huge fire."

Friday 28th November 2008:

  • Oberoi: "12.50 am: One terrorist killed at Oberoi, one still remaining."
  • Oberoi: "11:12 am: Two terrorists reported to be killed inside Trident-Oberoi hotel." <-- this could simply be an update from the earlier one killed one remaining.
  • Oberoi: "12.10 pm: Terrorist reportedly killed in crossfire at Trident-Oberoi." <--- same one?
  • Nariman House: "7.40 pm: Two terrorists killed in Nariman House."

Saturday 29th November 2008:

  • Taj: "8.32 am: The 59-hour siege of old Taj Hotel ends. Last terrorist killed" Followed by "8.42 am: Four terrorists killed at Taj Hotel; number of other dead and injured there still to be ascertained, says Mumbai Police Commissioner Hassan Gafoor." and "8.49 am: Director General of National Security Guards, J K Dutt, briefs media, tells three terrorists killed in the latest operation at Taj Hotel." <--- is it four or three?

Ooooookay.

Oberoi is the easiest with the different reports probably translating into two terrorists being there and killed.

Nariman seems to have three - one killed on Thursday and two on Friday.

Taj is more complex with 7 terrorists killed on the 26th (wednesday) + one and four (assuming the later number includes the earlier reported "one") so counting it as four and not five (thursday) + the final four (saturday) = 15 in all.

The five killed and one captured that the CM speaks about, I don't know what to do with. I know one got killed and one captured in Girgaum. No clue on the other four. Seems unlikely that they were killed in other places and not reported, so one possibility is that the 7 thought killed at Taj on the previous day were actually 4 (someone teach people how to count)

This article brings more clarity:

"The terrorists were challenged by security men near the CST railway station - the heart of the Indian Railways. One terrorist was killed and another nabbed near the metro junction.

Five other terrorists were killed - two each at Taj Hotel and Chowpatty and one at Nariman House, he added."

However, there is no mention of seven terrorists killed in this article.

More confusion here.

Coming to the "summary" statements of this episode, we have "Describing the mission as successful, the NSG sources said that 11 terrorists have been killed in the mission and one has been caught alive." The one alive is a no brainer, but the eleven killed? Shouldn't that number be higher? Or, who died when terrorists were reported killed in some instances?

How many were captured?

One in Girgaum, yes of course - our one well quoted guy.But where was he captured? Girgaum Chowpatty (most likely), CST or Taj?

What about:

  • "Highly-placed police sources said two other Pakistani nationals had also been held in the course of intense fighting on Thursday. All three, the sources said, identified themselves as members of a Lashkar fidayeen squad." from 3 Lashkar fidayeen captured
  • The mysterious 9 or so? with British passports and Pakistanis of British origin? They don't seem to appear on the action timeline, so information is quite vague.
  • Who is responsible for the taxi blasts? The cops think that the bombs were planted in the taxis used by the terrorists to prevent information about them wrecking their plans, but that doesn't explain the reports of grenades being hurled in Santa Cruz - planted bombs don't hurl grenades..... right? Or were those reports rumors?
  • If only 10 terrorists entered Mumbai hours before the attack, who in the world booked the room 630 in the Taj, stocked ammo and got visitors for four days? Kasab seems to be the source for both stories. He has a split personality?

All in all, I'm confused, and watching the media for more information.

Update: The media reporting on this incident is a monument in incompetence. matched only by the CWG reporting two years later.