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This article by M Reyaz has been copied from TwoCircles.net because there appear to be fears of Mumbai police getting it censored.

New Delhi: Senior lawyer Mehmood Pracha, who is defending German bakery bomb blast case convict Mirza Himayat Beg for his innocence, has demanded that the current Mumbai Police Commissioner should be “arrested as a terrorist” and tried under anti-terror laws.

In an exclusive interview to TCN, Advocate Pracha said, “The fact remains that three investigating agencies (NIA, Delhi Police’ Special Cell and Central Crime Branch, Bangalore ), my own understanding of the case, the charge sheet and the subsequent events, all point to one fact that the Maharashtra ATS led by Mr Rakesh Maria was responsible in not only falsely implicating Himayat Baig, but also in the process actively saving the real terrorists,” adding, “the police officers involved, including Mr Rakesh Maria should be arrested for conducting activities which are terror related. He has committed offense prima facie which are terror cases and he should be arrested as a terrorist.”

Besides Himayat Baig, Advocate Pracha has been trying to secure bail for another high profile terror accused Mansoor Peerbhoy and has been frontally attacking current Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria for his conduct as ATS Chief.

He also alleged that the Mumbai top cop is using underworld don Ravi Pujari to coerce him to leave those sensitive terror cases. Advocate Pracha has been receiving threat calls from international telephone numbers.

Advocate Pracha is now planning to petition in court to lodge FIR against him. He told TCN, “In Himayat Baig’s case what has come out is that the Maharashtra ATS, led by Mr Rakesh Maria – who was then the Chief of the ATS – they not only implicated an innocent called Mr Himayat Baig, but they also saved the real terrorists, as three other agencies have also stated.”

He hence feels that as a law abiding citizen, it is his “duty to inform for a cognizable offence to the relevant authority and the court.”

Not shying away from calling Maria a “terrorist” for his alleged misconduct, the out-spoken lawyer added, “It is my duty to inform the terrorist activities of Mr Rakesh Maria, then head of the Maharashtra ATS, and his entire team.”

Elaborating further, he said, “When I say, that these police officers are acting like terrorists because they are aiding and abetting the real terrorists and catching hold of the innocent people to save the real terrorists. Under section 15 to 20 of the UAPA, these are terrorist activities, be it whether they are committed by the police officers or common citizens because law is equal for all.”

Pointing that Maria is not the only police officer who have implicated innocent Muslims, Advocate Pracha said, “This is true not only for Mr Rakesh Maria, but for many other officers against whom I have conclusive evidence to at least register an FIR against them. Law should take its own course, because nobody is above law. Mr Rakesh Maria’s case came up because the NIA filed the additional charge-sheet which once again points to the fact that Himayat Baig was innocent.”

Advocate Mehmood Pracha at his Defence Colony office.
Advocate Mehmood Pracha at his Defence Colony office.

He added, “Mr Rakesh Maria has managed to bring himself to the limelight by brining Ravi Pujari (the underworld don, whose men purportedly threatened Pracha over phone) that is why I have to take his name again and again, but there are so many other police officers who are going the same way. But none of them has actually threatened with the underworld. He has got this invited on himself. If you threaten me like this I am going to fight back, by legal means.”

Elaborating further he said, “The fact remains that there many police officers in many states, who are acting along with the real terrorists and implicating these innocent in false cases. And we are duty bound as citizens to catch hold of each one of them and hand them over to the investigating agencies.”

"Unfortunate part is both the police officers who are supposed to be neutral investigating agencies and the public prosecutors, supported by the respective governments, have acted in an adversarial and vindictive manner in these cases," he added.

Questioning the very credentials of Maria for acting in such a manner and using underworld don to threaten him, Pracha said, “But he has taken it in a manner, which I think, is not suitable for a police officer, if at all he is, because I do not find any of the characters of a police officer in him, going through the evidences I am seeing in all the charge-sheets, which have been filed under his leadership. So he has started threatening me through the underworld. But these things don’t scare me at all.”

He said that he will not take these threats sitting down, adding that he knows of people who are behind him and he will bring them to justice.

Rakesh Maria [Courtesy: mid-day.com]
Rakesh Maria [Courtesy: mid-day.com]
Asked if he has any evidence against Maria for labelling such an allegation, Advocate Pracha said, “Yes, I have substantive and enough evidence against Mr Rakesh Maria. Unfortunate part is that he is using the underworld, he is the one who is supposed to catch the underworld. He is using the underworld to threaten a person like me, whose only fault is that he is following the law. What I am doing is presenting my case to the judges, whatever reliefs or whatever orders are being passed, are passed by the judges. So it is a direct attack on the Judiciary.”

He said, “I want to show these people that the Constitution of India and the laws made under them are sufficient not only to tackle underworld dons, international or national, but our Constitution and laws are also sufficient to catch hold of these terrorists who are sitting today in the garb of police officers.”

In this exclusive TCN interview, Advocate Pracha also alleged that the “basic fault in our investigating agencies is that honest police officers are being side-lined, they are posted in police training schools, on posts of not much significance as punishment postings and officers with known corrupt background are placed in important posts, like handling terror cases, which is very sad.”

8

After 26/11 we had many intentions about improved functioning. A week or so ago, a man murdered his ex-wife INSIDE a women's police station and escaped. A Hindustan Times article quotes G K Pillai that we can't prevent another 26/11. US didn't provide adequate information. The response of our security forces still is out of scrutiny. When Keenan and Reuben got stabbed in Amboli, their girlfriends tried calling the cops for over fifteen minutes.

Kill Kasab, people insist. That will be the real justice. Will it? We did kill nine terrorists, you know? Did that bring any peace? It didn't to me. Kasab being dead won't either. These ten were pawns. Them being alive or dead does nothing, unless its source meets justice. Kayani refused an American request to remove a phone Lakhvi was using to direct terror operations from his cell - for a general idea on how close the source is to justice.

Our political apparatus is so paralyzed by fear of failure that it has no space to operate in. Holding talks is permissible, but not agreeing. Making "mistakes" will be invitation for mud slinging. We fail to see that nothing drastically different can be achieved without doing something different, and doing something different MUST involve risking something you don't know the results of. And it isn't like doing nothing prevents the "mistakes" from happening anyway - including mistakes of neglect.

What is it that one can do under such paralysis? Stagnate, of course. Except, in real life, everything moves on. Stagnating is the same as regressing, because obsolete ideas don't work.

From a country that fought and won a decisive war in 1971, we are a country fighting a three decade covert war and losing. Our losses exceed those of the "bad guys" - material, emotional and in lives. And that is in spite of flooding an area of our country with soldiers till citizens are fed up of them.

Bleeding by a thousand cuts, we are. And resilience is nothing if the next cut is not prevented.

We have a failure of political ability to leverage positive circumstances to advantage. The soldiers we deployed got insurgency down, but we did nothing except freezing that situation because it was "working". It wasn't "working", it was a window of opportunity created at great loss of life, limb and money. In freezing it, we are essentially asking our soldiers to hold open an opportunity indefinitely.

We didn't care that we are deploying our own soldiers into a permanent existence of jumping at shadows among our people and being unable to shoot at them without turning into monsters. We didn't care that we are condemning an entire population to living in "state arrest".

Sure, we can't reduce forces or lift AFSPA as long as insurgency remains, but what exactly DID we do politically to consolidate decreases in insurgency rather than this uneasy status quo through force? When things are well, we do nothing to avoid rocking the boat, when things are bad, we pressure the forces to make it safe again. We ignore military excess because it suits our lazy "do nothing" intent, or we lynch the military under pressure, but we have failed to do our job to finish the need to park them there.

Our border conflicts with China echo the same problem. We are open to talks, but not discussing boundaries. What are the talks to be about? The weather?

Economic reforms and basic inaction on any military front (side effect of being irresponsible) got us leverage over Pakistan in the world. It is powerful enough to literally destroy Pakistan in the eyes of the world by exposing them and contrasting against our "done nothing". Something we could have used to bring pressure and end the insurgency or at least seriously cripple it. And we gleefully enjoy it, forgetting that destruction of Pakistan will only be trouble for us. We stick to something we have been doing since the first Kashmir conflict - we plead to the world to describe our justice for us and keep committing to talks with Pakistan, sending endless dossiers about an increasing number of things. The fantasy here seems to be that the world will somehow be more interested in finding justice for India rather than itself, and we can leave it to them and play goody-goody.

How is this about 26/11? Because it is the same thing. Terrorists may originate in Pakistan or Timbuktoo, but as a sovereign country, we have to come up with our solutions that don't require things that wouldn't happen.

It is all interlinked. It is the basic attitude. When we don't want to risk our image doing something, and we don't want to risk our image not doing something, we do it in a way that renders it meaningless. We make it dependent on conditions that are impossible to fulfill and point fingers at those to excuse our culpability. We address symptoms to create a lot of things to show without touching the root. We make a big deal out of victimhood so we can pretend surviving itself is an achievement.

This 26/11, we should stop saying anything that has been said before and failed. About anything. Terrorism is a war of the mind, and unless we have original thinking, we will be bleeding with thousands of cuts.

We need to fight this war according to its own parameters. We can't fight a conventional war because of nukes. Not to mention that our problem is with the hatred spawning terrorists, which will only increase. We still have an ongoing leverage with the economy and world opinion etc and we could "destroy" Pakistan like that, but the pieces would still hate India, and they wouldn't even have marginal pretense of law and order. That may feel like victory, but will be useless, indeed counterproductive for our security.

We could hang Kasab, but that achieves us exactly nothing other than saving some money on guarding him, which should be saved even when he is alive. Crores sounds impressive, but it is hardly anything for a country the size of India if the reason is important enough. Money ought not to be a reason to sabotage the best anti-terror leverage India has, so that we can pretend we got justice. Killing Kasab isn't remotely justice. Kill Shakir Mir, and we'll talk.

26/11 was a security nightmare, we have pickled Kasab in crores worth in security - like Kashmir. No one has the guts to lower the security and risk "something happening". Better evaluation would be to ask exactly how many threats to Kasab did this crores worth security find or neutralize in three years? If none, scrap it and try good old cops. Then you can afford to keep him alive until old age, and trot him out every few months, reminding the world every time there are funds to be given, "agreements" with terrorists to be made, etc. That will do more to reduce resources available to terrorists than hanging him will.

Pakistan knows this. Why else do you think Prime Minister Gilani said that Kasab should be hanged and got no objection from any of the many terrorist groups and supporters? Bullying the government is a prime hobby there.

If, like some conspiracy theorists claim, ISI will get him killed, all the better - he is bait. We can nab more terrorists, maybe get even more info. If he dies at their hand, fine. He had the security of a prison. It didn't work. We have plenty of failures, this would be one more. A diplomatic loss, but not the end of the world. At least we did something different. Something that damages the source of terror - Kasab is our link to it. He is the button we can push to sabotage support to them time and over again. Killing him is plain stupid, though it may feel great.

We need to develop serious covert capabilities. Serious enough to inflict damage. Sabotage, assassinate, or whatever it takes to keep the terrorists busy trying to form in their own country, rather than in ours. Let any collateral damage be a deterrent to them than us.

We need to form a policy of zero rhetoric. If we make a demand, it must have a consequence attached, and that consequence must be carried out no matter what if the demand is not met. If we are not willing to do anything drastic, we must learn to talk small, but definite. No matter how small, but the important thing is that it must be done. The communication needs to be solid on our end in terms of what to expect.

Without this, there is no reason for Pakistan to do anything at all. Why would they, if doing nothing does them no harm, and they don't want to do it?

We have to find our determination to take risks to save our country. Right now, it is deteriorating, and a 26/11 without any sense of closure is only a symptom.

4

Questioning our knee jerk response to emergency situations, its impact and exploring more functional alternatives.

As I watch the news of the Delhi blasts unfold on TV and Twitter, it strikes me how dysfunctional our response to a crisis is. While the government is obsessed with policing the internet and social media for spreading misinformation, on Twitter I saw little evidence of it. And trust me, if it is spreading currently, it is on Twitter. On the other hand, the news channels seem to be more about earning off the incident than reporting it.

Live coverage. Endless live coverage saying over and over and over the same thing - blast at gate 5 of Delhi High Court at entry of high security area, people injured, no information on blast.

For a long time after the blast, this was all the news people had. And the channels were repeating it over and over constantly. News cameras showing people crowded. Watching. And the evergreen speculation. Star news also showed some injured people, etc initially.

What is the impact of this?

What does it do to the country to see blood and gore and constant repetition of scarce facts? It sounds like no one is releasing information. So the comments start. The government has goofed up again, careless, no security, no punishment, improper investigations, etc etc. It is the same pattern. Shock, eager broadcast and magnification and consumption of shock, find target to blame. Vent, move on. As a side dish, blame LeT or IM, etc. Speculate about intensity, explosives,  vehicle, etc. Point out patterns of failure.

This helps no one. It can do harm to people who may have loved ones working in the area to get such a shock sensationalized to the max. It creates a spectacle out of suffering, creates a crowd around the site and a ripe target for any secondary attach that could be planned.

No matter what the blast is, this is our pattern. Could we have more functional patterns? Some things that come to mind.

  1. Emergency Services should liaise one contact for confirmed news with media. Media must understand that a lack of news is not news, it is important things being done in order to get more news.
  2. Ideally, unless there is a steady flow of news, there shouldn't be non-stop coverage of repetitive scanty information and human suffering.
  3. Journalists should be trained to do background work off camera. There really is no need for us to see the cameraman panning around like a bewildered victim. This isn't a Hindi film. If there is nothing to show, no need to wave the camera around and pretend it is a shot because there is a crowd in the frame.
  4. Journalists should be trained to confirm information carefully and not interview spectators for speculation or opinions. Facts should be verified off camera before broadcast. Treating a shocked by standers reaction as though it is somehow an authoritative voice on the matter is misleading and unnecessary. The story is the blast, not what people think about it.
  5. References and data about other attacks or crisises should be verified and used carefully. The guy on AajTak was talking about a blast in Mumbai 3 months and 13 days before. The mathematics of time is right, but excuse me, there were three blasts.
  6. Media should focus more on guiding people than they currently do. "Injured have been taken to hospital" is not as useful as Injured have been taken to ABC and XYZ hospitals. It takes a minute to find out. It matters.
  7. People should be dispersed as soon as possible to minimize risk rather than only sounding alerts and managing crowds. Those actively not assisting rescue or seeking missing people should be encouraged to leave and follow news through the media.
  8. Evacuated people and crowds and media should be taken to a spot at some distance and out of the way of vehicles and rescue workers.
  9. We need a SOP for emergencies. For example:
  • Immediate assistance from crowd to injured, evacuation of dead.
  • Information on where injured/dead are being taken
  • Minimal disturbance of scene except for injured/dead or preventing damage from spreading.
  • Police and rescue workers should collect local information and verify before publishing.
  • Media should focus on factual information on incident and guiding viewers with reference to it - including hospitals, names of victims, blood banks, any medical needs, suggestions to citizens to facilitate emergency response like avoiding traffic area, instructions for further safety/alert like avoiding crowded area or reminders to be alert for orphan objects, information on any suspects, confirmed details of incident.
  • Spread useful information on social networks.
  • Volunteer and use volunteers to connect missing people with searching people or needs with offers of help. Social media can be very useful like that.
  • Consciously avoid an immediate flurry of interviews and demands for statements. Those are reactions. Not news. They can and should wait rather than jumping at the beck and call of terrorists.
  • What to avoid?
    • Speculation on culprits. No matter who the hotshot is saying that it looks like the signature of someone or the other, it is an educated guess at best and shot in the dark more likely.
    • Repetitive accounts of panic.
    • Shots of injured
    • Increases in numbers of dead/injured from unverified sources.
    • Blame games.
    • Idealistic and inflammatory, but inherently stupid criticism like "why wasn't the gate inside the high security?" - D'uh. If the gate was inside the high security, the bomb would have exploded outside whatever the entry point for high security was, where people crowded to clear security. No one can guess where an attack will happen, and it is very naive to say "high security protect everything all the time - this is the capital"
    • Avoid clogging telephone networks. Switch to Twitter and Facebook as far as possible.
    • Don't try to immediately check on absolutely everyone you know. There is help at the accident site for all victims. Check on your loved ones as briefly as possible and free telephone lines.
    • Use social media, SMSes and phone calls as last option. Think of keeping phones free for emergency calls as similar to keeping roads free for emergency response.

    Overall, I think that our response to things like blasts needs to become much more low key and very "down to essentials". Terrorism isn't something we can security our way out of. Nothing can be guarded at high alert all the time. Certainly not entire countries, cities or even localities. It would be like living in a prison even if it were possible, which it is not.

    However, it is important to understand that terrorism is a mind game. The terrorists don't know the victims at all. They have nothing against them. The attack is on the system. A fight of policing will always be one step behind. Intelligence will be better at preventing, but more difficult to obtain. On the other hand, what we are in control of is how the results play out.

    If a terror attack creates terror, it succeeds. Even if it is no more than a bomb scare. We need to consciously deny the result. Dampen the fear without compromising safety. Factual news reporting with a conscious intent to impart information AND prevent panic will go a long way as an anti-terror initiative. Deliberately starving terrorism of the oxygen of attention smothers its impact. People cannot fear what they don't know they could fear.

    Unless I see bewildered crowds wandering around lost in front of an iconic institution of the country, all that the blast means is a security problem, no more or less sad than a plane crash. It is the reporting that takes a blast with x number dead and y number injured and turns it into this scary and insecure state of our country, etc etc. In other words, we play the terror game and further the interests of the terrorists. Every time some statement is made with a knee jerk accusation of some LeT or IM or whoever, whether guilty or not, their commander is glad, because their fearsome reputation just got reinforced for free. The next time they send a threat, media will oblige with a list of attacks they were suspected in - the association itself (true or not) lending weight to their words.

    How effective would bombs remain as terror attacks if instead of getting live coverage and takes and retakes of shock and horror and disappointment in the country, they got reported as stories of rescue, actions being taken, needs, information, what people should do, etc - in other words, mobilized the country as needed and ignored the criminals about whom not much is known anyway and the personal trauma? What would it be like, if a terrorist sending an email to a news channel got no response other than investigation by anti-terror squad? Or a call got hanged up on or ignored, traced and investigated instead of being reported and analyzed and publicly promoted for free?

    Sure, we have a right to information. Sure, we have freedom of media. The question is if panic responses and speculation can count as information or we accept "press releases" from terror groups. Does anyone have the right to use a national medium to spread fear causing unconfirmed misinformation? Or is this about the right of media houses to peddle real suffering as a horror show for fun and profit?

    If you guys can suggest what you think would be a good idea for a standard plan of response to security emergencies, I would like to compile it as a resource to offer people more positioned to act on such issues.

    Today, the 14th of July 2011. 3 blasts in Mumbai. Kabootarkhana, Zaveri Bazar and Opera house. 21 dead and 101 injured at last count.

    So, by now, newspapers, TV Channels are all blaring news about the blasts, the dead, injured, speculation, accusations, allegations, and what nots. So naturally, I will not talk about it.

    What I want to talk about is Mumbai's response. We read about blasts all the time. What makes Mumbai AAMCHI MUMBAI is our response to difficult circumstances.

    I was on Twitter when the news broke. Within seconds, the #Mumbai hashtag was blazing with information so fast, that I couldn't even scroll, forget read it on Tweetdeck. I had to go to the Twitter site, which doesn't update without clicking.

    What is special is the nature of the information. Sure, there was shock, anger, concern.... but the way the people reached out to help is something that will leave me with a memory of support. Rumors were squashed quickly, correct information was promoted responsibly - and not just on Twitter, on other social networking sites too.

    As the horror of the blasts came into more focus, the spirit of Mumbai emerged before it. People were already rescuing the injured, moving them to hospitals, at the sites.

    On Twitter, assistance self-organized. Here are some of the amazing ways in which people contributed.

    • Ascertaining facts, squashing rumors.
    • Organizing help for those who tweeted for it.
    • Asking people to minimize use of phone and rely on social networking and messaging, to keep lines free.
    • Advising people as to what to do - ranging from staying where they are when the police wanted the roads to be free of traffic for movement of emergency vehicles, to Tweeting updates on the condition of roads to facilitate smooth movement.
    • When people were advised to stay where they were, hundreds of people freely offered their homes and resources to assist those who may need a place to stay. Accommodations ranged from humble bachelor pads to homes with families and even some office spaces.
    • A blog was setup within an hour of the tragedy to assist coordination of information.
    • Someone took the initiative to compile all the offers of havens to stay and other help in one database according to locality.
    • Others spread information on blood donation needs
    • Clear thinking minds provided advice to keep heads clear and people out of trouble. Uncountable volunteers made sure it spread far and wide. People helping spread the information ranged from Mumbai, to India, pakistan and the rest of the world in a few cases.
    • Others compiled rescue and hospital related information - Police helplines, hospital phone numbers, etc
    • Mid Day did a splendid job of confirming rumors and tweeting only verified information, which was a big help in keeping things sane.
    • Some offered to coordinate finding out about people their families couldn't reach and vice versa.

    All this was a spontaneous civilian response. Mumbai, with its linear layout knows its vulnerability very well. It knows it must flow again, or face massive crowds to manage and even more difficulties. And so it was. The spirit of Mumbai rang clear through the most amazing spontaneous support I hear from this city. Be it floods, or the train bombings.

    Every step of the way, the people cared for their own. From helping fight fires to loading the injured on to every available transport to urgently get them to hospitals and later helping the paramedics.

    Some said that Mumbai was nothing special, and to stop calling it the spirit of Mumbai. I disagree. I experience something in this response that I don't in other places. I have followed many crisis situations, I have been caught in Mumbai's floods myself.

    While everyone rises to an emergency, what makes Mumbai special is the extra mile people unhesitatingly walk. There is no need for someone to spontaneously think of offering the comfort of his home for whichever stranger chooses to stay. People can stay anywhere for an emergency night, as long as there is a roof.

    And it is not only terror attacks and rescues. For example, during the floods, there was no life at risk in most places. People already at home could happily wait it out at home without harm. Yet, entire families were leaving their cosy comfort to set their dining tables in inches of water in order to create stalls and offer people plodding home water and snacks. Small kids, grown ups, all kinds of people. Tea, sherbet, biscuits, snacks. Stop by any table and take what you need. I spent the night in a film editing studio that suffered heavy damage in very expensive equipment. Its ground floor had three feet of water at the height of the flood and two overnight.

    We watched the owner's fancy Ferrari submerge in the building compound, and circuits shorted, its lights lit up under the water. And this man ordered food for the people stuck there. A local restaurant sent a man wading through waist deep water well after closing hours to deliver it. The fancy hi-tech telecine room, had muddy, drenched kids sleeping on its sofas. Kids that the guard had rescued from water that was overwhelming for them as they returned from school. Later, when water receded a little, people volunteered to escort the kids safely home. All of us strangers, caught together by circumstance.

    When the entire rush hour crowd hit the streets after the train bombings, utter strangers gave lifts to other strangers for free. Again, many people weary from walking were invited to stay over in homes all over Mumbai. Again, many, many stories of people not just providing immediate rescues, but going out of their ways to create comfort for others in suffering.

    I think this is for a reason. With our linear structure, somewhere, we are very conscious of the need for the life line of travel to remain unclogged and collectively experience the discomfort of it being blocked. Mumbai is one of the few places in the world, where a few well placed blasts can bring the whole city to a halt while it figures out its response. Somewhere along the line, we have learned to keep functionality over personal preferences and comforts. We have no hesitation to reach out to another with the shared identity of the city. Aamchi Mumbai is not just a catchy phrase, it is a sense of larger shared belonging - a family of sorts.

    This also comes with its own drawback - we have a very short attention span. We flow around crisises so easily, reaching out, adapting, that we stop looking for ways for the crisis to not happen. All that is left of the tragedy within hours is the injured, the families of the dead and injured, and anyone who suffered a property loss. The rest of the city moves on as normal.

    Perhaps, as many people argued, other places do what we call the spirit of Mumbai. They will have their own flavours. More important than negating all uniqueness to claim that people are the same, is to see what they are doing. If they are doing it in the spirit of love for their city, that is good enough as the spirit of Mumbai for me. It doesn't have to be "better" or "worse" or for that matter even "different" or "same". It doesn't need compared at all.

    All it needs is that applause it deserves for rising to the occasion in staunch solidarity. I don't see at all why it can't be appeciated if other places help their own too. I also don't see why applauding the spirit of Mumbai means we are pretending that Mumbai doesn't hurt. It is possible to reach out in grief too. I know, because that is all I did this night. And I did it for Mumbai. I'd have done it for other places too, but not in the spirit of Mumbai.

    Repeating words I'd shared on Twitter:

    You speak as though a hero can't weep. Yes, Mumbai weeps her torment, and aids her own and stands in fierce defiance.

    Awesome, Isn't it? How much of a fool can the media make of themselves? The whole Mumbai nightmare has been faithfully punctuated by bad reporting by the media.

    One terrorist killed at Taj. Seven. uh, it was two. Two! Which two? I thought four.... but that wasn't at Taj! That was at Oberoi......... If you look at my post that takes a look at how many terrorists were reported dead by the media, you wouldn't worry about rumors saying 16 terrorists, because you could account for them then and there.

    Which floor of the Taj was the fire on? 8th or the 13th? Were shots fired at CST on the next day or not? To me, it looks like there was very little reporting. What was, was a day and night National Level test match between different media. In a struggle to provide the most information, all boundaries of insignificant hassles like confidentiality needs in an ongoing operation, facts, verifications of rumors were simply wished away out of existence.

    If the terrorists were actually able to sift information from crap by following the media, they shouldn't be in LeT. Mensa is where they should be.

    Yet, in the face of all the nonsense, there actually were completely irresponsible details broadcasted for all to hear - who all are coming to the location, how many commandos, live telecast of the helicopter dropping commandos on Nariman House..... I remember thinking that these terrorists were really incompetent. If I were a terrorist, with all the information I could get from the TV, I'd rig the terrace with bombs the minute I came to know there was a helicopter drop, and then sit happily on a lower floor watching TV to plan the exact moment to detonate it. Good it didn't occur to these guys, but no thanks to the media for it.

    I found it totally insane that "rumors" of a blast at CST were broadcast the next day in between announcements not to spread rumors. With all the fancy gadgets on location, apparently no one had a phone to call up the station and find out before throwing Mumbai in a panic.

    And now finally this. It really takes the cake. The media guessed at the contents of the demarche!!!???!!! What's more, the stupid government instead of throwing them into jail, played along with it, and we have spent a day arguing with Pakistan about how we want the wanted men deported and how they wouldn't, and the scenario is heating up.

    By the way, no apologies for misrepresenting situations, misleading people, misinforming them, etc have been seen. So basically, as long as the TRPs rise, just talk whatever crap you can.

    I'm really puzzled about what all seems to pass for journalism in Indian Media. Honestly, this seems outright criminal to me. Definitely against the interests of the country. How can the media speculate about the contents of a confidential document between countries? What the hell is going on?

    The sources also clarified that contrary to media reports in India and Pakistan, the demarche which was handed over to the Pakistani side earlier this week did not contain the list of 20 most wanted terrorists that had first been given to Islamabad in 2000. Once the media started saying India was demanding the immediate handing over of the 20 fugitives, of course, the Government could hardly contradict these reports since their return has been a long-standing Indian demand, the sources added. The demarche made only a pro forma reference to the return of unnamed fugitives but was otherwise exclusively focused on the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its leader Hafiz Saeed, whom New Delhi regards as the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror strikes.

    Worse, the government is covering up for the media because they mention something they want? Hello boss! At this moment, what we want most is a less volatile situation.

    Really folks. GROW UP!!!

    We are trying to catch some terrorists here and avoid a war. Those 20 men have been a major hostile point which was introduced between two countries because some journalist as usual didn't bother to verify what they were writing.

    So of course, as a country, we pressurized another country and created anger and misunderstanding over something we hadn't even planned to ask for just yet.

    Disillusioned doesn't begin to cover what I feel. I'm not even certain what's true and what's a journalists' version of how things could be in all the news on the terror attack investigations.