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Let us begin with the video of the king of "carefully presented BJP interviews", Rajat Sharma interviewing Baba Ramdev aide Ved Pratap Vaidik.

Even as respected journalists flee a sinking media, the entire media seems to have let this pass unquestioned. Ved Pratap Vaidik has no authority to engage in dialogue with anyone. This cannot be called a journalistic endeavor, since there is no documentation, or for that matter any new information not previously known being disclosed. It is no documentary type visit bringing insight to an entity. Instead, he seems to have held a bilateral dialogue with an entity we consider criminal.

Is the BJP also legitimizing a track of dialogue between extremists of both countries?

What does Ved Pratap Vaidik have in common with Hafiz Saeed other than organized religious Nationalism with stakes in national politics?

He speaks of their talks as a cultural exchange, asks after his objections to Narendra Modi and views with regard to Modi's potential visit to Pakistan. Now let us get this clearly. India considers Hafiz Saeed to be a terrorist. He is no representative of Pakistan recognized by India to interview for acceptance of the Indian Prime Minister. This undermines India's efforts to pressure Pakistan to curb radicalization against India by giving legitimacy and seeking acceptance from someone we consider to be a terrorist supporter.

Here are some quotes. I leave you to decide for yourself what Ved Pratap Vaidik is up to and what Rajat Sharma is doing when he projects an action clearly against India as some kind of achievement. Not to mention the whole pantheon of Indian media who appear to not have noticed this at all, or have not found it worth questioning.

baatcheet shuru karnese pehle, kuch tasweerein hum darshakon ko dikha dete hain. Lahore ki ye tasweerein hain. subah mein savva ghante lambi mulakaat hui Ved Pratap Vaidik ki Hafiz Saeed se. ek kamre mein sirf Hafiz Saeed or Vaidik sahab the. Vaidik sahab aap.... (Before beginning the talk, we bring you some images. These images are from Lahore. In the morning, there was an hour and a quarter long meeting between Ved Pratap Vaidik and Hafiz Saeed. Only Hafiz Saeed and Vaidik sahab were in a room. Vaidik sahab, you...) ~ Rajat Sharma

And amazingly, after showing images of the meeting, Rajat Sharma completely skips asking what gave Ved Pratap Vaidik the authority to do a one on one meeting with a non-state actor of another country that asked about the acceptability of the Indian Prime Minister in the opinion of someone declared a terrorist in India. He directly moves on to ask details of the meeting as though it were a formal dialogue with any legitimacy!!!

Now, if this were anyone other than a Modi supporter, the TV channels would be rightfully screaming outrage over the fact that the meeting happened at all, let alone got reported in detail over national TV in such glowing terms. The fact that the meeting seeks a terrorist's opinion on the Indian Prime Minister is an insult to India!!! Even if he is a product of an allied religious fanaticism industry. The expectation is that he represents the country now. It is no matter of pride that religious fanatics engaged in harm to the country find him acceptable!

Talk of terrorist associations. There would be more outrage if non-BJP Indian politician had an opinion on Modi. Apparently it is more acceptable to be a terrorist than a non-BJP politician?

Then Ved Pratap Vaidik drops these gems unchallenged by not just Rajat Sharma, but anyone in Indian media so far.

Quoting Hafiz Saeed in first person: media ke baare mein jab baat hui, to unhone kaha ki aapka media mujhe baar baar dahashatgad kehta hain. aapke propaganda se america prabhavit ho gaya aur america aur united nations ne bhi mujhe dahashatgarh ghoshit kar diya.... (when we spoke about media, he said that your media calls me a terrorist repeatedly. America has got influenced by your propaganda and America and United Nations have also declared me terrorist.)

Conveying Hafiz Saeed's view and then the astonishing response to the accusation of Indian media calling him terrorist.

lekin unko maine spasth kiya ki ye sirf media ki wajah se nahi hain. ye uch aisi ghatanayein Pakistan ki taraf se hoti hain ki jikse karan logon ke man mein ye vishwas pakka hota hain i koi na koi badi deheshatgarh takat un sab ghatanaon ke peeche hain, jisse pura hindustan bilbilaa uthta hain. (but I made it clear to him that it isn't only because of media. These are some incidences from Pakistan's side, due to which people believe that there is some or the other big terrorist power behind them, because of which entire Hindustan trembles.)

What. The. Fuck?

India thinks Hafiz Saeed is terrorist because it trembles at the terrorist power behind some incidences from "Pakistan's side" (as opposed to any role by Hafiz Saeed and denied by Pakistan state)? And really? Hindustan trembles, which is why they think he's terrorist? Reminds me of the "hysteria" accusations made at women. "Hey, Hindustan is overreacting because they're terrified, they mean you no harm." And this joker is proudly sharing this with whole country without any questions raised on a channel known to be pro-Modi-sarkar. Makes one wonder if Modi sarkar's plan is to prostrate India!

Descriptions of Hafiz Saeed's grandeur follow. Thousands coming to listen to him, then Vaidik went to meet him. Lived in a dense, upscale locality in Lahore, his security is better than Pakistan Prime Minister's, he has high stature in Pakistan, I got the impression he doesn't want to meet me but he called me, then he immediately said he had heard our complaints in media and asked me to tell him about myself, etc.... note that this man Hafiz Saeed, whom Vaidik is giving glowing details of being allowed to meet, is calling for Pakistanis to fight India for the "freedom" of Kashmir often in his public meetings.

Vaidik is describing discussions of how Hafiz Saeed said we share a common culture. How his mother came to Pakistan pregnant with him. Then Hafiz Saeed asked about Modi's wife and he said that he has no wife in the manner we understand wife and is a bachelor for all practical purposes. Sangh pracharaks are bachelors. Then he described sangh, brahmacharya and so on.

Then Vaidik asks why Hafiz Saeed has enmity with Modi. Erm... WHAT? Hafiz Saeed denied enmity with Modi (which probably means that bhakts on Twitter will like JuD better now). Vaidik asks about the treatment Modi will get if he comes to Pakistan, and Hafiz Saeed says that they will give him an open hearted welcome. So the question is, what visits does Vaidik think India's Prime Minister will do to Pakistan where Hafiz Saeed will provide hospitality.

And Vaidik asks whether Saeed too is a brahmachari and Saeed replied that he has three wives. And so on.

Nor is this a one time connection. Ved Pratap Vaidik confirmed to journalist Aditya Raj Kaul that he had been seeking a meeting with Saeed for a while since his meeting last year got cancelled.

He paints a glowing picture of Hafiz Saeed as a humanitarian messiah who has been defamed. Repeats Saeed's claim that he was framed by Rehman Malik. Bluntly denies allegations of terrorism on Hafiz Saeed's behalf based on HIS OWN interactions in Islamabad and Lahore. Sidesteps questions of calls for jihad in Kashmir that are ON RECORD and states that Saeed made a very favorable impression on him. In short, he openly contradicts India's stand on Hafiz Saeed ignoring all evidence to the contrary. Or perhaps, he simply sees nothing wrong with religious zealots doing humanitarian work and inciting violence using the popularity it brings them. Sound familiar?

This is a far cry from BJP's so far rabid stand against Hafiz Saeed and given that statements of this magnitude are made on National media without any objection from BJP (indeed a defense of his "motives") - from a party that is happy to object to absolutely every pro-Pakistan/pro-terrorist word ever said and rabidly attacks any attempts to raise questions - this raises serious questions about the BJP government's stand with regard to Hafiz Saeed, and more importantly, his views on Kashmir that were neatly sidestepped, but are a core issue. The government's silence on this interview is ominous.

The interview sounds like Vaidik is out to build relationships and there is absolutely no distinction in the importance given to the meetings with Nawaz Sharif and other official government representatives and Hafiz Saeed. In fact, Hafiz Saeed is compared MORE favorably. In a BILATERAL discussion often featuring India's Prime Minister.

Given that there is no censure, nor any specific interrogation of Vaidik after extensive contact with a wanted terrorist in a trip featuring meetings with official Pakistan government representatives, is this rubbish is actually sanctioned by Modi?

This interview and the complete lack of scrutiny is a FUBAR of massive proportions, that a completely prostrated media is happy to ignore. It raises questions about the government's intentions with regard to prosecuting terrorist acts against India, entities that are actively trying to separate Kashmir from India and the overall questions of developing relations between extremists of the two countries. NONE of which can be good for India.

If Hafiz Saeed is innocent or mistakenly accused, his name should first be cleared officially before such overtures. Regardless, abundant public speeches inciting large crowds against India exist, and such overtures seem inappropriate even if he were not guilty in 26/11. And if there is no change in status in India considering him guilty in 26/11, then what Ved Pratap Vaidik did amounts to an action against India's interests.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZQyS21Ut-s

Goes much to say how much the new government is undermining India's interest that the only place this interview shows is on a channel that did a carefully scripted interview of Modi, the rest of media is silent and there is no censure or even official denial of legitimacy for Vaidik from the government or security agencies investigating in the wake of this travesty.

Update: Hafiz Saeed is a terrorist. Government of India has nothing to do with a journalist meeting him. ~ Arun Jaitley and some other denials and distancing by others. Still no comment on a channel broadcasting a blatantly pro-terrorist show.

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.

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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.