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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.

18

Ishrat Jahan was reported killed in an encounter with Gujrat police along with three others Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar. Gujrat police claimed that they were members of the LeT come into Gujrat to plan the assassination of Narendra Modi.

Ishrat Jahan's family protested her innocence. Mumbai Police said that it had no information on Ishrat Jahan.

Now a SIT has shared its findings that the encounter was fake.

These are the facts we have.

Now for the noise of well intended, but factless individuals cluttering the thought space.

  1. Ishrat Jahan is innocent: She may well turn out to be, but this is not what the SIT says. As for Mumbai police not having information, they didn't have it on 26/11 either or the recent blasts. But they did happen. And there were terrorists they didn't know about. So all that means is that they weren't investigating her.
  2. The Modi government stonewalling this investigation means that they ordered it. There is almost no government in India that has encouraged or even allowed investigations of this sort - particularly the leader the police claimed to be protecting not doing anything to protect them - it is wrong. I am not debating that it is wrong at all. This is political hypocrisy, yes and it is a National, possibly worldwide phenomenon. If it is proof that Modi ordered this encounter, then we must consider that every fake encounter in the country is government ordered, not just the ones in Gujrat. There simply isn't any evidence made public so far about it. There is a Tehelka article that seems to be fairly certain without being explicit about it.
  3. All governments do this - many encounters all over India, government protects police actions everywhere, etc. Modi is innocent. Not so fast. there is no proof of that either, and the obstruction to an investigation in itself implicates him for protecting criminals - knowingly or unknowingly. This is like many others, yes, but him too and right now the subject is him. He is a long way from innocent in terms of conclusion - though it isn't ruled out.
  4. DIG D.G. Vanjara was later jailed for his involvement in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter. This is not proof that every victim of his was innocent or even not a terrorist.
  5. Ishrat's family insists that she was innocent and not in any way associated with the LeT. No family ever says their child is a terrorist. She worked for Javed Sheikh in Pune and visited family to provide money, etc. If she were involved in something illegal, there is little chance she would tell her family about it. The fact is that she used to work with Javed Sheikh in Pune and was found dead in Gujarat. Cops looking to provide random statistics on encounters won't go to Pune to get victims. Plenty Muslims in Gujarat. Since they can't randomly hunt Muslims on the highway or even take Muslims from Pune into custody in Gujarat, kill and plant on highway, there has to be some kind of information involved, but this is not known to public. It is unclear how people supposed to be in Pune were in Gujarat. Or, how Gujarat police targeted them, even if they traveled to Gujarat for some reason.
  6. Gujarat police claims that the four were terrorists. Generally the idea being that a person is innocent until proven guilty, it obviously follows that establishing them as terrorists is the responsibility of Gujarat police. I did not find any information about that.
  7. This is not a fake encounter. Techinically, I will go with what our courts rule, but frankly, this doesn't look like a real encounter. Even if the four were terrorists, it is looking very unlikely that they were killed in a genuine encounter.
  8. None of the 70 odd bullets fired were found + rigor mortis + ID cards + cash = sounds fake encounter. Bullets would be there. At least a few.
  9. Bullet wounds on victims matched weapons found on them. = unless this was a bizarre suicide, the guns were used to kill them and then planted.
  10. As for wounds indicating fired from short range and while victims were sitting, that would match a car being intercepted and an encounter happening with victims sitting inside - say if they pulled out guns - for example. Or it might match victims sitting anywhere when killed.

On the whole, I am fairly certain that the encounter was fake. Whether the four were terrorists captured and killed in fake encounters or complete innocents somehow come on the radar of the cops is yet to be known.

What little is known of the incident suggests that Ishrat being with Javed Sheikh put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, though there is no proof of that either. According to her family, the last they heard of her was from Nashik about her being anxious about Javed going missing and then returning with strangers who scared her. Who were they? Cops? The other two people killed with them? No details. If it were police, it seems like a specific trap rather than random killing.

If there is suspicion that fake encounters were govt policy, it should be made into a separate case including all encounters and the current case shouldn't be cluttered with these political battles postponing justice indefinitely as is the current tendency of all implicating Modi - and to a large extent, many of these political cases.

Policy should be fought as a separate case from an individual incident - victims are different, implications and impact are different. More importantly, individual victims get vilified and denied justice in a macabre tug-of-war when elephants fight comprehensive battles in the courtyards of puny mortals.

Lastly, I have no agenda here other than to think my way through the information available. Not to mention hurried post too. I have no wish to lynch or protect any party in this story, except that whoever is guilty must be called to account and punished.

If I have overlooked some information, or new information comes in, it will be useful if you share links.

PS: I haven't included LeT and Headley calling Ishrat Jahan a terrorist for two reasons - 1. if terrorists were all about providing empowering information, they wouldn't be terrorists - information from them is always suspect and likely misinformation. 2. LeT and Headley both weren't really speaking from knowledge of her, but based on reports they heard - let's face it - it is an echo of what the media printed based on police claims.

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.

I've been following news on the Mumbai terror attacks religiously, and to my surprise, today, there are reports in various UK newspapers that Mumbai police are looking for a woman in a burqa who assisted the terrorists.

All these news pieces agree that the captured terrorist confirmed her presence and that she visited the terrorists staying in the Taj and that she was the local contact. Strange, because this only seems to be appearing in UK newspapers so far. No other country. Not even India, where most other news comes up first from. What's happening?

Earlier, police had dismissed rumours of a woman seen assisting the terrorists at CST and Cama Hospital. I don't know what happened of the stories of the shopkeeper who had seen the captured terrorist with a woman.

The news in all the above linked articles agrees on details. So is this a take off on those rumors by the UK media, or do they know something we don't?

2

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....?