Terror Tuesday: Mass Fatality Terror Haunts India, Again !

SSPC Terror Watch

On 11 July, India’s commercial hub, Mumbai (in Maharastra) and Jammu & Kashmir State witnessed series of bomb and Grenade attacks, perpetrated by suspected Islamic terrorists.

In Mumbai, over 170 people were killed, and over 400 people have been injured in a string of seven powerful blasts that targeted suburban trains. The toll is increasing every hour. The timing of the blasts coincided with the peak hour traffic when the commuters return from their work around 6 PM in the evening.

The blasts occurred within a period of thirty minutes at Mahim, Bandra, Matunga, Borivili, Mira Road, Jogeshwari and Khar.

Police officials are still in the dark about the explosives used in the blasts, whether it is RDX or high-powered plastic explosives.

Earlier during the day a series of grenade attacks, one on a tourist bus at Dalgate, by Islamic militants killed at least eight people in Srinagar. Some eleven people were wounded in the powerful explosion at Dalgate.The state police confirmed later in the day about two US nationals of Indian origin, who were among six persons injured in the blast at Abiguzar near the city centre.

However, Mumbai police suspect that the blast in the trains were a pre-planned and well coordinated attack and similar to explosions that had rocked Mumbai in the past and both Jammu and Kashmir and Mumbai blasts of Tuesday, are linked.

Who will be the masterminds behind the deadly attacks? Conventional wisdom suggests that Al Qaeda backed Lashkar (LeT) militants are behind this coordinated blasts. The synchronization and the mass casualty targets (remember 9/11 (USA), 7/7 (London) and 3/11(Madrid) have the signature of Al Qaeda.

Terrorist outfits previously operating in Jammu and Kashmir are now moving out of the state and possibly with the banned Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) cadres have been perpetrating sporadic attacks on critical infrastructures beyond J & K. Maharastra, Gujarat and Rajasthan in Western India and Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in Southeast and Uttar Pradesh in North have been their operating grounds. The city of Aurangabad, Gulbarga and Nasik have been major center of activity for SIMI and LeT sleeper cells, of late. One week before, the apex court in India rejected a petition filed by the SIMI against a five-year-old ban imposed by the Union government.

Of course, the ghost of 1993 serial blasts and the mastermind Dawood Ibrahim is lurking in the minds of Mumbaikars. However, there has been no claim of responsibility so far.

In August 25, 2003, around 50 people were killed and over a hundred injured in two blasts in south Mumbai, near the Gateway of India and at Zaveri Bazaar in busy Kalbadevi area.

Similar terrorist attacks targeting railways first occurred in India on the eve of the first anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition in the first week of December 1993. The blasts occurred on trains at Hyderabad, Indergarh in Rajasthan, Surat, Lucknow and Gulbarga.

Who will forget the 1993 serial blast in Mumbai (Then Bombay)! More than 250 people had died in a series of bomb blasts in the city that year perpetrated by Underworld kingpin Dawood Ibrahim and his syndicates.

A red alert have been sounded in almost all prime cities in India, including the capital New Delhi following Tuesday’s blasts.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after reviewing the security situation in the aftermath said that, "The government will take all possible measures to maintain law and order and defeat the forces of terrorism."

"The series of blasts in Jammu and Kashmir and in Mumbai are shocking and cowardly attempts to spread a feeling of fear and terror among our citizens. My heart reaches out and grieves for all those affected by these blasts and who have lost their near and dear. I condemn these shameful acts aimed at our peace-loving people,” Manmohan Singh said in a statement.

Word of support in the time of grief and terror too came from across the border. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz have termed these attacks as "despicable act of terrorism." A statement issued by the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson late in the evening, said that, “Terrorism is a bane of our times and it must be condemned, rejected and countered effectively and comprehensively." Surprisingly the official statement avoided Srinagar grenade attacks of the afternoon.

The United States too condemned Tuesday's multiple blasts in Mumbai. "[…] there were multiple terrorist attacks in India, in Srinagar and in Mumbai. We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms," State Department spokesperson, Sean McCormack said in his briefing. McCormack said that, "These are senseless acts of violence designed to strike at those innocent people […] our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time.

Author Note
News Analysis by SSPC Staff