Iwas surfing through the newschannels when I caught a new flash saying “firing at Leopold Cafe” in Mumbai. It added, it could be a gunfight between rival underworld gangs, a routine affair in the city. But, ‘Leopold Cafe’, one of the city’s landmark pubs at Marine Drive caught my attention. Fond memories of just a year back floated through my mind. I had enjoyed every minute of my drinks and company. The news got me hooked and I kept surfing, to get updates. Within half-anhour, it was clear that there was a terror attack in which multiple targets had been struck, Leopold Cafe being just one of them. I caught each and every- minute of unprecedented live coverage of the biggest ever terror attacks in India! Meticulously planned and executed to military precision, the attack left me dazed.
The response to the attack, from the state government to the union government, was as expected: painfully slow, clueless, nervous and clumsy. More than anything, it completely exposed our police’s un-preparedness to tackle well- trained, determined terrorists, armed with lethal weapons. Mumbai police paid heavy price for their lack of training and old weapons. The courage of a handful of policemen, no doubt was exemplary as they took on the commando- trained terrorists, at the cost of their own lives. In any terror attack, like a law and order incident, the city’s force is first line of defense. They respond first and reach the scene first. This action is most crucial to tackle the situation immediately; if not to completely eliminate but to contain it till specialised forces come. This is how our law and order machinery works. Police forces across the country have been most neglected.
The focus of our police system is more on numbers, rather than training, equipment, technology and modern weapons. The results in Mumbai were obvious: Ten terrorists held entire Mumbai police’s force to ransom for more than 12 hours, till the NSG commandos reached. It was an eyeopener for our government but something we (hacks covering crime and terror) always knew. The most chilling aspect of the attack that still rattles me is the ability of the terrorists who sneaked into Mumbai to coordinate with their handlers, sitting across the Arabian sea, in Pakistan. The finesse with which these terrorists used communication technology to coordinate while actually conducting the attack was almost ‘revolutionary’, to an unprecedented precision. It was almost like the handlers, sitting in the comfort of their drawing room, sipping coffee, were playing video- games on a big console!
The only difference was the human being slaughtered by insane terrorists were real, in flesh and blood. It also established beyond doubts that the Pakistan based Lashkar-ae-Toiba (LeT) remains the most lethal terror group with immense resources and capability. But the biggest discovery was their close links with Pakistan’s establishment, the Army, which control and operate their dreaded intelligence agency, the ISI (Inter Service Intelligence) agency. This is something which our government always knew but the world believed otherwise, as LeT, confined its activity to India. The incident woke the government from slumber. Along with US, other Western nations, took action against LeT. The ISI, too, got exposed. Pakistan’s government, like our own, initially lived in denial but grudgingly admitted in face of growing evidence and international outcry that the terrorist were indeed their nationals and conspiracy too was planned and coordinated from their soil.
Their response was not surprising but our government’s response remained tepid, letting slip the diplomatic advantage to put pressure on Pakistan to dismantle the terror apparatus. The LeT leaders and organisation still openly conduct their activities, which cannot be possible without government’s support. It may sound cynical to say but there is big doubt whether out political leaders have learnt any lesson from 26/11 attacks, besides mourning on the occasion of annual anniversary? They live in the hope that Pakistan’s ‘Frankenstein’, their terror groups, will devour them only and that will be end of the problem. But in case that happens, it will be only beginning of trouble for us. The physical boundaries cannot be shifted and with terrorists gaining strength, as already seen in Afghanistan, it would be a nightmare for India. It is only matter of time, that the Pakistan terror group, in whatever name they operate, will inflict more attacks. Our response will remain same: talk, talk& talk!