Rediff India Abroad Home  |  All the sections


The Web

India Abroad

Sign up today!

Article Tools
Email this article
Top emailed links
Print this article
Contact the editors
Discuss this article
Home > News > Specials

The Rediff Special/Sheela Bhatt

September 25, 2003

Five important facts relating to the repeated bomb blasts in Mumbai since Decemberlast year appear to have notreceived the attention they deserve.

The blasts are clearly a wake-up call for India's political leadership, national security managers, and intelligence and security agencies, as they illustrate the extent of alienation of certain sections of the Muslim youth after the Gujarat riots of 2002.

Also See

Mumbai Blasts: The complete coverage

Also,they areproof of the systematic attempts by external forces, based not only in Pakistan but also in the Persian Gulf region, to exploit this alienation and angerto fuel terrorism and bleed the country,
creating a picture of insecurity in the minds of foreign investors about conditions in India's financial capital.

These five aspects have been gleaned from interviews with the Mumbai police brass, Mumbai-based leaders of the Muslim community, some relatives of those accused of involvement in some of the blasts, and some of the accused themselves.

Fact one: Gulf exposure

The interrogation of some 20 persons accusedof involvement in various blasts has revealed that after the Gujarat riots, Gulf-based operatives of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence have seized on a readymade opportunity. In the last 18 months, they have scouted, selected, brainwashed and trained many Muslim youngsters in terrorist activities. Hyderabad too has become vulnerable because of the ISI's networking in the city.

"It's worrying to note that our people in Dubai, and the rest of the Gulf region, have become vulnerable to the preying eyes of ISI agents," Additional Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria, who is heading theinvestigation into the blast cases in Mumbai, said. The police have no idea how many people have been "indoctinated to spread terror."

During their investigations, the Mumbai police came across an instance of a poor Muslim worker from India having been blackmailed into working foranti-India forces. One of the accused told the police that many Muslim workers have their passports taken away by their employers and local maulvis put tremendous pressure on some of them. Senior officers say indoctrination against India is easier in foreign lands.


Rakesh Maria on how the blasts case was solved

Pradeep Sawant, deputy commissioner of police (crime), Mumbai, said: "ISI agents try to blackmail the Indian working class who are at the mercy of their local Arab employers. When brainwashing by the Pakistanis does not help, they try to blackmail our people."

This system of recruiting and training operatives and financing, planning and executing terror strikes has been perfected by the ISI over the years.

Fact two: Suspicion of an Indo-US nexus against Islam

Sayyed Mohammed Hanif Abdul Rahim, an accused in the twin bomb blasts of August 25,revealed a dangerous notion spreading in the minds of a large section of ordinary Indian Muslims. Though it is not publicized much, Hanif told the police that the Gateway of India was selected as a target because that is the precinct in Mumbai where American tourists are most seen, and the Taj Mahal Hotel nearby is the place where Americans and Europeans stay.

"American tourists were the Lashkar-e-Tayiba's target when Hanif planted the bomb at the Gateway of India," DCP Sawant said. Hanif was apparently told by his sponsors that "if you kill foreigners you will get a lot of publicity."

Hanif on his part agreed to plant the bomb because "America is the biggest enemy of Islam."

A source in the Mumbai police said: "We don't have the time or the inclination to analyse this information and the perceptions of the blasts accused. But obviously, their perceived notion about an Indo-US nexus against Islam is not going to help maintain law and order. These accusedwho were good citizens until recently should have known that India's fight against terrorism is neither like the American war on terrornor is it aimed against Islam."

Fact three:Distrust of the police


'The enemy's face is unknown'

'Police intelligence is very poor'

To fight terrorism in a giantcity like Mumbai, security agencies need various types of intelligence inputs. A large-scale, well-oiled machinery is given the task of gathering this intelligence. But inMumbai, ever since the 1992-93 communal riots in the city, very little intelligence is forthcoming from within the Muslim community.

Many officers in the crime branch of the city police told that before 1992 most of their informers were Muslims. But the numbers have fallen drastically since then. And not many new informants have come forward to replace them, leaving a huge gap in the inputs that reach the police force.

On theone hand, reliable intelligence is not forthcoming. On the other, large numbers ofordinary Muslims see the Mumbai police as an unjust Hindu-dominated force. As a result, their trust in thesystem is weakening rapidly, which ultimately results in their losing faith in the State.

In the Muslim-dominated areas ofBycullaor Mohammad Ali Road, "police kuch bhi kar sakti hai [the police can do as they wish]" is anoft-heard comment. A Muslim professor froma prestigiousMumbai college told, "For Hindus, the Mumbai police is merely a wretched, corrupt force. But we think the police is following the agenda of its boss, Home Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who is originally from the Shiv Sena, which is openly anti-Muslim."

Such unsubstantiated notions have been spreading as insecurity increases in the city. This distrust set in after the release ofthe recording of a conversation involving policemenin the troubled days of early 1993, says a Muslim teacher from the Char Nal locality in Dongri, south Mumbai.

Slide Shows

The Saviours on Black Monday

Remains of the Day

Terror at the Gateway

A science professor in a college run by the Muslim community told thathis community's anger after the Gujarat riots has been redirected against the Mumbai police.
"Whenever we hear of an 'encounter' of a terrorist, we know it's one more example of the persecution of Muslims," he said.

When Nasir, prime accused in the August 25 twin blasts, was killed in an 'encounter' on September 12, a senior Crime Branch officer was questioned about its genuineness by a journalist the next morning. This was theofficer's reply: "I am not going to tell you the reasons for the killing of Nasir even if you think it's not a genuine encounter. I'll give10 good reasons to God after my death why he had to die. After a day's work I go back to my community, which wants security. They ask me point-blank,'darr gaya ya paisa khaya? [were you scared or bribed?]' "

The cost of providing security to the prime accused in blasts cases is so prohibitive and the logistics of following up on court cases so tough that many officers don't regret these 'encounters.'

A senior officer with 35 years of service told, "After I retire, I want to play with my grandchildren in America. Due to my duty, I missed out on mychildren's childhood. According to the law, the investigating officers of a police case are bound to appear before the judge when the court hearing of the case starts. I don't want to come back again and again and waste time in court proceedings once I retire."

Pervez Memon, a Mumbailawyer with a good knowledge of police functioning and court procedures,said, "I see every day the injustice meted out to the accused in general and Muslims in particular. Unjust prosecution and persecution of people in court is grossly under-reported. I understand why educated youngsters pick up an AK-47. I have studied law, but even I can pick up the gun."

Fact Four: The Gujarat factor

The Mumbai police and Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal are not entirely wrong when they say the blasts are in retaliation for the riots in Gujarat. Of course, the ISI's agenda to 'bleed India with a thousand cuts' is not new, with terrorism in India going back two decades. But the current blasts are being carried out by Indians who are upsetwith the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat. Most frightening is the fact, again not highlighted enough, that after the Gujarat riots, Saquib Nachan, one of the prime accused in the earlier Mulund train blast, had arranged two camps in the Mahuli and Karve hills to impartarms training to around 25 educated Muslim youths. This happened right on the Mumbai's outskirts.

When met a few residents of Padgha village, where Nachan lived, they were quite straightforward in their reactions when asked about the alleged arms training received by some Muslims after the Gujarat riots. A community leader told, "Someone might have, I repeat might have, imparted arms training to our youngsters after the Gujarat riots. Because we saw the videocassette of Bilkees who was raped by Hindu boys in Gujarat. We now need to gear up to protect our daughters and wives for future events. What's wrong if we prepare ourselves to defend our women?"

Fact Five: Mumbai is a soft target

India's terrorism experts have rightly said that Mumbai was made a target because hitting Mumbai destabilizes the Indian economy. Mumbai-ites will have to keep this factor in mind always.

The police say they have no idea how many Nasirs have been financed and trained to carry out such activities.

Additional Commissioner Maria told, "Now, the Mumbai police is only as good as its investigation of the last blast. We have no time to relax. It's frightening the way they have indoctrinated our guys in Dubai. We are just waiting for the next blast."

Design: Dominic Xavier

The Rediff Specials

Share your comments

 What do you think about the story?

Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 47

Sub: not to be happy that Mumbai is back to normal

It is unfortunate that Mumbai is repeatedly becoming the target for terrorist attacks. It is re-assuring that that mumbaities are back to normal the very ...

Posted by s kumar

Sub: Declare a War on Pakistan

To end this inhuman activities just declare a war with Pakistan. We all know that Pakistan harnesses these terrorists. And in front of the world ...

Posted by Anish

Sub: Shame Shame on our government,Laws,Politician etc...

Each community points out on another one. I strongly feel that our Laws our government our Politician (No Specific Party) and not last but our ...

Posted by satish

Sub: What does some one do?????

These are true facts mentioned. There is no doubt that Gujarat was a bad incident, but that does not make the whole of Hindu comunity ...

Posted by globalindian

Sub: I do not agree (Some) muslims supporting Terror.. in the name of Gujrath riots.....

What ever happend in Gujrath was bad, It really dosn't mean that they ( Muslims ) shoot there own foot... by encouraging young muslims to ...

Posted by Subbu



Copyright 2005 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.