Mumbai Attacks - Lives Lost but Justice Won
Staff Writer, December 15, 2008

The attacks on Mumbai by gunmen belonging to a radical Muslim organization killed at least 179 Indians and foreign nationals and wounded several hundred, some severely.

What terrorists did was they undertook the easy way -- just a six month training to take away lives of innocent people to create instability in the region and chaos but if they were to get trained to save people and give life, six month training won't be sufficient, it would have taken them ages. If these terrorists are claiming that they are followers of Islam, then they and their mentors need to do some real soul searching.

Hemant Karkare, the Anti Terrorism Squad's chief was gunned down while leading the operation against these terrorists. He was a man known for his discipline and fair investigation. He was credited for the stunning revelations in the investigation of the September 29th blast in Malegaon that accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a female Hindu priest who reportedly formed a group of fundamentalists to avenge the bomb blasts conducted by Islamic terror groups.

Hemant Karkare's wife declined Narendra Modi's compensation offer of monetary help. Narendra Modi, is the Chief Minister who is accused of complicity in the massacre of Muslim Civilians in Gujrat. The South African commandoes accompanying the South African cricket team saved the lives of 150 fellow guests through their presence of mind and skills to handle pressure situations when terrorists struck Taj Mahal hotel. Both need to be commended for their courage and determination who stood up to their principles in the time of difficulty.

Raj Thackery a self-proclaimed savior of the Mumbai city and caretaker of the "Marathi Manoos" kept surprisingly silent while his city was burning. His stand against the migrants from other states over protecting the interests of the Mumbaikars has forced people to ask questions. A sarcastic post in the blog read, "Raj Thackery is preparing a speech and will attack National Security Guard (NSG) commandos who were not Marathi Manoos for entering Mumbai. He is also on shopping spree to buy bangles to (his) Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers."

As the terrorists were holding hostages in Taj Mahal hotel, Oberoi-Trident hotel and Nariman house, after killing scores of people in CST station, the Indian community offered special prayer service in their Mosques, Churches, Temples and Synagogues and came together to hold candle light vigil for the terror victims.

At the same time, little-known Deccan Mujahideen group claimed responsibility for the coordinated terror strikes in Mumbai. In the camera shots of a suspected terrorist involved in the gruesome shootout, the AK-47 wielding youth comes across as an average youngster. What baffled the security agencies was the red sacred thread tied on his right wrist which many say could be a plot to show that the attack was undertaken by probably an extreme Hindu group. Then came the most common and expected theory that the Israeli intelligence organization, Mossad was involved since huge mass of food was ordered by the residents of the Nariman House prior to the terrorist attack. The questions were raised about this amount of food ordered and things like that.

We need to understand that two things really did happen -- firstly, the terrorists attacked and secondly, the innocent people lost their lives to this senseless terror. The conspiracy theories may or may not become a reality unless until the investigations are completed. If Muslims start paying too much attention to the conspiracy theories rather than the facts then it is not going to help them in anyway. In these situations, Muslims should condemn the terrorists whether or not those who committed such heinous crime claim to act in their name.

Intelligently, the Muslim community chose the former and came out of their way to confront the hate brigade openly, which isolated the act of terrorism from the religion, put the politicians out of business particularly the ones who have vested interest in creating fear and hatred within the community and thus far, prevented violence against them especially from the Hindu fanatics.

And this time, the Muslim community went beyond condemning terrorism and denied burial to the slain terrorists. "The killing of innocents is against Islam. These men are not Muslims. Why should we give them place anywhere? There is no place for them in our hearts and in our cemeteries," said president of Dawat-e-islami Hamid Abdul Razzak, according to media reports.

Hundreds of people turned out for a Muslim march against extremism, waving banners proclaiming, "Our motherland's enemies are our enemies" and "Killers of innocents are enemies of Islam." Residents point out that one-fifth of the victims in the attacks, perhaps more, were Muslim.

After this unprecedented response, if there is still anyone out there willing to commit terrorism in the name of religion, they have to think twice since they would have realized by this time that they have been disowned by the community -- neither they are getting a decent burial when they get killed nor they are getting any legal representation to defend in court from their country which they claim to belong to, if they are captured alive.

It is also worth mentioning that when the lawyers are refusing to defend the only captured terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Qasab, who is in India's custody and claims to be a Pakistani, Justice Kshitij Vyas, former High Court judge and chairman of State Human Rights Commission, said that prosecuting Qasab without a lawyer would be against the principles of democracy.

There is a plenty of opportunity for all of us to learn from the dynamics of how India, the world's largest democracy is handling this terror attack unlike 9/11 where United States responded by invading one nation after the other and holding the terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay prisons denying them the rights to defend themselves in the US court.

All in all, a mature response from the Indian government to a terrible act of barbarism without going to war otherwise that will take this crisis to a whole new level according to Fareed Zakaria, CNN anchor.

On a critical note and just to draw a comparison, when India's Abhinav Bindra won the gold medal in the 10 meter air rifle event in this year's Beijing Olympics, he was awarded by various State governments and private organizations for his achievement with hefty monitory amount but those who took the bullets and gave their lives in this terrorist attack are being compensated meagerly. The government and other organizations should consider both these instances equally so that everyone gets a fair treatment.

Until the Indian government finds a way to protect its country from terrorism without violating the human rights, the citizens of India and especially the Muslims have a moral responsibility to speak up against the terrorism as they have demonstrated this time, over and over again, so that they can co-exist and contribute to the wellbeing of the larger society, which will give them more of a role and security.

Truth and justice will prevail, if God willing!