Mumbai Massacre: Almost A Decade Later, We’re Still Searching For Answers

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Mumbai Massacre

A little over nine years ago the bloodied massacre that shocked the nation on the eve of 26th November 2008 left an unpleasant and indelible mark on every Indian’s mind. A group of heavily armed terrorists made their way to Mumbai and took the city and its people hostage.

Eight of the attacks occurred in South Mumbai, at Chhatrapati  Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Nariman House Jewish community centre, the Metro Cinema, and in a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier’s College. There was also an explosion at Mazagaon, in Mumbai’s port area, and in a taxi at Vile Parle.

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The masterminds behind this atrocious and widely condemned attack were identified as David Headley and the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

David Coleman Headley could be described as a U.S. drug informant and operative of the Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, a home-grown terrorist that the United States failed to stop when they had the chance. He was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment by an American federal court for his role in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Currently imprisoned in the US, he was deposed before a Mumbai court earlier today via a video teleconference and has revealed some rather shocking revelations. The prosecution team put up about 40 questions before Headley during the course of deposition.

Headley disclosed the following cues to the case:

  • He told the court that Mumbai was targeted twice, albeit unsuccessfully before the 26/11 attacks
  • Sajid Mir (LeT) had asked Headley to take a general video of Mumbai city before his first visit.
  • He revealed that he joined LeT after being “influenced and inspired” by JuD chief Hafiz Saeed.
  • “I learnt AK-47 firing training, bomb explosion and other arms trainings in the camp. Wanted to fight Indian forces in Kashmir but was denied Kashmir assignment due to my age,” said Headley.
  • He said he was introduced to Major Iqbal of Pakistan ISI by Major Ali.
  • He changed his name from Dawood Gilani to David Coleman Headley in 2006 to enter India.
  • He confirmed that he had visited India seven times before the 26/11 attacks and once after the attacks.
  • Mahesh Jethmalani , Headley’s lawyer claimed that Headley performed actions on the directions of Hafiz Saeed.
  • He claimed that all details except place of birth, date of birth, mother’s nationality and passport number, were incorrect in the visa application.

It would be wrong to say that India did not have a fair idea as to the involvement of Hafiz Saeed and the likes of him in the 26/11 attack. However, the extent of the alleged involvement of ISI officials definitely creates a murky mystery around Pakistan’s nonchalant attitude towards allowing people like Saeed to operate from their soil.

After all the deliberations and contemplation, the fact remains that no matter how many times India tries to initiate structured dialogue over friendly relations with Pakistan, the menace of terrorism is conveniently kept on the back burner by the latter.

Why does India lack the much required ferocity to tackle these issues and concerns with Pakistan?

David Headley’s deposition has not only reaffirmed our fears of Pakistan’s wilful involvement in the attack, but has also provided sufficient ground for India to demand action against terrorists that are harboured within the safe confines of their land.

For if there was ever a time India needed to be intolerant towards something, it is now.

Shireen Azizi

Image sources:

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The Viewspaper

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