Some questions about the terror attacks

28 11 2008

Source REdiff.com

November 28, 2008 11:50 IST
Last Updated: November 28, 2008 14:16 IST

Some unanswered questions about the terrorist attacks in Mumbai need to be answered. If you wish to add questions to this list, please do e-mail questionsterror@rediffmail.com and we will post the most relevant questions here.


  • How many terrorists were there? Did they number 20 as Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told a press conference on Thursday? Or did they number many more? If two or three terrorists attacked the CST, how many terrorists were present at the Taj and Trident? Did the CST terrorists drop a grenade/explosive device at Dockyard Road on the way to the station? Or was someone else responsible for that act of terror which claimed three lives?
  • The terrorists are said to have set up control rooms at the Taj and Trident hotels, a Cabinet minister told PTI on Thursday. When were these bookings made? A detailed investigation into the bookings made at both hotels in the months, weeks and days before the attacks may reveal the names of suspicious guests who registered there.
  • Military sources tell rediff.com that there was no way the terrorists could have carried so much ammunition with them when they assaulted the two hotels with their guns blazing. They believe the ammunition may have been stored earlier in rooms at both the hotels, perhaps on the higher floors.
  • If some of the terrorists had registered at the hotels earlier, could these men/women have left along with the guests who were released? Did the police record the identities and addresses of the guests who were released from both hotels?
  • Indian Hotels Chairman Ratan Tata indicated on Thursday that the terrorists had intimate knowledge of the Taj, its service corridors, its layout. Does this mean that they had a mole inside the Taj? Or more worrying, did a couple of them work there at some point of time? Did they have drawings of the layout of the two hotels?
  • If the terrorists were Pakistani, how did they have such an intimate knowledge of the terrain? The two or three cowards who attacked the CST on Wednesday night made their way from the CST through a road on the left side of The Times of India building towards the Cama and Albess hospital/Azad Maidan police station, a route that is known only to true-blood Mumbaikars. Were they locals? Or did they conduct extensive reconnisance of the likely routes of escape?
  • These same two or three men, who are said to have commandeered ATS Chief Hemant Karkare’s [Images] police Qualis after shooting him, Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte and Inspector Vijay Salaskar, revealed similar familarity with the road outside the Esplanade Court, making an easy U-turn towards the Metro cinema junction rather than head on the road towards the CST. How did they know this if they were Pakistanis?
  • How did those men, whose images have appeared all over the world, get to the CST from Colaba where they are said to have landed by boat? Did they take a taxi? Or did they have local transportation? Did they come by a suburban train, which could explain the firing on one of the suburban train platforms? Who left the grenade on the Gitanjali Express, which killed a Bengali mother?
  • The terrorists are said to have done extensive reconnisance of the city. If they are Pakistanis, how did they get earlier entry to the city unnoticed? Did they come in by boat? Or did they use other routes to escape notice?
  • Such an operation could not have been conducted without extensive training and preparation, possibly on models of the Taj and Trident or Chabad House/Nariman House. Could this have been achieved at the rudimentary training camps hosted by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba in Pakistan occupied Kashmir? Or was it a more systematised operation conducted by a State agency in a hostile country?
  • How did they know Chabad House/Nariman House, which even long-time residents of Colaba — the area in South Mumbai where the Taj, the Leopold Cafe [Images] and Chabad/Nariman House are located — are unfamiliar with? The choice of this target indicates precision thinking — it is doubtful if the Lashkar strategists are capable of such deep strategy — and again points the needle of suspicion at a government intelligence agency in a nation inimical to India or renegades within such a bureau.
  • Early on Thursday morning, the television channels spoke about an exchange of fire between the terrorists and the police near the Liberty cinema (which is close to the Metro cinema/Cama hospital, but situated on an inner road). There was even fear expressed that these terrorists would enter the Bombay hospital, but nothing was heard about them thereafter. Where did they go? Were these two/three terrorists the same men who took over the police Qualis and shot at people near the Metro junction? Or have they escaped?
  • The police say the two men, who took over the Qualis, grabbed the Skoda that was halted at a police road block near the Girgaum Chowpatty [Images] beach. One of them was later killed by the police. Where did the other man go? Is he the Ismail, the Lashkar terrorist who is appparently singing like a canary to the police? Or is he someone else? If these are the two of the three terrorists who attacked the CST, what happened to the third man seen in photographs and video captures? Where did he vanish?
  • Another terrorist is said to be in custody. Where was he captured? What has he told the police?
  • The Times of India reported on Friday morning that wellknown food critic Sabina Sehgal-Saikia’s cellular phone recorded activity in the Raigad area, which is located across the sea from the Taj, where she was staying on the night of the attacks? Nothing has been heard from Saikia for over a day, so how did her phone reach Raigad? Could one of the terrorists have escaped under the guise of a guest to the Raigad area?
  • Could some of the terrorists have come by boat from the Alibag-Murud Janjira area in Maharashtra’s Raigad district, rather than from Pakistan? Boats ply through the day from the Alibaug area to the Gateway of India, and it would be easy for terrorists to use this mode of transport rather than high-speed boats which would have attracted the Coast Guard’s attention.
  • If the attacks were restricted to South Mumbai for logistical reasons, who was responsible for the explosion on the taxi near the Santa Cruz airport in northwest Mumbai, which is located at least 25 km from Colaba?
  • Uttara wants to know:

  • If the terrorists are interested in something, how come they have not made any demands in spite of having taken so many hostages? If they kept the hostages for so long, they should have started negotiations also. This indicates that they have some other, larger ultimate objective. What is that, and has it been investigated?
  • The Deccan Mujahideen [Images] may or may not be a valid front. Has the Andhra Pradesh police and security forces started investigating that? What are the results of that?
  • Has there been any additional discussion on the terrorists who might have escaped into Bombay city, apart from these three locations? If the dead terrorists had blueprints of the major areas in the city, it means that they might launch an attack on these locations after the Taj, Oberoi and Colaba encounters are over. Have the police been investigating this, and has there been any safety precautions? The names of these places should be circulated, and civilians asked to refrain from going to those locations, so that casualties can be at a minimum. When will this be done?
  • Ravi wants to know:

  • Why did the terrorists not blow up the full building itself? What can be the reason for this? I do not believe that they do not have the ammunition for that or planning. I believe if they wanted they could have done it.
  • Winnie wants to know:

  • What is the Navy doing around the Colaba area? Why is it not monitoring or keeping a check on what goes on in the seas just below its nose?
  • Why doesn’t Mumbai have enough fire ladders or other equipment which can put out fires like the ones set at the Taj?
  • Even in a terrorist attack why are most of our constabulary seen with antique rifles and without bulletproof attire?
  • Why are civilians seen in and around the affected areas in spite of a curfew call?
  • Why do the best hotels in Mumbai have such pathetic security?
  • Govind wants to know:

  • Are the CCTV records of the hotels available?
  • Assuming such large quantities of weapons had been pre-stored in the hotels, is there any security system to search these bags while being taken to the hotel?
  • Are there any missing hotel staff after the attack?
  • Rajendra wants to know:

  • How come the terrorists were able to fight for more then 40 hours? This is very clear that all these people got the arms and weapons ready on site in advance. Isn’t this a question on the qualification and intelligence of our police and all other security agencies?
  • Sujoy wants to know:

  • Manmohan Singh [Images] has claimed that this terror attack has been executed by external forces. What proof has the government got in order to make such a claim? Every time a situation like this happens, the government of India makes such claims and then they give no proof to anyone, especially the common people who are always kept in dark.

    Vinu wants to know:

  • When the commandos of the navy and the army are there why were ATS officers involved in the operation, who are ill equipped and lost their life? The man who ordered this should be held responsible for the death of bright officers and must be procecuted.

    Lokesh wants to know:

  • Why the BCCI does not organise India-Pakistan cricket matches on neutral grounds? How many Pakistanis return after the match? How many sneak through on a tourist visa?
  • Why cant we have a centralised SSN (Social Security Number) system in India?

    Amit wants to know:

  • Whether there are terrorists holed up in other parts of Mumbai and surroundings, as they were inside those targeted hotels? What action is necessary for those hiding terrorists in other parts, right now unknown to us?
  • How did they procure AK-56 rifles? What action is necessary which need to be taken for controling smuggling of these weapons inside Indian territory?
  • Are we planning to carry out operations inside Pakistan where the terrorists’ headquarters are firmly believed to be located, if Pakistan cannot capture those responsible and as we have every right for pre-emptive action?
  • Whether we will take help of the Pakistan government and other countries in conducting such secret operations inside Pakistan to capture terrorists, as the United States is doing presently inside Pakistan if their weak system cannot achieve this?

  • Will military training be made compulsory for a few years for every Indian citizen as we even did not have a small division of NSG available in Mumbai, and as we face a situation like Israel facing terrorism from all geographical directions? 6. What will be done to improve on all aspects of our defence, through strengthening our economy? How India will be again made an economically attractive place? 7. Will there be a separate agency to carry out regular security checks at all places over fix intervals, as this incident reveals that we have the enemy within to whom we are not reaching?
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    Paying tribute to the Police killed in Mumbai attack

    27 11 2008


    Vijay Salaskar

    ATS chief Hemant Karkare was killed in the Mumbai seige
    ATS chief Hemant Karkare was killed in the Mumbai seige

    Aerial map of Mumbai showing sites of shootings


    Video : IBNLIVE





    Terror attacks in Mumbai; six foreigners among 101 dead

    27 11 2008

    27 Nov 2008 audio
    NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: At least 101 people have been killed in attacks by gunmen in Mumbai, police said on Thursday. ( Watch

    Terror attacks in Mumbai

    Army personnel take position at the Gateway of India that stands in front of Taj Hotel in Mumbai. (Reuters Photo)

    )

    “At least six foreigners have been killed and the death figure has gone up to 101 now,” Ramesh Tayde, a senior police officer told from Mumbai’s control room.

    In one of the most violent terror attacks on Indian soil, Mumbai came under an unprecedented night attack as terrorists used heavy machine guns, including AK-47s, and grenades to strike at the city’s most high-profile targets — the hyper-busy CST (formerly VT) rail terminus; the landmark Taj Hotel at the Gateway and the luxury Oberoi Trident at Nariman Point; the domestic airport at Santa Cruz; the Cama and GT hospitals near CST; the Metro Adlabs multiplex and Mazgaon Dockyard — killing at least 101 and sending hundreds of injured to hospital, according to latest reports. ( Watch )

    The attacks have taken a tragic toll on the city’s top police brass: The high-profile chief of the anti-terror squad Hemant Karkare was killed; Mumbai’s additional commissioner of police (east) Ashok Kamte was gunned down outside the Metro; and celebrated encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar was also killed. ( Watch )

    The attacks appeared to be aimed at getting international attention as the terrorists took upto 40 British nationals and other foreigners hostage. The chairman of Hindustan Unilever Harish Manwani and CEO of the company Nitin Paranjpe were among the guests trapped at the Oberoi. All the internal board members of the multinational giant were reported to be holed up in the Oberoi hotel.

    Two terrorists were reported holed up inside the Oberoi Hotel. Fresh firing has been reported at Oberoi and Army has entered the hotel to flush out the terrorists.

    An unknown outfit, Deccan Mujahideen, has sent an email to news organizations claiming that it carried out the Mumbai attacks. ( Watch )

    The Army and Navy in Mumbai were put on alert. 65 Army commandos and 200 NSG commandos were being rushed to Mumbai, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said.

    The Navy commandos too have been asked to assist the police. Special secretary M L Kumawat is in constant touch with the state police.

    Some media reports attributed the attack to Lashkar-e-Taiba. There were also unconfirmed reports that some of the terrorists came in by sea. A boat laden with explosives was recovered later at night off the Gateway of India.

    Well after midnight, sources said two of the terrorists were shot and wounded at Girgaum in south Mumbai. The two were driving in a commandeered silver-coloured Skoda car. Earlier, these men had sprayed bullets from a police Bolero, outside the Metro Adlabs multiplex.

    The attacks occurred at the busiest places. Besides hotels and hospitals, terrorists struck at railway stations, Crawford Market, Wadi Bunder and on the Western Express Highway near the airport. Several of these places are within a one-km radius of the commissioner of police’s office.

    “This is definitely a terrorist strike. Seven places have been attacked with automatic weapons and grenades. Terrorists are still holed up in three locations Taj and Oberoi hotels and GT Hospital. Encounters are on at all three places,” said Maharashtra DGP A N Roy.

    St George’s Hospital and G T Hospital were said to have received 75 bodies and more than 250 injured people, additional municipal commissioner R A Rajeev said. Bombay Hospital got two bodies and 30 injured people were admitted there; Cooper Hospital, Vile Parle, got three dismembered bodies.

    Three of the deaths occurred inside the Taj and one G T Hospital attendant died in a shootout inside the hospital. There were reports of people cowering under tables and chairs at both the Taj as well as G T Hospital.

    Metro Junction resident Manoj Goel said: “My brother, Manish, died in the firing at Colaba’s Hamaal Galli.” Cops fired back at the men — probably from one of the Lashkar groups, dressed in black and with backpacks and SRPF, Crime Branch, ATS and teams of military commandos were summoned to the spot. Train services at CST were suspended and all roads leading to and from south Mumbai were blockaded.

    Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh cut short his Kerala visit and was returning to Mumbai. He described the situation in Mumbai as “very serious”. ( Watch )

    Deshmukh promised “stringent action” against the assailants but the mood across Mumbai was not so optimistic.

    There were reports of firing around several landmark buildings in the Colaba-Nariman Point area, including the Taj hotel, Oberoi and other tourist attractions and pubs like Leopold’s. The top floor of Oberoi was said to be on fire amid reports of blasts in the area and blood-smeared bodies were being brought out of the Taj lobby.

    Terrorists were said to be holed up at the Taj as well as G T Hospital and cops scampered to cordon off these places. A white flag was seen fluttering from an Oberoi Hotel window around 11.20 pm, where a blast was said to have occurred.

    The blast on the Western Express Highway — near Centaur Hotel outside the airport — occurred in a taxi, deputy commissioner of police Nissar Tamboli said.

    The firing and bombing started close to the Gateway of India. The gunbattle then moved on towards CST and raged on for over an hour from 10 pm, sending commuters running out of the station.

    The assailants also fired into the crowd at CST and people on the trains and then ran out of the station themselves and into neighbouring buildings, including Cama Hospital, after being challenged by cops.

    SRPF personnel then entered the iconic BMC building — just opposite CST — to take aim at the assailants, BMC commissioner Jairaj Phatak said. “We fear some of the assailants are still inside the station and we want to catch them if they come out,” a police official said.

    Vikhroli police station senior inspector Habib Ansari was on his way to work from his Colaba home when he saw two armed men, with sophisticated weaponry, trying to run into bylanes near the Gateway of India.”I rushed back to Colaba and all policemen, including GRP and RPF personnel, were called up,” he added.