Monday, July 17, 2006

Mumbai Update: Still Coagulated

The death toll in the Mumbai terror attack now stands at 181. The Indian police have said that they expect a breakthrough soon in their investigation.

To the great satisfaction of the Indian government, the G8 issued a strongly worded statement condemning the act. Perhaps more practically, President Bush helped lobby for a strong statement, a fact which may indicate a greater degree of U.S. support for Indian anti-terror efforts in the future. The statement caused some consternation to Pakistan, as it "marked a setback to the renewed attempt by Pakistan to distinguish terrorism in other settings from the one aimed against India on the ground that the latter was a product of frustrations over the denial of right to self-determination or, lately, religious persecution, and, therefore, worthy of indulgence.

Though a previously unknown group has claimed responsibility for the Mumbai train bombings, it appears few take the seriously. The police instead have identified the explosives as RDX, a powerful substance favored by Kashmiri terrorists. They have also raided Muslim slums and are investigating the Muslim community intensely, saying: "The raids will continue. Muslim-dominated areas are under our scanner."

India strongly suspects that the bombings were planned from within Pakistan, perhaps even by Pakistani security, and have delayed upcoming peace talks with that country. The Pakistanis, who have rejected any notion of a connection, are growing rather annoyed by the suspicion:

Pakistan on Monday described the postponement of the foreign secretary talks as a "negative development" for the peace process between India and Pakistan and said the efforts to combat terrorism and the peace process could not be viewed in a "sequential" way.


"We look at the postponement as a negative development and the linkage between the postponement and the terrorist attacks in Mumbai as incongruous, a bit out of place," said Mr. Khan.


The Foreign Secretary said India must share any concrete evidence it has with Pakistan.

The police have identified some of means used by terrorists to communicate:
"Bachche ke delivery ho gayi hai, maa khairiyat se hai" (Baby has been delivered, mother is fine)... "Shaadi ki tarikh fix ho gai thi, magar usse postpone kar diya gaya hai." (Wedding date had been fixed, but has now been postponed).

These are some of the ominous e-mail messages that the anti-terrorist squad (ATS) had intercepted following the arrest of three alleged terrorists from Aurangabad in May this year.

For what it's worth, and I don't know whether it has anything to do with disrupting jihadi communication networks, the government has asked Indian ISPs to censor at least some blogs.


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