Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Muslim bombers attack Bombay trains. 190 killed.

India: Most likely linked to Kashmir fighting.

"....The blasts came hours after a series of grenade attacks killed at least eight Indian tourists and injured more than 30 other people in Srinagar, summer capital of the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir. Muslim insurgents have been fighting Indian authorities there, seeking union with Pakistan, a Muslim-majority country. India's rail systems and airports were put on high alert after the explosions in Bombay. Phone lines to Bombay from New Delhi, the Indian capital, were jammed. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called an emergency meeting Tuesday with his national security advisers to discuss the attacks. "The series of blasts in Mumbai and in Kashmir are a shocking and cowardly attempt to spread fear and terror among all citizens. I condemn these shameful acts, and I reiterate our commitment to fighting terror in all its forms," the prime minister said in a statement read by Home Minister Shivraj Patil."
Indian intelligence sources blame two groups.
NEW DELHI: The terror attack on Mumbai trains was carried out by Lashkar-e-Toiba and local Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists and was designed to trigger communal conflagration in the country’s financial capital, intelligence sources said. While still waiting for clues to emerge, top intelligence sources in New Delhi seem pretty sure the blasts on the trains were plotted by Lashkar modules which are increasingly collaborating with activists of SIMI, which boasts of strong pockets of influence across Maharashtra. The estimate of intelligence agencies here is derived from the scale of the attack, as well as precise information about the Lashkar’s sleeper cells that have proliferated in Maharashtra. Sources in the home ministry, in fact, said that a carnage had seemed very much on the cards with information pouring in about stockpiling of arms and explosives by religious extremists.
Guardian writes an editorial that goes for balance.
"The use of plastic explosives suggests a degree of technical sophistication. Terrorist attacks in India in recent years have been the work of Hindu and Muslim extremists. Kashmiri groups are nevertheless likely to be in the frame, a view which will be bolstered by a grenade attack earlier yesterday in Srinagar, and reports of a non-specific intelligence alert of an impending operation."
This really irritated the commentators. The London Times goes right after the extremists.
Western security experts have long feared that India, a rising power and a nation becoming a bulwark of democracy and stability in Asia, would be a prime target. As Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister, called an emergency Cabinet meeting, his Home Minister admitted that Indian Intelligence had known that an attack was coming but not the time or place. There can be no doubt about the perpetrators’ motives. Al-Qaeda and Islamist extremists have every reason for wanting to destabilise India, to disrupt its growing prosperity, stir up sectarian violence and plunge relations with Pakistan back into crisis. Not only do the jihadists and obscurantist extremists see Hinduism, like Christianity and Buddhism, standing in the path of global Islamist dominance; but for militants in Pakistan and beyond, Kashmir has long been the cause to rally the Muslim masses to the cause of embattled fanaticism. India has become an obstacle to the extremist cause. Its steady, purposeful commitment to rapprochement with Pakistan has reduced tension in Kashmir, and undermined the claims of the militants to supremacy in Pakistan. India’s warm relationship with America, embrace of democratic values, importance in the global economy and support for moderation in Afghanistan and the Middle East are seen by al-Qaeda as a sell-out to the West. Also, to the jihadist mind, retribution for historical slights is a powerful element in the thinking — to zealots, the loss of Andalusia is as raw as the Hindu opposition to militant Islam.

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