I visited terror-struck Mumbai on the evening of Thursday, November 27, accompanied by my colleague Shri Jaswant Singh, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. I visited the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (VT) Railway Station, where terrorists had fired indiscriminately at innocent rail users and exploded several hand grenades causing massive panic and killing more than 50 persons last night. Later I went to JJ Hospital where 102 victims of Wednesday'smayhem are lying in various states of injury. It was painful to hear the victims narrate their tale of misfortune. Sadly, over the last few years I have had to visit many such hospitals in the aftermath of terror attacks that have now become alarmingly frequent. Thereafter, I visited King George Memorial (KGM) Hospital to commend the valour of Assistant Commissioner of Police Sadanand Date, who volunteered to join the police action in South Mumbai although he was posted elsewhere. He has suffered several injuries from grenade shrapnel including one in his eye. But I marvelled at his grit and determination even in this condition. As I left his bedside, he said to me, ?Don'tworry, we?ll get them.?
It is this spirit of our security officials that gives me confidence that despite the government'spussyfooting and its politically-motivated refusal to arm the security agencies with appropriately tough anti-terror laws, we shall overcome the terrorist challenge in the end.
It is a curious coincidence that starting with the attack on kar sevaks on board Sabarmati Express at Godhra on February 26, 2002 almost every major terror strike in India has happened on the 13th or 26th of the month. This year alone, the Jaipur blast took place on May 13, Ahmedabad followed on July 26, Delhi on September 13 and now Mumbai on November 26. It appears the terrorists have made it a pattern to strike on the 13th or 26th of every alternate month. I wonder whether we will have to resort to numerology rather than firm intelligence to anticipate terror attacks.
The government'snon-serious approach in this regard is reinforced by reports that the Mumbai attackers arrived in the city from the sea. Official agencies had been warning the Home Ministry for some time about such a possibility, but the government did nothing to bolster the Navy or the Coast Guard'scapacity to intercept rogue boats. As a result, two mother ships are reported to have dropped the Mumbai terrorists off some 15 nautical miles from the Mumbai shoreline and they managed to reach their destination uninterrupted. It hardly bears reiterating that apart from strengthening and streamlining the intelligence network, the government needs to take whatever intelligence inputs it receives seriously and act on it.
Before leaving for Mumbai I had told mediapersons in Delhi that I suspected that the degree of planning and quantum of ammunition used, indicated that the terrorists were probably not homegrown. My suspicions been confirmed with Maharashtra government officials telling me that one terrorist arrested has admitted arriving by the sea route. It now appears that a mobile phone on a terrorist'sperson is of Pakistani origin. This reinforces what I told the media yesterday about the intelligence agencies? energies being diverted to nail so-called Hindu terror, which evidently enabled the Mumbai attackers plot away undetected.