People sang, prayed, marched with candles and protested against terrorism. It all sounds so common, a little silly and rather childish. On 26 November 2009, throughout the day all the TV channels showed thousands of people – young, smart, educated, upper or at least middle class Bombayites (now called Mumbaikars) thronging to the gateway or Taj hotel.
The channels interviewed some hundreds of them. All we heard were – ‘oh no, not again!’ ‘It should not happen again’, ‘We want peace’, ‘We will not tolerate terrorism’, ‘We salute the army and police for their bravery and sacrifice’, and such comments. We waited for some more serious and pointed questions, but were disappointed. Nobody asked these questions –
- Why are we repeating the words ‘the only living terrorist, Kasab’? It was known one year back that some 20 odd armed boys landed on the shores of Mumbai on that fateful day. We can imagine many were among the crowd with their cell phones while the Taj was burning. They were definitely guiding Kasab and others who were active inside. It’s easy to guess that they mixed with the crowd of onlookers and vanished later. While Kasab was being interrogated, didn’t we get any clue? What have we done so far to find them? India has spent millions of rupees (31 crores, or 310 millions to be specific) on Kasab’s upkeep. What is the outcome other than knowing his life history?
- FBI was handling the case and submitted their report this year. As reported in most newspapers, a number of Indians were found connected with the incident. Who are they? We want the names and wish to know what steps have been taken to book them. If they were arrested for interrogation, it would have been news, because many of them were ‘important persons’. So there is reason to believe that no steps have been taken against those mentioned in FBI report. Why is it so?
It is a pity that we Indians still get emotional and make sentimental exclamations. We behave as if these terrorist attacks are some natural calamities like Tsunami. We can only pray and sing for peace. Shame!
Sumitra Padmanavan is the General Secretary of the Humanists’ Association of India