The events of the past week reveal the rot in Maharashtra. On 9th July, the Shiv Sena (also written as Shiv Saina, literal translation “Shiv’s Army”, a very strong political party in the state) went on a rampage in Mumbai tearing apart a private bus as vengeance for an insult to a statue of Meenatai Thackeray. The same evening, as the rioting got worse in Mumbai, Pune experienced a spill-over effect. I will admit, I would hesitate before even driving through the areas where they had rioted. My relatives and friends who had business’ in the affected areas thankfully closed early and left for home after receiving reports of violence.
On the 11th of July, Mumbai was struck by 7 bomb blasts. An additional 8th bomb was defused elsewhere. As I write, as many as 200 people were reported to have been killed. The unfortunate targets were mainly middle class working men travelling by first-class coaches in the Mumbai section of the Western Railway at rush hour (equivalent to city and suburban metro). They were returning home. I was lucky to be able to get in touch with most of my friends in Mumbai that evening. The communication networks failed to keep up with the surge in traffic.
The Shiv Sena then condemned the blasts and quickly blame the Goverment for not averting the attack. It was interesting that the two events were so close to each other. The images of the burning tourist bus, train compartments ripped apart, injured and dead commuters, and finally of rioting shiv sainiks have left a deep impression on my mind.
In both cases, the common working man was impacted – to different degrees (also see “It could have been any one of us” – India Uncut). We are still not sure who attacked Mumbai (It wasn’t SIMI as claimed earlier- NDTV).
It gets worse. CNN-IBN demonstrated on television (as part of what they call Operation Water Rat) that it still is ridiculously easy to land 100kg of RDX on Mumbai’s shores from international waters. In fact, they landed their pseudo-RDX at Shekhadi, the exact spot where Dawood was purported to have landed RDX in 1993. Truly, we have not learnt from our past mistakes.
A month after the 7th July 2005 attack on London, the UK police were able to make arrests related to the attack. I am sure I speak for many Indians. We all are awaiting justice.
Earlier on Thursday, I realised that this was a sensitive issue to blog about. I almost did not. My point is – violence cannot be the answer. It isn’t that we are soft, I think we stopped caring. All that is going to change, we promise.
- NDTV Images of the Mumbai protests and riots on 9th July, 2006.
- Snapshots of Mumbai on 11th July, 2006 were too horrific to post here.