The cold-blooded Mumbai operation involving a batch of college-going-type terrorists has raised many questions, including competence of our government and intelligence agencies. I am, however, more concerned with the emergence of new terror tactics, witnessed by the entire world for over three days, starting Wednesday night. I am thus not only alarmed but I am, in fact, bamboozled.
This time, there is more to the harrowing accounts of survivors. There is more to Mumbai’s Hindus, Muslims and Christians standing shoulder to shoulder. There is more to Indians, Americans, British and Israelis weeping together.
You would notice that this time, there weren’t suicide bombers or booby-trapped vehicles when terrorists targetted several places in Mumbai. Their open but complex nature of the attacks was strikingly different from the sudden suicide missions seen worldwide. They were surely on a mission to kill and be killed, yet they engaged us for a long period, 60 hours to be precise. During this, they fired, killed, lobbed grenades, moved up and down, here and there, and showed their capability of creating a lot of damage and death before being killed.
To me, they resembled a small army sent into the heart of society with orders to kill and keep killing as long as possible.
Having studied at a military school, I feel that their coordinated attacks turned parts of Mumbai into a combat zone. And this zone was more dangerous because the desperate victims weren’t able to shoot back. It was more like a massacre which is more like terrorism fused with insurgency and guerilla warfare.
In their attacks, the terrorists inflicted both panic and horror; and inflicted them for a longer period. The selection of iconic targets also gave a message to all nationalities that India is a terror-prone country from which they should stay out.
There was also a message to high and mighty to avoid 5-star New Year parties and shun all events and celebrations that often make life a joy. Should we then give the terrorists what they want!