[Marxism] Hundreds of Dead and Injured in India Bombings

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Jul 11 19:22:05 MDT 2006

So far, no one has "taken responsibility" for these attacks in
India. Nothing good can come of them, of course. For one thing,
they occur suspiciously close to the upcoming meetings of the G8
and, therefore, will make it far, far harder to organize the big
protests which such events normally generate. Who could possibly
benefite from attacks like these? Actions like these seem clearly
to spring from out of nowhere. Who's to know what these attacks
are supposed to represent?

Hopefully some of our Indian writers will update us on what is
going on in their country and what it signifies from a Marxist
perspective. I'd like to know what are the various tendencies
going to say, including the various armed opposition groupings,
the trade unions, and so on.

I notice that the Monitor's report is prepared from Pune. How
far is Pune from the site of the attacks? The only thing which
I know about Pune is that it's where the famous yoga teacher,
B.K.S. Iyengar lives and has his training institute.


Walter Lippmann

Hundreds of Dead and Injured in India Bombings

New Delhi, Jul 11 (Prensa Latina) Maximum alert and tight security
measures followed a series of explosions on the Mumbai railroad in
India´s capital Tuesday that left hundreds of dead and an unknown
number of wounded people.

Indian authorities strengthened the military forces all over New
Delhi, establishing check points at bus and train stations, movie
theaters, and crowded vegetable markets, with barricades at all
entrances and exits, and vehicle checks, Additional Police
Commissioner Deependra Pathak told Press Trust of India news agency.

The explosions occurred during rush tour, when the Matunga, Khar,
Santacruz, Jogeshwari, Borivali, and Bhayendar train and bus stations
and platforms were most crowded.

“Due to the way the explosions happened, within a 30-minute period,
it looks like a terrorist job,” Mumbai Police Chief A.N. Roy said.

He said the number of dead could increase, as numerous bodies were
thrown along the railroad tracks.



from the July 12, 2006 edition -

India train blasts echo Madrid attacks

The timing, just ahead of the G-8 summit, also draws parallels with
last year's London bombings.

By Anuj Chopra | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor


A series of at least seven explosions rocked the commuter rail
network in Bombay (Mumbai) during Tuesday's evening rush hour,
killing at least 147 people and injuring 400, officials said.

Confusion erupted throughout Bombay's crowded rail network following
the explosions. Indian TV broadcast footage of bystanders carrying
victims to ambulances and searching through the wreckage for
survivors and bodies.

The force of the high-powered blasts ripped doors and windows off
carriages, and luggage and debris were strewn about. Survivors were
seen clutching bandages to their heads and faces.

"We are busy in the rescue operation. Our first priority is to rescue
the injured people," he said. However, heavy monsoon downpours were
hampering the effort.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called an emergency Cabinet
meeting, and said that "terrorists" were behind the attacks. Home
Minister Shivraj Patil told reporters that authorities had "some"
information an attack was coming, "but place and time was not known."

Bombay police are calling the explosions "a well-coordinated attack,"
and the quick succession of bombs in crowded rush hour trains echoes
the strike on Madrid's train system in 2004 that killed 191 people.
And the timing of the Mumbai attack, just days before the G-8 summit
of leading economic powers, parallels the London subway bombings
which occurred on the day of last year's G-8 meeting.

Analysts say that these similarities, as well as the sophistication
of the Mumbai attack, suggests ties to international Islamic terror
groups, perhaps working through a local militant outfit.

"[The attack was] well planned, orchestrated, simultaneous [and was]
designed to inflict maximum loss of life. It's probably the handiwork
of a well-equipped, well-funded, terrorist group that hews to the Al
Qaeda school of thought," says Sajjan Gohel. "In the region, only
Lashkar-e-Tayyaba has such capabilities."

Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), one of more than a dozen Islamic rebel
groups fighting Indian security forces in Kashmir since 1989, has
been blamed by police for a number of past attacks on Indian soil,
including a set of bombings in Bombay in 2003 that left 44 dead. In
past years, police have uncovered a cell tied to LeT in the Bombay
suburb of Thane. The group is the most sophisticated of the militant
outfits fighting to wrest Kashmir from India, and it is accused of
having ties to Pakistan as well as funding from outside.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry issued a statement late Tuesday
condemning the attacks.

"Pakistan strongly condemns the series of bomb blasts on commuter
trains," the ministry said in a statement. President Gen. Pervez
Musharraf offered condolences over the loss of life, the statement
said, adding "terrorism is a bane of our times and it must be
condemned, rejected and countered effectively and comprehensively."

The train attacks followed an uptick in violence in Kashmir in which
a series of grenade attacks by Islamic extremists killed eight
people. Some initial reports speculated that the two incidents were
connected, but some analysts expressed doubts that the Bombay attack
was related.

"The attacks in Kashmir today were not as sophisticated -
handgrenades were lobbed. Mumbai, was well planned," says Mr. Gohel.

However, the Home Ministry of India issued a statement saying that
although the anatomy of the blasts in Srinagar and Bombay are very
different, they do appear to be linked as they were planned for the
same day.

Following the blasts, all of India's major cities went on high alert.
How the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh responds may
depend on how quickly investigators can determine who was behind the
attacks, as well as the government's sense of its own political

In recent weeks, the Singh administration has faced criticism from
politicians in its leading coalition member, the Congress Party, for
failing to achieve many of its major initiatives. Last week, Mr.
Singh announced a halt to all sales of state-owned companies, dealing
a setback to India's economic reforms. A sudden shift of focus to
external security threats would change the debate.

After a December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament building, the
government at the time reacted by mobilizing up to a million troops
along its border with Pakistan. The buildup led to nuclear
saber-rattling between the two nations, prompting some Western
nations to order the evacuation of their embassy staffs.

Since then, relations between the nuclear siblings have improved
markedly. The two countries have embarked on confidence building
measures such as the establishment of train and bus links. And the
relationship has steadied into a continual stream of low-level
meetings over small issues.

In the meantime, India's commercial hub is scrambling to reconnect
its commuter networks.

"Mumbai's local trains - Mumbai's lifeline has been terribly hit,"
says Police Commissioner A.N. Roy, who has faced criticism in the
past from citizens for the lack of visual security apparatus on train
stations and bus stations. "Although the routes where explosions took
place have been shut down, local trains on other routes are working.
The frequency of buses has been increased to help out locals."

• Wire material was used in this report. Staff writer Scott Baldauf
contributed from New Delhi.

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