Understanding Mumbai, India and terrorism
A week ago there were bomb blasts in the city of Mumbai in India. A lot of people at UWO have asked me whether I was affected by it. And to tell the truth: yes I was. A few friends of mine were witness to the blasts and shooting and a good friend of my dad’s was the head chef at the Taj Mahal Hotel and was shot by the terrorists.
But let me be really candid out here. If there’s something that surprised me more, it is the fact that a lot more people are talking about these attacks then they used to before. Why, a month ago there were attacks in Delhi where 47 people were killed; the northern province of Kashmir was blocked for a month where many more were injured. I won’t be exaggerating when I say that on average there’s an attack every two weeks in some place or the other in India. And as I ponder about it, I’d say that the only reason a lot of people outside India know about it this time is because of the fact that foreigners were affected by it. And something that does bother me is the fact that the value and concern for human life is now determined by how many people from another country (preferably developed) are affected by it.
The consequence of these attacks are grave for an advocate of human rights. The already seemingly unconstitutional laws are now going to get far more unjust and nobody is going to do anything about it. These attacks are going to be used as a justification to violate due process. To give examples: the right to habeas corpus would be delayed and relaxed, tests such as the truth serum, brain mapping and narco analysis can be performed to get the truth out; clearly violating the right against self-incrimination. And nobody, not even the Courts, are raising a voice against this.
So finally now there is a proposal to establish a federal agency to tackle terrorism and while every citizen is looking forward to it, constitutionally it may not be permissible. The reason being that like in Canada, we in India have a federal system. Constitutionally, control of public order is a provincial concern so the union cannot take it over unless the constitution is amended. While the emotions run high, legally one may not have the options to take action in this direction.
Let’s look at another angle to this, the noted spiritualist Deepak Chopra gives an interview to Larry King and states:
There is a potential impact of a lot more carnage. But it can be contained. And right now, one of the questions, you know, after I heard Barbara Starr talking about how coordinated this is, that there are militant groups that cross international boundaries, is who is financing this? Where is the money coming from? We have to ask very serious, honest questions. What role do we have in this? Are our petrodollars funding both sides of this war on terrorism? Why are we not asking the Saudis where that money is going that we give them? Is it going through this supply chain to Pakistan?
It’s not enough for Pakistan to condemn it. Pakistan should cooperate with India in uprooting this. They should be part of the surgery that is going to happen.
It’s not enough for Indians to blame Pakistanis. Indians should actually ask the Pakistanis to help them.
I have actually read Deepak Chopra and before this he specifically restricted himself to spiritual lectures, hymns and notes. So when Omar sent this to me, I was puzzled to say the least. He does not even have locus standi to talk on such an issue. It is best that the political be political and the spiritual be spiritual. Now during his interview he does raise some good questions about the financing of terrorism and the idea of it being a global problem, but that is actually not new. He asks us to give up on the phrase ‘War on terroism’ and look at this as a creative opportunity to solve the problem at a world level. What he and all other Indians need to address is not terrorism but a concern for human life. India is probably the only country in the world that has an armed conflict or a war in each of its borders and in such situations, death and the news of death turns out to be a mere statistic that later becomes a political issue. On that lines, Mumbai was certainly an exception that gets me wondering.
I shall close by putting below an email conversation sent by a close friend of mine hours after the blasts:
hey bro,im fine, everyone in office is fine…but the city is not fine…everyone knew someone who was affected somehow. some lost their family members, some lost friends, and some lost their fellow indians…they were terrorists with clear missions, they held the taj gateway and oberoi hostage along with nariman house for 3 days, not fearing death and merciless towards people…it was a completely and total take over of our own home. they had gotten into our homes, killed everyone they came across and were willing to kill anyone else who came in their path…its damn scary that we had to fight to regain control of our city..hats off to the army, navy, police, and the rest of the security forces for the came back from behind and fought…but someone needs to teach these freaking politicians a lesson now…im hopin they understand from this and stop dividing the country over vote politics…and actually start paying attention to the large issues at hand..anyways ..hope all is well with u ..u take care