Mumbai’s Tough Moral Fiber

Written by Roger Steinberg  •  Special Features  •  July 2011 PDF Print E-mail

Three blasts hit India’s financial capital in under 11 minutes. Killing 21 people and injuring 140.  But Indians continue to prove that they are made of much stronger moral fiber.

Volunteers cropped up using technology to provide concrete aid to law enforcement and victims of the blasts. Tech savvy Indians turned to Skype, Facebook, Spreadsheets, and Twitter, as well as other miscellaneous tools on the Internet, to provide real, live aid to law enforcement, victims, and volunteers. Nevertheless, the damage was real and people were killed, injured, and traumatized.

Four terrorist attacks (2003, 2006, 2008, and 2011) in seven years is too much for anyone. In 2008 the Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba attacked Mumbai, killing 166 people. It was a 60-hour siege of the city that hit a Jewish area, two luxury hotels, and a packed train station. The peace talks with Pakistan were halted and the world’s view of Mumbai entombed.

During last week’s attacks, one bomb was placed under an umbrella at the Opera House, which was close to the 2008 attacks. A second was in a crowded neighborhood of Dadar. The third bomb hit in the Zaveri Bazaar, where diamonds are dealt.

Police were questioning witnesses immediately and bomb squads were using sniffer dogs to search vehicles for clues to additional bombs. Meanwhile, the wounded were being carried to taxis.

One suspicion involves a Kashmiri group, since July 13 is the recognized as Kashmir Martyrs’ Day. Another group that is suspected is the Indian Mujahideen (IM). This group was spawned from the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which was banned in the country. Their MO involves attacks on the 13th and 26th of the month on areas chiefly composed of Hindu populations and foreigners, followed by an email claiming responsibility. There has been no email to date. 

Roger Steinberg has spent the last 5 years touring Central Asia, investigating the history and organizational structure of the Sufi Darvīsh.  He studies history at George Washington University and has written extensively on the history and art of the Middle-East.  He is currently interested in the cultural and philosophical exchange between the Muslim and Jewish communities of Central and Near Asia during the middle-ages.

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