Saturday, March 08, 2014

The Siege: Mumbai 26/11

I've never cringed so many time while reading a book.

"The Siege - The Attack on the Taj" by Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, is a gripping narrative of the way in which 10 brainwashed blokes from rural Pakistan created havoc in a city of 12 million people.

The book seems to dig deep into the names and antecedents of most of its characters - terrorists, their handlers in Karachi, the hotel employees, Mumbai police...and yet some details are conspicuously absent.

Who, for instance were the Indian Members of Parliament who "were throwing their weight around, talking loudly and threatening people" in the midst of the siege?

Who was responsible the unbelievable tardiness with which NSG commandos were sent to Mumbai? The soldiers had been unofficially mobilized at 10:05 pm, on Wednesday, 26 Nov., 2008, just twenty-two minutes after the first shots were fired in Leopold's.

Why was it so damn difficult to find a plane to transport the soldiers? Even when a plane was found, why was the crew missing? why was there a delay in fueling the IL-76?

Why was the NSG Chief, Jyoti Dutt ordered to take a detour into the city, just to pick up the Home Secretary, Madhukar Gupta, when he could have saved some time by reaching Palam airport directly?

When the plane finally landed in Mumbai the next day at 05:30, who was responsible for transport convoy that failed to turn up?

Where is the 'Honey Bee' now?  Has anybody been held accountable for all the goof-ups?

Its amazing to think that if such an attack were to happen again tomorrow, we would be just as unprepared... :(


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