Monday, July 31, 2006

The part I don't get

It’s tough to reconcile this, so do help me out.

Today’s HT on its front page carries a photo of Shweta and Vijaya Futane – wife and mother of office-boy and MBA-aspirant Yogesh Futane who died in the Mumbai train blasts.

Both of them now pack greeting cards, earning Rs2 per stack. Do you get that ? The wife and mother of a bomb blast victim. They have to pack greeting cards now for a living.

Then there’s this photo of another victim with his right hand cut off. The title of the article is “How will I fund my daughter’s education?”. That’s Dhiraj Rathod. The blasts cost him his right forearm.

There’s much more inside the paper, and much more you’d read anyways.

And then last night there was this TV interview. Karan Thapar doing a “Devil’s Advocate” with Mr. M. K. Narayanan, our National Security Advisor.

Read the entire interview here.

I’m reproducing a coulpe of extracts below highlighted in blue

"Karan Thapar: So what’s happening in India is part of a series of events worldwide?

M K Narayanan: Partly worldwide. But, in this case partly India based. What I am saying is that 7/11 is not an isolated incident in Mumbai and you can forget about it. It’s part of a larger pattern. And I say that is important because the people who are responsible for what is taking place, are today a new band of what I would call, a international fanatic group, and their objectives are not always very clear. But, the final goal is obvious.

Let’s come to Mumbai and why do we say that the LeT is involved. When you have a smoking gun, it’s obvious. When you don’t have a smoking gun, that’s where I suppose intelligence agencies have to be reasonably sophisticated, if I might use the term. You may disagree. But, I think it is a combination of intelligence, ground facts, ground realities and very importantly deductive and inductive logic as to how do you arrive at this logic.

Now if in the case of Mumbai blasts, the first important fact is that you cannot have an event of this kind unless you have a certain number of modules, which are available. We have the information that in Maharashtra, in places like Aurangabad and I’m only talking of Maharashtra, but it’s equally true to extent of Gujarat and also true to Andhra Pradesh or Hyderabad and a couple of other places and there are modules available.

Some are known, some are suspected and unfortunately we do not know some. We are aware and we have been tracking modules and it’s because of that the Aurangabad incident could take place. So the first necessity for an event of this kind was the existence of a LeT module, which exists.

The second one is that you take the explosives for instance, one of course in ammonium nitrate that is a common explosive, but there are traces of RDX involved also. It has been possible to establish some kind of connectivity, I don’t know if you can have a proof on that, between the RDX that was used there and some of the RDX that we missed out now in the Aurangabad incident, known as the LeT event.

The third item is with regard to the generic pattern of LeT activities. This is where the deductive and inductive logic comes out, in which what are their targets, what have they achieved, it’s not as if they have wasted their resources like some of the other groups. There is a pattern that’s available – the fingerprints and the footprints of these organisations.

Karan Thapar: Can I suggest something? All of this is putting together - the facts available, inductive and deductive, some of it is suggestive, some of it is corroborative, to Indians this is convincing because we in a sense want to believe it. But the problem is that the world outside is doubtful. They say at best it’s suggestive.

M K Narayanan: I have not completed. Finally where do the instructions come from? Now that’s where electronic intelligence comes in. Sometimes you have people picked up. The investigations for the Mumbai blast are still on. I don’t want it derailed.

We have a couple of foreign nationals, who are under interrogations. We are hopeful that the connections will then be enough to prove to the rest of the world. I think the proof as far as we are concerned is fairly obvious.

I would also like to tell you that there are three or four names which constantly come up when you look at these LeT modules, the controllers in Pakistan for instance - Asim Cheema, Alkama.

I don’t want to reveal everything we know about how the linkages work. There is connectivity about how the people have come in, how some of them come in through Nepal, how they are tracked. Sometimes they are lost, sometimes we don’t know about them.

But, that is the kind of thing you put together and finally when we do that, it should be enough to convince any rational person who is looking at a terrorist conspiracy, which is directed to against India. If you don’t want to believe it, then it becomes much more difficult. "

So, if I’ve got that right, India’s National Security Advisor believes
(1) that the Bombay blasts were the work of terrorist modules and that
(2) we have proof of LeT modules in Aurangabad.
(3) We also think that there is a connection between the RDX in the Bombay blasts and that missing in the Aurangabad LeT haul
(4) It's "fairly obvious" where the instructions for this blast came from.

And how conclusive is this proof ? This reply came as a shocker to me.

"Karan Thapar: Is the sort of proof that you have as good as the sort of proof America had against the Taliban and against Afghanistan when it acted in 2001?

M. K. Narayanan: I think what we have at this point is definitely stronger than what America had when 9/11 took place or immediately thereafter. Since then, they have got a little more information.

But the question then again is -- are you willing to believe it? If you’re willing to believe it, I think we will provide the same kind of story."

So, here’s the part I don’t get. The one person advising the Prime Minister on security seems reasonably convinced that Pakistan was behind 7/11. Why the hell are we as a country not doing anything about it?

Don’t we have any responsibility whatsoever to the victims of the blasts, and their families? Their families. The same families who are now reduced to stacking greeting cards, earning Rs2 per stack.

Because their sons and their husbands were killed in the bomb blasts.

The same bomb blasts which, we believe, were carried out under instructions from Pakistan.

The same Pakistan, who is secure in the knowledge that it has US support.

The same US, whose Asst. Security of State says that we need to come up with evidence on the blasts.

And the same US who went to war after 9/11 against the Taliban, saying and proving that the Taliban did it.

The same proof that we believe is weaker than the proof we have in the 7/11 Mumbai train bombings.

And we still do nothing ? It’s tough to reconcile this. Do help me out.