India is the largest democracy in the world and is claimed to be the world’s rising economic power after China, with Mumbai a leading international financial city. With a population of more than a billion India has a vast division among its people on the basis of religion, ethnicity, language, culture and territory.
The partition of India, in 1947 and the birth of Pakistan and (new) India also resulted in bloody clashes between Hindu and Muslims.
Externally, India has faced geopolitical and political issues with almost every one of its neighbours - Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. Kashmir is the biggest dispute between India and Pakistan, which has led to three wars between the two countries.
Whatever happened in Mumbai was absolute inhumane. In a 60-hour siege terrorists attacked and hijacked ten sites across India's financial capital leaving at least 160 dead including many foreigners and more than 300 people injured. Yet, this is not the first time. The Indian government and the media are labelling the incident as being India’s “9-11”, in the process forgetting the past communal riots and blasts in India where there were much larger carnages than this.
- in May 1984 there was the siege and clashes with Indian security forces at the Golden Temple where at least 83 Indian army personnel and 493 Sikh extremists were killed;
- some 257 were killed and more than 1,000 injured in 15 co-ordinated bomb attacks in Mumbai on March 12,1993;
- in September 2002, more than 2,000 Muslims were brutally killed and about 1,000 were severely injured in the Gujarat massacre;
- in July 2006 there was an attack on a train in Mumbai which killed more than 200 people and wounded at least 700 people; and
- there have been many clashes between Kashmiri militants and Indian security forces accounting many deaths in Kashmir during the last 60 years.
India has always been surrounded by problems both internally and externally. Time and again we see bloody communal riots in India. Not long ago Christians were targeted and churches were set on fire on the east coast of India - particularly in the states of Orissa, Karnataka and Jharkand. According to the head of a US-based Christian organisation that runs orphanages in the eastern states, extremist Hindu groups who promote the slogan of Hindutva - “to be Indian is to be Hindu” - offered inducements of money, food and alcohol to mobs to kill Christians and to destroy their homes and churches.
Like the other Muslim extremist groups the Taliban and al-Qaida, operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Hindu extremists groups Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are also actively involved in creating violence and terrorism in India. According to reports they are also building suicide squads to attack Muslims and Christians. These groups have strong roots and are supported by heavy weight Indian parties and politicians.
Coming back to recent attacks in Mumbai: in India the law enforcement agencies can make anyone responsible for any crime with the aim of either hiding the facts or avoiding responsibility.
In February 2007, the Sumjhauta Express Train, which runs between India and Pakistan, was attacked with 80 people, mainly Pakistanis, killed. Very quickly Indian sources blamed Pakistan for the attack. After the inquiry it was disclosed that a former Indian army officer, who was the member of a Hindu extremist group, was the master planner behind the attack.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has been going through the worst kinds of terrorist attacks, almost every day, for the last seven years: Pakistan has had the most terrorist incidents in the world in the last seven years. According to the Guinness Book of World Records Pakistan has the highest number of suicide incidents - without going into the history of what are the causes and who are responsible.
There are many terrorists’ groups including al-Qaida and the Taliban operating in Pakistan. Pakistan lost its most world renowned politician, Benazir Bhutto, in a terrorist attack. The entire northern part of the country is currently under siege by the Taliban and other militant groups. Members of Pakistani forces are losing their lives almost every day in the battle against these militants. Therefore, because the name of terrorism has been so much associated with Pakistan, if any act of terror takes place in the region it can easily be linked with Pakistan or with other militant groups operating in Pakistan.
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