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India Becoming A Victim Of A Terrorist Attack History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

In the winter of 2008, India again became a victim of a terrorist attack. On 26th November 2008, 173 people died and 288 were injures in a terrorist attack in Mumbai, formerly Bombay.This particular attack has been considered to be one of the biggest breaches in India’s security. It has been termed India’s “9/11”. But contrary to popular belief, it was not the ‘deadliest’ attacks on the Indian soil. In Mumbai itself, the 2006 Train bombings killed 209 innocents. Since its formation, India has been a victim to numerous terrorist attacks. Since 2010, India has lost 1,120 innocent lives in 60 ‘Islamic’ terrorist attacks. The national institute of counter terrorism of United States of America has calculated that between January of 2004 and March of 2007, the death toll in India from all terrorist attacks has been 3,674, second only to Iraq in that same period.

The Mumbai attack commanded attention from the world for the meticulous planning, military precision, use of ultra-modern electronic equipment and sophisticated weaponry, and ability to hold hostages for 60 long hours. In the final report the Mumbai police submitted to a court, it stated, “The assault was meticulously planned and executed only after the completion of long and arduous training with thorough preparation and briefing. The primary intention of the terrorists was to create unprecedented raw fear and panic in the minds of the Indian citizenry and foreign visitors to Indian soil.”

This study explored the print coverage of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai in the one newspaper each of India and Pakistan, namely times of India and dawn respectively. the print content was analyzed to see whether the Mumbai attacks had invoked a sense of press nationalism in the newspapers where in the two newspapers would cover the same event to suit their own national interests according their own .the selected nations were India, the site of the attack and Pakistan, the place of origin for the erring terrorists.

The official authorities were not certain about the number of terrorists for the first two days of the attack. On the second day Chief Minister of Maharashtra (the state of which Mumbai is the capital) Vilas Rao Deshmukh of, believed “20 to 25 suspected terrorists to have entered Mumbai.” the attacks were very sudden, and it was a time of confusion, which might have impended further action After sixty hours, on November 29, 2008, the Indian security force, National Security Guards (NSG), reclaimed the landmark Taj Mahal Palace hotel from the terrorists. In these sixty hours, 173 lives were lost which included fifteen policemen and 26 foreign nationals. Nine out of the ten terrorists were gunned down in a gun battle with the security forces while one terrorist named Ajmal Amir Kasab was caught alive.

Even after a year, not much is known about the ten terrorists who participated in the attack except all the terrorists were reportedly Pakistani nationals and in their early 20s.


Eight attacks occurred in South Mumbai: at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, the Oberoi Trident, Cama Hospital, Leopold Cafe, the Orthodox Jewish-owned Nariman House, the Metro Cinema and a lane behind the Times of India building behind St. Xavier’s College. There was also an explosion at the Mazagaon docks in Mumbai’s port area and a blast in a taxi at Vile Parle. All sites except the Taj Mahal Palace had been secured by Mumbai Police and security forces by the early morning of 28 November. On 29 November, An action by India’s National Security Guards ended the Taj mahal palace hotel siege.

The attackers came from Karachi on a Pakistani cargo vessel Al Husaini by the Arabian Sea. On November 23, 2008 they hijacked an Indian fishing trawler, within Indian waters. The four sailors of the trawler named, the M V Kuber were killed, but the captain was spared. On reaching the Mumbai shores the terrorist killed the captain as well. Then they divided into four teams, one with four men and three with two men each.

One two-man team proceeded to the Chatrapati ShivajiTerminus, Mumbai’s main railway station. There, they shot bullets and tossed hand grenades on unsuspecting passengers for nearly an hour and a half until they were confronted by better armed police. Then they advanced to the Trident-Oberoi Hotel. On the way to the Oberoi the attackers were intercepted by police, and, in the resultant shootout, one terrorist was killed and the other, Amir Ajmal Kasab, was injured and apprehended. This team alone was accountable for a third of the fatalities.

The second team commenced to the Nariman House or Chabad House, a commercial-residential compound run by the Jewish Chabad Lubavich movement. This team accounted for eight casualties, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg from Brooklyn and his wife Rivka from Israel. The third team went to theTrident-Oberoi hotel where they sustained the killing spree for nearly forty two hours before they were shot down by the defense forces. Before they died, they had killed 35persons, including nine foreigners

The fourth, a four-man, team advanced to the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. The attackers fleetingly entered the Leopold Cafe, a place popular with foreigners, covering its consumers with automatic weapons’ fire. Ten people were killed in the cafĂ©. The siege at the Taj hotel concluded 60 hours later when the last of the four attackers was slain by the NSG. The death toll here was of 36 guests of which nine were foreigners.

End of attacks

By the morning of 27 November, the Indian army had

secured the Jewish outreach center at Nariman House as well as the Oberoi Trident hotel and incorrectly believed that the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers had also been cleared of terrorists. The fires were out and soldiers wereleading hostages and holed-up guests to safety and removing bodies of those killed in the attacks. However, later news reports indicated that there were still two or three terrorists in the Taj, with explosions heard and gunfire exchanged. Fires were also reported as having been caused at the ground floor of the Taj with plumes of smoke arising from the first floor. The final operation at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel was completed by the National Security Guards at 08:00 on 29 November, killing three terrorists and resulting in the end of the attacks. The security forces rescued 250 people from the

Oberoi, 300 from the Taj and 60 people (members of 12 different families) from Nariman House.


The list of casualities is long . Among the dead were 136 Indians (including 17 policemen)28 foreigners. The breakdown of the foreigners was as follows: four Americans, three Germans, two Israeli-Americans, two Israelis, two Australians, two Canadians, two French, two Italians, one British-Cypriot, one Dutch, one Japanese, one Jordanian, one Malaysian, one Mauritian, one Mexican, one Singaporean and one Thai. In addition, nine terrorists were killed and one was captured. Twenty-seven other foreigners of different nationalities were injured in the terror strikes and were admitted to the Bombay Hospital. Hospital sources said the injured foreigners were from Australia, USA, UK, Canada, Germany, Canada, Spain, Norway, Finland Oman, China, Japan, the Philippines and Jordan. As discussed earlier, . “The primary intention of the terrorists was to create unprecedented raw fear and panic in the minds of the Indian citizenry and foreign visitors to Indian soil”, according to the report by the Mumbai police report.

According to Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, 15 policemen and two NSG commandos were killed, including the following officers: Assistant Police Sub-Inspector Tukaram Omble died but succeeded in capturing a terrorist alive, with his bare hands. Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad Chief Hemant Karkare, who headed the team investigating the politically sensitive 2006 Malegaon blasts. Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Came, Encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar, Senior inspector Shashank Shinde, NSG Commando Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and NSG Commando Hawaldar Gajendra Singh were also killed in the attack. Three railway officials of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus had also been killed in the terror strikes. In the attack on Oberoi-Trident hotel, 4 hotel guests, 18 diners and 10 staffers died and nine people were injured, including two staffers. Twelve staff members of the Taj Mahal Palace and

Tower Hotel were killed and seven were injured. Their medical treatment and counseling needs will be provided and fully paid for by Taj Hotels.

Details of attacks and casualties of Mumbai Terrorist attacks of 26th November 2008


Type of attack



Mumbai Harbor

Shootings; hostages



Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus(Victoria)

railway station

Shootings; grenade attacks



Leopold Cafe, Colaba

Shootings; grenade explosion



Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel

Shootings; six explosions; fire on ground, first

and top floors; hostages; RDX found nearby.

around 40 (1 commando)

around 250

Oberoi Trident hotel

Shootings; explosions; hostages; fire



Metro Cinema

Shooting from carjacked police jeep

around 10


Cama Hospital

Shootings; hostages

5 policemen


Nariman House (Mumbai Chabad House) Siege

shootings; hostages

7 (1 commando)


Vile Parle suburb, North Mumbai

Car bomb blast



Lane behind Times of India building

Mazagaon docks

Police killed by gunfire

Explosion; boat with armaments seized

9 policemen




Why Mumbai

Mumbai was without difficulty accessible by sea from Pakistan, and it is regard as India’s commercial hub. It also draws a large number of foreign visitors, and it is the most populous metropolitan of India. Rabasa and others explained This in The Lessons of Mumbai:

From the terrorists’ perspective, the Taj Mahal Palace and

Trident-Oberoi Hotels provided ideal venues for killing

fields and financial bastions. As landmark properties

,especially the historic Taj, they were lucrative targets

because of the psychological effect of an attack on them.

They were filled with people–foreigners and local elite.

The attack on foreigners guaranteed international media coverage.

Executors and intention

From the very beginning fingers were pointing in the direction ofLaskar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based radical faction. A dayafter the violence began, Indian police department asserted that theyhad evidence to prove the violence were carried out byLashkar-e-Taiba. They also claimed that the incapacitatedterrorist, along with two other captured Pakistaninatives, had identified themselves as hands of LeT.On 29 November, 2008, the Indian intelligence agencyResearch and Analysis Wing (RAW), by means of the internetprotocol dispatches, located the source of an e-mailsent to media houses during the attack to a computer inPakistan. Some days after the attack, the came across the payments for VoIP phones,

They came across the payments for VoIP phones, whichthe attackers called during the incidents, were made fromKarachi through a Western-Union money transfer.


Lashkar-e-Taiba (hereafter LeT), which plainly meansArmy of the Pure, is one of the largest and most active anddeadly terror networks in South Asia. LeT is an aggressiveoffshoot of Markaz-ud-Dawa-Wal-Irshad, an Islamicorganization renamed as Jamat-ud-Dawa (henceforth JuD)after the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. It wasfounded in1987 by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Osama bin-Laden’s ideological mentor and aprofessor of religious studies.Today, the Pakistan-based JuD runs a web ofeducational, medical, charitable and military institutionson a site at Muridke near Lahore.LeT’s concentration for long was constrained to the freedom of

Jammu and Kashmir from India, but lately it has been trying to grow its terror operations. In an undated pamphlet, Hum Jihad Kyon Kar Rahe Hein (Why we are fighting a jihad), it debated:

Muslims ruled Andalusia for 800 years but they were

finished to the last man. Christians now rule [Spain] and

we must wrest it back from them. All of India, including

Kashmir, Hyderabad, Assam, Nepal, Burma, Bihar and Junagarh

were part of the Muslim empire that was lost because

Muslims gave up jihad. Palestine is occupied by the Jews.

The Holy Qibla-e-Awwal in Jerusalem is under Jewish

control. Several countries such as Bulgaria, Hungary,

Cyprus, Sicily, Ethiopia, Russian Turkistan and Chinese

Turkistan were Muslim lands and it is our duty to get these

back from unbelievers.

In the pamphlet it also stated, “The United States, Israel and India as existential enemies of Islam.”

LeT in India

The major attacks perpetrated by LeT in India are: The 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament, in which nine security guards died, and the 2006 Mumbai commuter train blasts, which killed in 209 people.26 apart from these,LeT’s numerous terrorist attacks in Kashmir are well known.

ISI and LeT

the terrorist institutions –Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad, LeT, and a few off shoots–came into existence to fight the Soviet troops, during the cold war period,in Afghanistan during1980s with support from Pakistan. Haqqani described the relationship in a short:

“The most significant jihadi

group of Wahhabi persuasion is Lashkar-e-Taiba, founded in

1989 by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed(sic). LeT is backed by Saudi

money and protected by Pakistani intelligence services.”

Soon the terrorist groups started focussing on india, mainly waging low-intensity war in Jammu and Kashmir. Raman detailed further, “Since 1994 Pakistan’s Inter-State Intelligence (ISI) has been mainly relying on these organizations for its proxy war against India in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India.”28 The Economist backed this argument, “Pakistan’s generals haveconsistently employed Islamist militants as proxies, from 1947 onwards.”29 The ISI’s role in operating 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai that killed 209 people and in givingcover to Mafioso Dawood Ibrahim who was sought by India, proves a strong relationship between the ISI and terrorist groups. After multiple attacks in India, under American pressure then Pakistan President and General Musharraf placed JuD on a watch list, but that doesn’t seem to have hampered its relations with the ISI.18

Aftermath: Fervent accusations and vehement denials

a day after the attacks had begun,, On November 27th , Manmohan Singh ,theindian Prime Minister said “external forces” were behind the attack, a covert reference to terrorist groups from Pakistan. Hours later he stressed that a group”based outside the country” carried out the attacks. He also forewarned “neighbours” of consequences if they continued to tolerate the use of their territories by terror groups: “there would be a cost if suitable measures are not takenby them” to prevent use of their territory for attacksagainst India.

swiftly; condemning the attacks, they declined any Pakistani involvement. And, in an exceptional move todefuse mounting tensions, the Pakistan government opted to send its ISI’s chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha to India. Butwithin days Pakistan made a volte-face; Pakistan PresidentZardari on CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate program (a prime time television program hosted by karan thapar, an eminent journalist) called itmiscommunication: “There was a miscommunication. We hadannounced that director [level officer] would come from theISI, because it is too early for the Director-Generals to meet at the moment. Let the evidence come to light; let the investigation take its course. Then, perhaps, is the position where the Director-Generals could meet [sic].”

Soon, the Pakistani government, under pressure from the army, turned belligerent and said “let’s show evidence, we’ll take action.” President Zardari talking on CNN’s Larry King Live dismissed the Indian claimof the Pakistani link, terming the arrested terrorist as a “stateless individual.” Zardari, firmly denying the Pakistan state involvement, added: “We have not been given any tangible proof to say that he is definitely a

also refused to hand over terrorists such as Dawood Ibrahim, Maulana Masood Azhar, and Zakhiur Rahman Lakhvi who have taken shelter in Pakistan. But in another interview President Zardari assured that he would take action against any individual or group involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. India was sceptical that even if the Pakistani government acts under international pressure, mainly under American pressure, it would be a short-term measure, not a complete dismantling of the terror infra-structure. Vardarajan described India’s doubts:

As the Pakistani ‘crackdown’ on jihadi groups enters its

third day, Indian officials greeted the news of the house arrest

of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar with skepticism, noting

that previous bouts of detention had done little to deter the

extremist leader from planning and organizing violent attacks

against India. Mr. Azhar, who was released by the Indian

government in 2000 following the hijacking of an Indian Airlines

flight to Kandahar, was first placed under house arrest by the

Pakistani authorities in January 2002 in the wake of the December

2001 terrorist attack on India’s parliament. “He may not have

stirred out of his house in Bahawalpur after that,” a former

intelligence official who closely followed the matter at the time

told The Hindu, “but he was constantly in touch with his people.

The front door was shut but the back door was open all the time.”

Hoax call fiasco

As Indian security services were combatting inside the Taj Palace to clear out the terrorists and rescue trapped guests, the Pakistan President received a late at night call from India, and the caller named himself as Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. He reportedly pressurised the Pakistani president by threatening to attack Pakistan if it failed to rein in terror groups. A concerned Zardari put the army on high alert.37 The Pakistan Air Force swiftly moved their defence aircrafts forward to the bases on the eastern front. The next day General Shuja Pasha, ISI chief threatened to move the army from the Afghan border to the eastern front.38 The troop build-up perplexed the Indian side. The confusion ended when American Secretary of State Condoleezza Ricequizzed Pranab Mukherjee about the threatening call,which he denied.In this whole episode one thing was missing: protocol.

Indian establishments believed it to be the handy work of the ISI or the Pakistani army to escalate the tension levels. They had all the reasons to do it, Chengappa noted:

If India turns the heat on, Kiyani can legitimately pull

his troops out from the unpopular war they are conducting

on the Afghan front and reposition them on the Indian

border. It would also force the US to intervene and give

President-elect Barack Obama an excuse to appoint a special

envoy like Bill Richardson to mediate on Kashmir between

India and Pakistan. Such a move is certain to sour the

strong relations that India and the U.S. have built up

after the nuclear deal. All these developments would

eminently suit both Kiyani and Pakistan.

America’s Response

Both ,the then President Bush and President-elect barack Obama extended full assistance to India. On December 3, 2008, the American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, visiting India, asked

Pakistan “to follow the evidence from the terror strike wherever it leads’ and to do that in the most committed and firmest possible way.” Conveying Pakistan’s intent to help she assured India: “On all scores, the Pakistanis have emphasized their desire to get to the bottom of this and tohelp in any way that they can. I think this is a time for complete, absolute, total transparency and cooperation. And that’s what we expect.”

And, she guaranteed to coax Pakistan to take “very direct and tough action.” U.S. senators John Kerry and John McCain and Admiral Mike Mullen visited New Delhi to advise against any definite strikes or war and Islamabad to influence Pakistan to take “tough action.”

Many sections in India were s doubtful about the U.S. intervention and words, despite recently developed amity. The thinking was the U.S. would at best shove the terror groups into hibernation through applying pressure on the ISI. That is for the U.S. has substantial interests on the Afghanistan-Pakistan borderline. For the Obama government, the Afghan front was important; and for Obama to deliver,the Pakistani army’s help is critical. Varadarajan explained this in The Hindu:

At the end of the day, Indian officials remain wary of the

extent to which the Bush administration – or indeed the

incoming Obama administration – would be prepared to take

the fight against terrorism to the Pakistani military and

its Inter-Services Intelligence. As part of the process of

managing the post-Musharraf transition, Washington had

expressed a high degree of confidence in the anti-jihadi

credentials of Pakistan’s Army chief, Ashfaq Kiyani, and

the man he picked as head of the ISI, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja

Pasha in place of Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj. “I don’t think they

are going to admit they made a mistake now,” an official

said. When Indian officials informally aired their

understanding that the LeT had mounted the Mumbai attacks

with the knowledge of the ISI, they found their U.S.

counterparts in a state of denial. After all, it was barely

weeks since Lt. Gen Shuja Pasha had visited Washington to

help coordinate the ongoing coalition efforts against the

Taliban in the FATA region of Pakistan.

Just before the Mumbai attacks the Pakistani army efforts in the War on Terror were well appreciated by the U.S. The Washington Post journalist David Ignatius summed up the air in both camps:

Pakistan is publicly complaining about U.S. airstrikes.

But the country’s new chief of intelligence, Lt. Gen.

Ahmed Shuja Pasha, visited Washington last week for talks

with America’s top military and spy chiefs, and everyone

seemed to come away smiling. They could pat themselves on

the back, for starters, for the assassination of Khalid

Habib, al-Qaeda’s deputy chief of operations. Habib,

reckoned by some to be the No. 4 leader in al-Qaeda, was

involved in recruiting operatives for future terrorist

attacks against the United States. … U.S. military and

intelligence chiefs applaud Pakistan’s cooperation. But hangs by a slender thread…44

A New York Times report talked about India and Pakistan and the reconciliation between them. It talked about how central it is to American interests:

“An important element of Mr. Obama’s

plan to reduce militancy in Pakistan and turn around the

war in Afghanistan has been to push for a reconciliation

between India and Pakistan, so that the Pakistani

government could focus its energy on the tribal areas…”

The Indian uneasiness was that the U.S. would again use aggressive diplomacy to diminish anger in New Delhi like it did in the case of the attack on Indian embassy in Kabul orchestrated by ISI.46 The Hindu reported, “Even though American citizens had been killed in the Mumbai attacks, the sources said India “can’t expect the U.S. to do what suits us.” The Americans would play this for what fits them–to say, “OK, little boys, don’t fight, we’ll help you sort things out.”

The Indo-U.S.-Pak triangle

countries are known by the enemies they keep In the subject of international relations. If one goes by that proverb, India and Pakistan have been known by each other since their independence. the U.S. weight, often, tilts the scale In this see-saw contest played out by India and Pakistan. maybe by accident or by design, The triangle of relationships is brimming with controversial happenings,.

‘War’ring neighbors

former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright described Pakistan as an “international migraine”. Post the Mumbai turmoil, India Today in its editorial wrote:

“It may be that for the rest of the world but for

India it is a malignant tumour in its brain. It has been so

for the last 60 years. After 26/11, it crossed a new

threshold of pain which needs immediate intervention.”

both countries had fought wars in 1947,1965, 1971 and 1999 Since their independence in 1947.

Goal and significance of the study

This thesis examined how newspapers from india and Pakistan differently perceive a common mishap. a news paper from india was analysed as it was the victim of the attack.

A Newspaper from Pakistan was analyzed because the incident was organized in Pakistan and India alleged Pakistan state connection in the attacks. The reasoning behind newspapers’ selection is discussed more fully in the methodology section. Though, terrorism has long been the anathema of India, no considerable studies had been conducted by academic scholars to analyze the coverage of terrorist attacks in India. The studies conducted on the 2008 terrorist attacks of Mumbai have largely been of the broadcasting of the event on television an radio . This study was meant to fill that void by analyzing the Mumbai attack print coverage in two newspapers, the largest selling in their respective nations: The Dawn and The Times of India.

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