India’s date with 9/11

Indo-Asian News Service

Mumbai, November 27, 2008

Twenty four hours and still counting. As darkness settled over India’s financial capital today, the brazen terror strike that had started the night before and already killed 101 people continued well into the night with gunfire raging as commandos fought to free the scores of people still held hostage.

The toll — from last night when armed men had sneaked into Mumbai on boat till this evening — was 101 killed, including three of Mumbai’s best known police officers and six foreigners, and 287 injured. The foreigners’ identity or their nationalities were not known.

Flames were seen leaping out of the iconic Taj hotel opposite the Gateway of India, as well as the Oberoi Trident hotel, facing the waterfront of the Arabia Sea, where the terrorists had alighted. Many hostages were still trapped inside the Oberoi Trident and Nariman Bhavan in south Mumbai.

Terrorists had begun their siege of the city around 9.30 p.m. yesterday when they fanned out to 10 places in a meticulously planned operation — nine in south Mumbai including the busy Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and one in the suburb of Vile Parle.

PM Manmohan Singh addressed the nation and said: “It is evident that the group which carried out these attacks, based outside the country, had come with a single-minded determination to create havoc in the commercial capital of the country.”

“We will take up strongly with our neighbours that the use of their territory for launching attacks on us will not be tolerated and that there would be a cost if suitable measures are not taken by them.”

Peace ministry delivers a mixed bag

Kathmandu, November 27, 2008

Pyakurel criticised the government for its failure to come up with counselling centres for conflict victims. “Thousands of women and children are traumatised. But, unfortunately, there is no government mechanism to support them emotionally,” he alleged.

Gauri Pradhan, member, National Human Rights Commission, sprang to the ministry’s defence for making effort to hold talks with the armed outfits in the Tarai. Be that as it may, the violence in the Tarai continues unabated.Stakeholders agree in unison that the functioning of Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction has been tardy since the Maoist-led government assumed power.

“Legal framework to implement peace accord and setting up of commission on the disappeared are long overdue,” said Subodh Raj Pyakurel, chairperson, Informal Service Sector (INSEC).

“The ministry, for reasons best known to the government, has been unable to prioritise its goals. It has failed to utilise the resources at its disposal,” added Pyakurel.

It may be recalled that the ruling coalition had pledged to set up the panel on the disappeared within 60 days of signing the Common Minimum Agreement.