Mumbai bombings wound peace process

Monday's lunchtime bomb blasts marked the 10th anniversary of a bombing campaign that demolished Mumbai's image as the New York of India in 1993. The implications are many…

The most recent attacks killed up to 50 people and injured 140 others.
Both bombs were placed in the trunks of taxi cabs.

The blasts are the most severe of the three Mumbai bombings this year. The places that were targeted today are significant.

The Gateway of India is the pride of Mumbai and is a national landmark. Zaveri Bazaar is one of the shopping paradises of India. These places were targeted in 1993 also.

The twin taxi blasts are not only significant but devastating for two reasons.

Firstly, Mumbai - also known as Bombay - is the financial capital of India.

August was until now a golden month for the Indian economy. The stock market was soaring and the Indian economy seemed to have risen out of its slump and registered significant gains despite the Iraq war and Sars.

The rupee's value was at a five-year high.

When news of the blasts spread through the banking sector, the stock market crashed by three per cent and almost all stocks fell.

Secondly, the blasts have dealt a devastating blow to the fledgling Indo-Pakistan peace process as Daewood Ibrahim, the mastermind behind the 1993 bombings remains at large in Pakistan.

He is on the list of the “20 most wanted terrorists” the Indian government handed to Pakistan's leader General Musharraf in 2002.

Politically, these blasts couldn’t have come at a worse time. The death and devastation will once again remind Indians they are not safe.

The twin taxi bomb blasts clearly show the lack of preparation by the state government and the miserable failure of the Indian intelligence agencies in anticipating the strike of terrorists unlike in 2002 when the whole of India was on high alert because of the 10th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

Or did the state government ignore the warnings of the intelligence agencies?

The blasts seem to have occurred in mainly Gujarati-dominated areas of Mumbai.

There were reports earlier this month that the Pakistani LET (Lashkar-e-Toiba) was planning attacks along with the banned Simi organisation of India in retaliation for the Gujarat riots of 2002.

Did the intelligence agencies relax after being on high alert during Indian Independence day?

Once things settle down, the state government of Maharashtra and the intelligence agencies have a lot to answer for.

Right now, the people of Mumbai are gripped by terror and reminded of the nightmare of 1993.

The Indian army has been called in to assist the state government and the rest of India is now on a state of high alert.

Investigations have been launched to track those responsible for Monday's atrocities.