Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Day after Uri terror attack, a check history: In the rear-view mirror, 2008, 2001, 1999

The attack on the 12th Brigade headquarters at Uri on Sunday in which 18 soldiers were killed is not the first time that an Indian government has had to weigh its response in the face of grave provocation that it attributed directly or indirectly to Pakistan. 

 Post-Kargil in 1999, there have been at least three other occasions on which the nation and the government have found themselves in a situation similar to the one that is unfolding now — extreme public anger and pressure to give a “befitting reply” to Pakistan. This is how those situations unfolded, and the option that India finally exercised. 

Mumbai, 2008 
Ten terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Toiba sailed to Mumbai by boat from Karachi, landed near Colaba on November 26, entered the city late that evening, and shot their way to the Chhattrapati Shivaji railway Terminus, the Taj Hotel, the Oberoi, and the Chabad House Jewish centre. The city was under siege for more than three days during which the terrorists killed 164 people and injured scores.

Parliament attack, 2001 
Four months after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York that year, following which the Bush Administration threatened to bomb Pakistan “back to the Stone Age” if it did not play ball in the US invasion of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, five heavily armed terrorists, allegedly from the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba, drove into the Parliament complex using a fake entry pass and engaged security personnel in a one-hour gunbattle. 

The session had just been adjourned for the day, but some 100 Members of Parliament were in the complex. No Parliamentarian was injured, but 12 people, including security personnel, a gardener and a journalist, were killed in the attack. 

IC 814 hijack, 1999 
On December 24, an Indian Airlines Airbus was hijacked shortly after it left Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport for New Delhi. On board were 176 passengers. The hijackers belonged to the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a terrorist group that owed its origins to the ISI. 

Their demand was the release of several prisoners being held in India, including Masood Azhar, a high-value member of the Harkat-ul-Ansar, the name by which the HuM had been known earlier. A previous attempt, by a group called Al Faran, to have Masood Azhar and few other Harkat-ul-Ansar members released from prison in India, had failed. 

The Al Faran group had taken nine foreign hostages in Kashmir in 1995, and after India refused to give in, one of the hostages was found beheaded, another escaped, and the rest were never found.

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