The scope and enigmatic source of the attacks in Mumbai, India on November 26 have provided a Rorschach test for analysts, politicians and journalists the world over. Bits and pieces of hard information about how the attackers arrived in Mumbai and what they did there are beginning to surface, but do not explain fully the source of the attacks. Assumptions and suppositions, filtered through a variety of ideological predispositions, are plentiful. Here are some of the major claims being made about potential suspects.
Claim: Pakistan Is Behind the Attacks
Source: Indian officials including Foreign Minister Praneb Mukherjee and Manmohan Singh, much of the Indian media.
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" (Singh, speaking in a television address following the attacks).Explanation: India and Pakistan have been hostile since their division in 1947 into Hindu and Muslim states, respectively. India has long accused Pakistan, and Pakistan's intelligence service, of fostering violence in India.
Claim: Indian Muslims Are Behind the Attacks
Source: Tariq Ali, journalist and commentator of globalization, terrorism and other topics
Explanation: Although Hindus are a majority in India, there is a substantial Muslim minority. Violence flares between them periodically. In 2002, there were a series of riots set off by a fire that killed 25 Hindus traveling on a train. Whether intentional or accidental, the fires led to days of collective attacks by Hindus and Muslims against each other that left over a thousand people dead, mostly Muslims, thousands more injured and several hundred displaced.
The terrorist assault on Mumbai's five-star hotels was well-planned, but did not require a great deal of logistic intelligence: all the targets were soft. The aim was to create mayhem by shining the spotlight on India and its problems and in that the terrorists were successful. The identity of the black-hooded group remains a mystery....
Why should it be such a surprise if the perpetrators are themselves Indian Muslims? Its hardly a secret that there has been much anger within the poorest sections of the Muslim community against the systematic discrimination and acts of violence carried out against them of which the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in shining Gujarat was only the most blatant and the most investigated episode, supported by the chief minister of the state and the local state apparatuses.
Claim: Lashkar e Tayyiba Is Responsible for the Attacks
Source: Indian, as well as U.S.intelligence agencies.
The Indian security official said the attackers likely had ties to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a guerrilla group run by Pakistani intelligence in the conflict with India in the disputed territory of Kashmir ... India also blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba for a suicide assault on its Parliament by gunmen in December 2001 that led to a perilous military standoff with Pakistan.Explanation: Lashkar e Tayyiba is a Pakistan based militant group dedicated to a purist vision of Islam and Islamic politics. It has been active since the 1990s, and has promoted violence in Indian-ruled Kashmir as a version of jihad. Officially, neither the Pakistani government nor its intelligence service supports the group, but suspicion remains that it does.
Claim: Lashkar e Tayyiba Is Not Responsible for the Attacks
Source: Lashkar e Tayyiba, Abdulla Ghaznavi, Spokesman:
LeT condemns such acts and we have no link with those responsible for such acts. Linking us with the strikes in Mumbai is an attempt to malign the ongoing struggle in Kashmir.
And, in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph:
Neither have we had any thing to do with these attacks nor do we have any kind of links with so-called groups who called themselves as Deccan Mujahideen .... What is really bizarre or more seems like an Indian obsession [is that] they started raising their hands on us or other groups.Explanation: Lashkar-e-Tayyiba has no motive for claiming a connection with the attacks. In their view, Kashmir is a legitimate arena for struggle on Islamic and nationalist grounds, whereas the attacks in India do not seem to be. They are counter-charging that India always accuses Pakistani groups of responsibility when violence erupts.