I wonder because of this report in today’s NYT:
NEW DELHI — Over the past several years, terrorist attacks in India have become an everyday presence in everyday places. The targets seem to have nothing in common except that they are ordinary and brazenly easy to strike.
In eastern Varanasi, a deadly explosion interrupted Hindu devotees as they lighted oil lamps to Hanuman, the monkey god, one Tuesday at dusk. In southern Hyderabad, a homemade bomb planted inside a historic mosque killed worshipers on a Friday afternoon. In Mumbai, India’s largest city, nearly 200 commuters on packed city trains died in a series of blasts.
And, in the most recent attack, 17 back-to-back explosions struck shoppers and strollers on Saturday evening in Ahmedabad in western India, and then two blasts hit the very hospitals where the wounded and their relatives rushed for help, killing 49 people and wounding more than 200.
In a country long familiar with sharply focused violence — whether sectarian or fueled by insurgencies in Kashmir in the 1990s — the impersonal nature of the latest violence is new and deeply unsettling.
“This is different, because for the first time it’s everyday, it’s utterly anonymous, it’s excessive,” said Shiv Vishvanathan, a professor of anthropology in Ahmedabad. “The familiar becomes unfamiliar,” he said. “The apple seller you meet might be carrying a bomb. It creates suspicion. It’s a perfect way to destabilize society.”
Sounds like some men just want to watch the world burn! You may be forgiven for thinking that perhaps Somini Sengupta wrote the above too soon after watching The Dark Knight, with the Joker’s anarchy too fresh in her mind. But then she cites a chilling statistic:
A report last year by the National Counterterrorism Center in Washington concluded that from January 2004 to March 2007, the death toll from terrorist attacks in India was 3,674, second only to that in Iraq during the same period.
…followed by this really bizarre bit:
An obscure group calling itself the Indian Mujahedeen warned Saturday that an attack was about to take place “in revenge of Gujarat,” plainly referring to the 2002 killings. The statement was sent in an e-mail message, written in English, to television stations just before the first blasts.
The police in Mumbai traced the e-mail back to the Internet protocol address of an American citizen living in Navi Mumbai, a satellite city across the water from India’s commercial capital. They identified him as Kenneth Haywood, a general manager of an executive training firm called Campbell White. The firm’s Web site said it offers “accent neutralization, cultural comprehension and verbal/non verbal communication.”
The Mumbai police said that he had been questioned but not arrested and that they were still investigating whether he could have been involved or whether his e-mail account had been hacked. “He is a suspect, yes,” said a police officer involved in the investigation. “He may not be a suspect as well.”
The Times of India reported that it had reached Mr. Haywood and that he had denied sending the message.
An unidentified man who answered a Campbell White phone number in Bangalore said he could not comment. The United States Embassy in Delhi and the consulate in Mumbai declined to comment as well, citing American privacy laws.
Forgive me for belaboring this, but Holy Batman!! WTF is going on?!
And if that doesn’t fill you with enough despair about where India is going, how about this in the same newspaper of record?