New Delhi, Feb 19 2007: Wahid Khan had come to the Old Delhi Railway Station here last night to see off his relatives who were going to Pakistan to attend a marriage.
Shock and disbelief writ large on his face, Khan, a resident of adjoining Ghaziabad, was back at the station this morning frantically looking for information about his relatives as news came in of twin explosions on the Samjhauta Express. Khan’s 70-year-old mother, brother Tariqat (25) and friend Isteghar were on the train.
“They were going to Pakistan to attend a marriage function. They were so happy to be able to go to Pakistan. I am just hoping somebody tells me they are safe and sound,” he said.
Sixty-eight-year-old Mohammad Ali came to the station looking for his son Tanveer’s father-in-law, Afzal Khan who had come from Pakistan to attend a function and was going back. Afzal’s wife and his 18-year-old daughter Tanya were also with him on the train and their whereabouts were unknown.
Ali complained that railway authorities were not forthcoming in giving any information regarding the incident.
“Probably, we have to go to Panipat to get the exact information,” he said.
These are only two such tragic stories.
As the Samjhauta Express, its two coaches on fire and its passengers screaming for help, stopped at the railway crossing in Siwa, the villagers were in for an experience they would never forget.
Satnarayan, who was among the first to reach the spot, said he will never forget the sight of the two train coaches on fire.
“Huge flames leapt out of the windows of the coaches and smoke billowed out. There were people inside the coaches who were screaming for help,” he said.
Before the smoke had even settled down, both the Indian media as well as government authorities were pointing the finger at Pakistan, and in particular, Lashkar-e-Taiba. Ofcourse we now know that it was infact right-wing Hindu terrorists, among them a serving Indian military officer, who caused this carnage in an attempt to malign Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Lashkar-e-Taiba is a militant organization fighting the forced Indian occupation in Kashmir. They have been known to be the most lethal, technologically advanced, highly trained and the most destructive force among all of the Kashmiri resistance groups and have been bleeding the Indian occupation forces in Kashmir for years now. In accordance with Islamic teachings, they have a policy of not attacking civilians, and have denounced countless terrorist acts targeting civilians in both India and Pakistan.
In addition to their resolve and ability, one of the reasons Lashkar-e-Taiba has been so effective in Kashmir is the popular support they enjoy among ordinary Kashmiris. Hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris have taken to the streets this year demanding freedom from India, chanting such slogans as ‘India teri maut ai, lashkar aai lashkar aai’ and ‘lashkar-e-taiba se rishta kya, la ilaha il-Allah’ (Watch Video).
Blaming Lashkar-e-Taiba is not only a great diversion for the understandably angry Indian public looking at their leaders for answers, it also helps paint Lashkar-e-Taiba as mindless terrorists and Pakistan as a state sponsor of Terrorism. Pointing towards the ‘traditional enemy’ means they can’t be held accountable, and provides the perfect cover for home grown Hindu terrorists, giving them a free hand to keep slaughtering Muslims and Christians in India.
Within the first half an hour of the attacks in Mumbai, the Indian media had once again started pointing the finger at Pakistan. They now claim to have caught a terrorist who’s confessed to being trained by Pakistan’s ISI at camps run by Lashkar-e-Taiba.
It is interesting to note that after the 2006 bombings on Mumbai’s trains, the Indians claimed to have caught ‘Pakistani lashkar members’ who had confessed links with ISI. All seven of them later withdrew their confessions in court.
India has a history of blaming everything under the sun on Pakistanis, the ISI and Lashkar-e-Taiba, and has threatened to attack Jama’at-ud-Dawa’s headquarters in Muridke, which the Indians claim holds training camps run by Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Jama’at-ud-Dawa was a established in 1985 as a charity, and are credited with building and running hundreds of hospitals and schools all over Pakistan. They have won international acclaim for their role in distaster management and providing relief to disaster victims all over the world, most notably in the earthquakes in Pakistan in 2005 and 2008.
They have provided emergency relief, aid, run medical camps and mobile operation units in some of the most impoverished rural areas of Pakistan.
Militants, they’re not. And while they may morally support all freedom movements around the world including in Kashmir (most Pakistanis do), they are a separate entity altogether to LeT which operates only in occupied Kashmir.
In response to Indian allegations and threats, Jama’t-ud-Dawa yesterday took the unprecedented step of opening up their facilities to the media (BBC: Peaceful School or Terror Base?) to prove that the Indian allegations are false, yet again.
Meanwhile, Lashkar-e-Taiba has denied involvement in the Mumbai attacks and told the Indians to look at home, just as they did after the Samjhauta Express bombings – in response to Indian allegations then.
And guess what, they were right.