CHAPTER 2: CONSEQUENCES.

“INDIA UNDER ATTACK!”

“1000 KILLED, 1600 INJURED.”

“4 CITIES,4 BLASTS,1 NATION.”

“TERRORISM WINS. AGAIN.”

I was on the hospital bed,reading the morning news on my tab and these were some of the few headlines I passed by. Internet,especially the social networking sites were abuzz with messages and views regarding the attacks on Mumbai,Delhi,Kolkata and Bangalore in a single day and full fledged criticism against the nation’s still not so foolproof security. Time and again,the country of billions reeled to such incidents and then after a few days,it was back to square one,except for the families of the victims.

The Government then would declare some funds for those affected and that in turn keeps the families silent for some time. But then,if one among the ruling party members are hell bent on being rich in a short time,that leads to a scam and then the opposition party attacks them under this pretext,hoping they will bring down the ruling party’s image down as much as possible before the next elections and then a war of words starts between them which are made more exclusive and interesting by the media and then?

Another blast awakens everyone and the cycle continues.

We Indian’s won’t improve so easily. That’s for sure!

I was at the hospital after the previous night’s incident. The guy knocked me down and soon,I blanked out. A few stitches on my forehead and a swollen nose was all I was left with. It became difficult and down irritating to converse with anyone in this nasal tone of mine.

My parents,Abhi and Adi were besides me the entire night. Mom still asked the same question again and again. “Why did you go behind him? You should have let him go. You can earn back money but you can’t get back your life.”

Apparently, I lied to her that a well built guy robbed me of my wallet and the current condition of my face is all thanks to him.

I thanked Aditya a million times in my head, because if he hadn’t turned up at the right time,well..I would have been bludgeoned down to death! Spotting Aditya and some guys approaching, the terrorist thug went away gifting me my life in return.

Abhishek on the other hand had been successful in keeping the bomb away in an isolated place. I was happy when I checked the stats which said “2 dead. 3 injured” across Mumbai. The dead might be due to their proximity to the blast. The injured might be due to the shrapnels that goes in all directions after the blast. I was relieved that the number of deceased in the blast was a single digit rather than the three digit figure in other cities. We were successful in our small mission. Also, Abhishek went away from the spot, as if nothing happened.

Man! You saved hundreds of lives and you walked off as if nothing happened?

He was still the ‘modesty personified’ guy,the same way he was during the college days.

Another reason why he didn’t give into being famous by revealing it all to the media might be the fact that it would surely garner attention and then our lives will be at risk. That was never an option since we have a family to support and look after. We couldn’t risk our lives at this stage of our lives. It would be stupid to do so,that too for the sake of being famous.

Sigh.

“Did you see for any CCTV’s when you kept the bomb away?”,I asked Abhi in a hushed tone after Mom went away for a while.

“The CCTV’s were few and that too inside the mall,whereas I placed the bag outside the mall,behind a deserted bus stop. And I’m pretty sure,the CCTV’s were just for namesake.I bet!”,he beamed.

And he was correct. No evidence could be gathered from the spot.

I felt relieved.

Later that evening, another news turned heads. The terrorist organisation Jihad-e-Mujahideen (JeM) claimed responsibility behind the attacks.
In a short video,their chief said that the Indian’s didn’t pay heed to their demands and warnings and they’ll suffer in the future too, if we don’t entertain their demands.

Their demand being the release of some of their main terrorists held captive in Indian jails,which the Indian Government plainly refused.

And that resulted in these blasts.

“And Mumbai people, be ready.”,he signed off.

That was a sign of events to come. Eventually,the security in and around the city was beefed up. The city of dreams went on high alert. Schools and colleges were shut down for a few days. More police force was visible everywhere. They kept vigil 24×7. Or tried doing so.

But till when?

That was the question to be answered.

“What’s this JeM now? Haven’t heard about them as such..”,Adi scratched his head,confused.

We weren’t surprised at his question. He rarely read news. All he loved was cricket,his DSLR and the hidden folder in his laptop which contained..you know what.

“I had read about them about an year ago..It was the amalgamation of two of the strongest terrorist outfits right? Is this their first major attack?”,Abhi tried hard to remember.

“Yes..you’re right Abhishek. And yeah! it’s their first major attack.

Jihad stands for a war or struggle against non believers and Mujahideen are the guerrilla fighters in Islamic countries, especially those who are fighting against non-Muslim forces.So now, you know what JeM stands for.”

They nod in approval.

“JeM was formed in 2018 by two of the strongest and most feared terrorist organisations. One was active in the South Asian region especially the Indian Subcontinent whereas the other was more prominent at the Western regions of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The motive of the first group founded in 1986 was the integration of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan after ending Indian rule in the state & propagation of pan-Islamism in South Asia whereas the second group formed in 1999 followed the ideology of Salafism.

“Continue.”,Abhi seemed interested,while Adi was fiddling with his phone.

“The first group was behind the 1998 Wandhama massacre,Chittisinghpura massacre, 2000 terrorist attack on Red Fort ,2002 Kaluchak massacre,
2003 Nadimarg massacre, 2005 Delhi bombings,2006 Varanasi bombings,2006 Doda massacre,
2006 Mumbai train bombings and the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
They see the issue of Kashmir as part of a wider global struggle. The group has repeatedly claimed through its journals and websites that its main aim is to destroy the Indian republic and to annihilate Hinduism and Judaism. They have also declared Hindus and Jews to be the “enemies of Islam”, as well as India and
Israel to be the “enemies of Pakistan”.

“A significant goal of the  second group has been the foundation of a Sunni Islamic state.
Later,it established itself as a caliphate,led by a group of religious authorities under a supreme leader—the caliph—who is believed to be the successor to Prophet.

The aim of the second group is to  Terrorize,Mobilize,Polarize.

Terrorize to intimidate civilian populations and force governments of the target enemy “to make rash decisions that they otherwise would not choose”.

Mobilize its supporters by motivating them with, for example, spectacular deadly attacks on enemy soil such as the November 2015 Paris attacks.

Polarize by driving Muslim populations—particularly in the West—away from their governments, thus increasing the appeal of the caliphate among them.

They were the participants in the Syrian Civil War, Iraq War (2003–2011), Iraqi insurgency, Iraq War (2014–2017), Second Libyan Civil War, Boko Haram insurgency, War in North-West Pakistan, War in Afghanistan, Yemeni Civil War and other similar conflicts.”

“Interesting stuff. But then why did they join hands?”,Abhi enquired.

“It all happened after the end of the Iraq war in 2017. The war which started in 2014 had started taking its toll on world peace and finally when the superpowers -USA and Russia finally started their campaigns against them,they lost.
But they didn’t give up hopes so easily. They were still hell bent on their ideologies. The first group was still strong in the terror world at numero uno position. Hence they joined hands in a view to help each other out and in the process, wage a war against their opponents and that’s how Jihaad-e-Mujahideen came into existence. ”

“Continue.”,Abhi was engrossed in the story.
Adi had went outside for his usual round of smoke.

“What continue? Do I look like a story teller to you? Go and Google it yourself! My nose is hurting and I’m finding it damn difficult to speak properly..and you are here asking me to continue? Buzz off!”,I smirk irritated.

“Ohk fine! You take rest. I’ll be back soon.”,he said and left the room.

I stared at the hospital ceiling.
Blank,in thoughts.

“And Mumbai people, be ready.”,his voice played in my ears.

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