In the midst of all the depressing developments from West Asia, the news from further east seems mildly heartening. Not only have the Mumbai blasts failed to start a bloodbath between Hindus and Muslims there, despite the sectarian tension being fomented by the Shiv Sena immediately before the blasts, but this report reveals a hitherto unnoticed determination on the part of the Muslims in Mumbai particularly, but also among the Hindus, to use this opportunity to reinforce the message both communities can live in peace and reach out to each other in solidarity in times when both are under attack. After all, the bombings did not distinguish between Hindu and Muslim, so why should the victims?
Although it seems fairly clear by now that the blasts were the work of Muslim extremists, there seems to be some uncertainty about who exactly was involved. SIMI seems to be a prime suspect, but the agencies seem divided in their assertions about whether the bombers were organized by the ISI, whether they were home grown, or whether they originated and trained in Bangladesh.
All three are possible. The ISI has been keen on outsourcing its terrorism for some time, never having been able to achieve what India managed in 1971 - the fragmentation of Pakistan, thanks to the then secular nationalists in Bangladesh. But since the eighties, the ISI, no doubt with some generous funding from Saudi financiers, have managed to achieve the increasing (but still limited) Talibanization of Bangladeshi society and politics. Coinciding with the growing wave of migration of workers coming in illegally into India, this has made it possible for the ISI to organize sleepers of Bangladeshi origin in India, whose members can cross the porous Indo-Bangladesh border to receive training and infiltrate back to India. That's why terrorism will continue to appear in an Islamic garb in India for some time to come, because the underlying trends that allow it to flourish and from which it draws sustenance are not about to dry up, thanks mainly to the Global War on Terror.
That is precisely why we must rely more on popular forms of resistance to terrorism such as the demonstrations of solidarity by the people of Mumbai. These need to be accompanied by struggles for justice for people of all communities. Finally we should dissociate ourselves from the foreign policies of our recent allies like the US, UK and Israel. Clearly those states have no interest in the very measures that are likely to "drain the swamp" of terrorism, and every interest in nurturing the Global War on Terror.