Mumbai: The 13/11 Paris terror attack has brought alive memories of the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attack whose seventh anniversary is around the corner.
As Mumbai went into a state of high alert on Saturday, people attempted to draw similarities and differences between the two high profile strikes, and there were many.
Former Mumbai police commissioner Julio Ribeiro feels the Paris attack and the 26/11 Mumbai strike were very different in several aspects.
“In Mumbai, the fidayeens sneaked in through the Arabian Sea route, while in Paris, it is not clear how they came. But one thing is clear in both — terrorists strike when your guard is down, and inflict maximum damage,” Ribeiro told IANS.
He said the intention of both attacks was similar — to effect maximum casualties and strike terror in the hearts of the people in the world, akin to terror strikes anywhere across the globe.
Former police commissioner D. Sivanandan, who headed the Maharashtra CID during the 26/11 attack said the motive behind both the attacks were similar to terror strikes anywhere.
Like in Mumbai, the terrorists in Paris went around in pairs as ‘terror buddies’, and it was a meticulously planned suicide attack as all the eight perpetrators perished in the operations. In Mumbai, nine were killed and one was captured alive.
“In Mumbai, the government launched a combined security operation by multiple agencies to flush them out from various locations they had virtually laid siege to,” Sivanandan told IANS.
The counter-terror operations continued for 60 hours, with a lot of casualties suffered by the security forces, but they managed to kill nine and nab one terrorist alive (Ajmal Kasab).
In Paris, it all seems to have ended quickly, though they inflicted an equally heavy toll, but the French police are now hunting for their accomplices, and once they get them, it can take 6 or 60 minutes or 60 hours to eliminate them.
“Every terror attack has differences or similarities since the targets, motives, and the handlers are different with a common goal to strike terror in the world which they succeeded during the Mumbai and the Paris attacks,” Sivanandan said.
A former ambassador to Romania, and police chief of Gujarat and Punjab, Ribeiro warned that terror attacks like Paris or Mumbai can happen “anywhere, anytime, when we let our guard down… No two strikes are similar as the targeted locations, opportunities and intentions differ”.
The Mumbai terror attacks were carried out at 12 locations in a small area — barely 5 square km — while the Paris attacks were spread across six targeted locations in close proximity.
While one is India’s commercial and glamour capital, the other is a national capital and a fashionable global tourist destination.
Sivanandan says now the primary task is to “learn lessons, ensure how security and safety of vulnerable locations in India and other parts of the world can be strengthened to ensure there are no similar terror strikes”.