Mumbai Blasts: Of Cowards and Crowd Sourcing

Late evening yesterday( Mumbai time) the city was hit by three coordinated bomb blasts- all targeting major business areas with heavy civilian population.

The cowards who carried out these attacks took 21 innocent lives and injured around 141. No matter how many times and how strongly we condemn these acts of violence, it seems like nothing changes. Terrorists are springing up every day and the state and law enforcement are playing catch up rather than being a step ahead of these criminals.

India, with it’s long history of dealing with both domestic and international terrorism, and especially after the Thanksgiving Mumbai attacks, is rightfully expected to be on alert and on the look out for possible miscreants. It is not possible, with limited resources and manpower to completely monitor a large country like India but Mumbai has been victim of terror far too long for slips like this to occur. Intelligence failure, mismanagement or resource crunch-whatever contributed to the terrorists succeeding and the state failing has to be thoroughly examined and heads should roll. How long can India allow violence like this on its soil? the people should demand better performance from their law enforcement and intelligence agency and hold the government- state and central, accountable.

Speaking about accountability, people of Mumbai and other parts of India and the world who were using Twitter to share information just moments after the blasts did something incredible. In light of tragedy and environment of fear and misinformation, there was concentrated effort to stop rumors, also hateful finger pointing. There were some who exposed their ugly side by accusing a particularly controversial neighbor, even before the number of dead and injured was confirmed, but by and large the feverish twitter mania was civil.People were instead tweeting about transportation situation, sharing information on loved ones’ location and also about nearest hospitals and request for blood donation. The crowd, this time, did not turn into a mob. They were citizens united and used the Internet and tools to communication and share, giving hope to many.

Hope that when cowards attack; a crowd of sensitive, organized and active citizenry and well wishers ready to help is possible- thanks to social media and the Internet.

The tweeps also quickly refuted claims that the blasts (July 13) coincide with terrorist Kasab’s birthday. Actually his birthday is September 13 based on official information. Sadly, major news sources here in US continue to ( at the time of writing) highlight the non existent coincidence.

If you would like to go through the Mumbai blast tweets, I suggest following these users: pragmatic_d, acorn, tavleen_singh, bdutt.

And here are some tweets, great examples of crowd sourcing to serve public interest.

“@BDUTT: Before we blame whichever group for the #mumbaiblasts can we please first get our facts in place. knee jerk responses hurt national interest”

“@itsNchan: @firstpostin B-ve donors needed tomorow after 10 am, KEM Hospital, Parel, #Mumbai contact the hosp. blood bank at 022-24135189/24107421”

“@zburki: #Google Docs spreadsheet offers help in wake of #Mumbai blasts. #India #Pakistan #LeT”

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