When we talk about independence and war, we either see victory or defeat, but fail to see is the blood on the battlefield, and the millions losing their lives and families in a single moment; while India’s independence in 1947 is a moment in our history we are proud of, the partition that came at its cost has always been vastly ignored. After the partition, there has been constant unrest between India and Pakistan, right from the latter attacking Kashmir to both killing soldiers along the border, the countries have shared equal hatred towards each other.
The 26/11 Mumbai terror attack however, was the most shocking episode of violence and hatred shown by one country towards the other. The ten attacks did not only target only the rich or the poor, but targeted the heart of the country: from Leopold Cafe to the Grand Taj, from hospitals to the Oberoi Hotel, the attack diminished any essence of love and trust between India and Pakistan from its roots, and the injury of more than 300 people reminded us that independence always comes at a cost. 26/11 is now a memory so deeply engraved in the minds of the Indian public that it continues to terrorize their minds even after 10 years.
Indian agencies concluded that these attacks were carried out by a terrorist organisation named Lashkar-e-Taiba based in Pakistan, but the Pakistani government strongly refuted these claims and stated that it had no link with the attack. In December 2008, after many deliberations between the two India and Pakistan, presentation of evidence by the former and refusals made by the latter, Pakistan’s security forces eventually attacked Lashkar-e-Taiba under pressure from the UN Security Council, and prohibited the activities of organization. In this attack, the security forces arrested Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the leader of the organisation. This step taken by Pakistan was seen as a positive attempt by the country to resolve the half-century old strife with its neighbour.
However, though the Pakistani government arrested the leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the cases of the same are still pending in its courts as India mourns the tenth anniversary of 26/11. Concrete evidence was given by the Indian government incriminating the arrested party, but the evidence has been disregarded almost entirely and considered insufficient for their trial by Pakistan’s courts.
In December 2008, Defence Minister A.K Anthony stated that India was not at war with Pakistan but warned the latter against its suspected attacks.
The bilateral ties between India and Pakistan grew cold after 26/11, but a fresh attempt was made by the Indian government led by Mr. Narendra Modi, after he invited the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, for the oath taking ceremony after the 2014 elections. Despite this attempt to mend relation, many in the opposition and the public claimed that memories of 26/11 could never be forgotten, and nor could the negligence of the Pakistani government while handling the matter. Vivek Khatju, the former External Affairs Secretary, even said that “No government can try and ignore the Mumbai terror attack while dealing with Pakistan”. Moreover, the progress made by the many peace treaties and bilateral agreements between the two countries took a setback after the recent Pathankot attack and the Uri attack, which refreshed the memory of 26/11 in the minds of the common public.
In one of his reports, Kapil Sibal stated that a ground reality that India has to accept is that Pakistan is definitely not a friendly neighbour. Even after taking into consideration the various statements made by the Pakistani government of trying to enter into peace talks with India, the recurring incidents of attacks cannot be disregarded or forgotten. Despite many ongoing attempts to mend the relationship with Pakistan, 26/11 will always haunt the citizens of the country.
–Contributed by Udepta
Picture Credits: PTI