The day after 16 people were killed by a pair of bombs in the city of Hyderabad, Indian officials admitted they had received a warning about terrorist activity just two days earlier, but weren't able stop the attack. No arrests have been made in the attack on a crowed shopping district that injured more than 100 people, and no one has yet claimed credit, but officials believe it may be related to an Islamic militant group known as the Indian Mujahideen. They have taken responsibility for other bombings in recent years, and are officially labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Indian governments.
According to reports, British intelligence services sent an alert to Indian authorities earlier this week, based on information they had gathered in preparation for an upcoming trip to Mumbai by Prime Minister David Cameron. (He's set to arrive next Monday.) While the tip did not mention any specific threats or plots, a general warning was sent out across the country and security services were placed on heightened alert.
The Indian Mujahideen is based in India, but is believed to be affiliated the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani terrorist group that was behind the worst terror attacks in India's history, including an assault on the Parliament building in 2001 and the Mumbai massacres in 2008, and justice has been slow in coming to both. It was learned earlier this month that one of perpetrators of 2001 attack was secretly executed by the Indian government on February 9, setting off a wave of protests in the disputed region of Kashmir. While not a member of the Indian Mujahideen, the government had feared there would be reprisals from Islamic terror cells in India. Indian and Pakistani solders guarding the Kashmir border have also had numerous clashes in recent months, result in several deaths.
There are fears now that this bombing may set off a new wave of ethnic and religious violence among India's Muslims, Hindus, Christians. It's already sparked criticism against the government for failing to read the signals and prevent the attack from happening. The Indian news service NDTV also reported today that one of the founders of IM was actually in police custody in 2008, but a Special Task Force let him go without realizing his true identity. More details like these are sure to undermine the already shaky confidence that citizens have in their police forces.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.