Mumbai, the economic capital of India, shook with terror last evening with a series of near-simultaneous bomb attacks. I got this news on my twitter as a retweet by Omar Abdullah (@Abdullah_Omar) immediately after the second blast, when even the news media websites did not have any report. Till now, the death toll has reached to 20+ and my heart goes with the family who have lost some near and dear ones in those blasts.
But I intend to write about some of my observations on the social behavior of people during such time of crisis. People tweeted, and twitter was far ahead of any other social networking, and Facebook for that matter. People tweeted spreading the news, asking help, offering help, and retweeting the helpline numbers. Twitter was flooded with the hashtags, #MumbaiBlasts, #Happy2help, #EmergencyNumbers, etc. For example, some Tejas Tamhane tweeted just minutes after the blast, from Opera House, the venue of one of the blasts, “Anyone going towards Andhrei? Can you pick me from Opera House? #mumbaiblasts.” There were a lot of tweets offering help, as this one by some Dina, “Anyone stranded in Dadar west – contact me” with her phone number. Celebrities like Priyanka Chopra who has a large following base tweeted the police control room numbers etc.
Another kind of behavior I noted was of people who were out there just to create chaos. As Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) tweeted “The death toll has reached 21. What kind of animals commit such heinous acts?”, these stupid were prompt to suggest him that they were from his own fraternity, Islam. These people with apparently fundamentalist mentality were cheap enough to use bad words and **** for the whole Muslim community, and much more for the secular Indians, the prime minister, home minister, UPA chairperson, and Rahul Gandhi (e.g. using the terms naagin and sapola for Sonia and Rahul Gandhi respectively and using **** words for the Prime Minister of India). I too get one such reply on twitter all filled with F*** and Madar*** kind of words for just suggesting Javed Akhtar to ignore such comments.
Lastly, there was a rumor on all the social networks about it being the birthday of Ajmal Kasab (the only terrorist caught alive from the 26/11 Mumbai attacks) suggesting the link to the choice of date for the blasts (though this date is disputed, BBC and IBN Live suggesting it to be September 13. The Wikipedia article on Kasab underwent several edits just after the blasts and Kasab’s DOB was changed from September 13 to July 13). Many were expressing concerns over why he is still alive and why he was not shoot at the same time of the blasts. This is really a naïve question. Nine of his companions were killed in the police action. It was necessary to catch at least one of them alive and put him through the actual judicial process to let the world know who were the actual perpetrators of those attacks. Kasab’s case in the court has made many things clear. It was necessary to put those facts in front of the international community beyond doubt. Had Kasab been died in direct action, we would have only circumstantial evidences to prove he was a Pakistani. In court, he himself claimed this.
Finally, let’s pray for the families suffered. Their losses are immense, but may God bless them with courage to deal with it, and hope the government bring the culprits to justice soon.