On Tuesday July 11th, a series of bombs exploded in the crowded trains of Mumbai, India. Mumbai, a city described by BBC News as "one of the most congested cities in the world," possesses a commuter railroad line with an extremely high passenger rate. The bombings that occurred the morning of July 11th were set off during peak hour train rides, leaving many people hurt or fatally wounded. Within 11 minutes, seven different commuter trains were attacked. Nearly 200 people were killed in the blasts.
Immediately, Indian officials suspected that a militant Islamic terrorist group might be involved in the bombing. Pakistan has denied any involvement in the attacks, but some Indian officials suspect Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a Pakistani insurgent group against Indian control of Kashmir, might be responsible.
Thus far, Pakistan has agreed to co-operate and adamantly denies any involvement. Despite Pakistan's denial of involvement, relations between India and Pakistan remain strained. On July 17th, India postponed bilateral talks with Pakistan. Full and updated coverage from bbcnews.com can be found here.
BBC News also reports that "on Thursday July 20, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf gave a televised address in which he warned against unsubstantiated comments from India and hoped peace moves would continue. 'Pakistan will co-operate to identify the terrorists, if you give us proof,' he said."
On July 21, 2006, The New York Times reported that three men were arrested in connection to the train bombings. No details regarding how they are related to the bombings have been released and The Times quoted K.P. Raghuvanshi, head of the antiterrorist squad of the Mumbai police force, as saying that "This is a larger conspiracy and we need to make many more arrests."
Full text of the article can be found here.
Bus Service in Kashmir
In April of 2005, a bus service began running between the Indian and the Pakistani parts of Kashmir. The bus intends to help bring families and friends together for visits across the Line of Control that runs between the two separate parts of Kashmir. The Line of Control was created in 1949 and was created as a ceasefire line, dividing the Indian controlled side and the Pakistani controlled side of Kashmir. Over time, the boundaries of the Line of Control have shifted because of disputes over territories. The line was re-drawn after the second India-Pakistan war. Full text of an article on the bus service can be found here.
2005 Kashmir Earthquake
On October 8, 2005 at 8:50 in the morning, an earthquake with a Richter scale measurement of 7.6 struck northern India and Pakistan, wreaking havoc on Kashmir. The earthquake was the cause of many deaths and left millions homeless. On October 25, 2005, The Washington Post reported that the death toll was between 35,000 and 40,000 people and an estimated 2 million people left homeless as a result of the damage. By November 8, the Pakistani government reported that there was a loss of almost 75,000 people. An article featured in TIME magazine details the damage. The international community responded to the earthquake by sending aid in many different forms. Various countries, NGOs, and international organizations sent help in the form of donations, supplies, and people. The United Nations sent an eight person team with food, tents, medicine and other supplies to help search for people and stabilize the region. In a press release dated October 9, 2005, the United Nations stated that along with the Pakistani government, its goals were "immediate relief response, search & rescue, and needs assessment. In a news conference with former US President George H.W. Bush on December 15, 2005, Kofi Annan urged the international community to work quickly and cohesively when trying to rebuild the damaged communities affected by the earthquake. Annan said, "Pakistan needs real help following this unprecedented catastrophe -- both in the longer term and in the immediate. Every delay in funding poses grave risks to thousands of injured, hungry and homeless people. And, of course, the momentous task of reconstruction means that we must all work together for the longer term."
To track the progress made in Kashmir, the United Nations created a webpage that shows recent developments made in rebuilding the area. Most recently, as many as 4,000 refugees have been moved to new relief camps, safe from possible mudslides that might occur as a result of heavy rain.
Numerous non-government organizations (NGOs) also sent help to Kashmir. Oxfam, The Red Crescent, The Salvation Army, and many others sent relief supplies and volunteers to the region. On July 11, 2006, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced the start of a $150 million healthcare and education recovery plan for those affected by the earthquake. More information can be here.
To this day, the international community continues to reach out and help those affected by the earthquake.
NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security
777 United Nations Plaza, Suite 3B
New York, NY 10017
Comments or Questions: email@example.com
Tel. 212.687.5340 | Fax 212.687.1643