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Security sieve before 26/11 siege

Adrian Levy left the audience stunned with his revelations about the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

In conversation with Yajnaseni Chakraborty at a session titled The Siege and The Republic, Levy, co-author of The Siege, spelt out clearly how information about the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, had been available with the government, including the places that would be attacked since 2006 but no action was taken before June 2008.

Levy said there were a “cascade of reasons” he chose to write about this, including the fact that he had narrowly missed the event with his wife and two children by two days, the high financial quotient of the operation and the fact that 10 boys, whose average age was around 21, were let loose in Mumbai and remote-controlled from Karachi. “The psychology of it was stunning,” said Levy.

Levy gave a brief insight into the Lashkar-e-Toiba, its functioning, training and how it operates and raises funds. He also spoke about how the Lashkar “infantilises” cadres where the relation between them and the commanders are like that of children and parents. “The boys in Mumbai were in turns insolent, tardy, lazy… the parents on the other side in Karachi encouraging, firm, goading and wouldn’t put up with insolence.”

Levy lashed out at the lack of details in the Pradhan reports, India’s policy of “move on, don’t analyse and don’t learn from it”.