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February Today in Terrorism

February 20, 2008: Bomb tossed into theatre in India

On this day in 2008 unidentified individuals tossed a bomb into a theatre in a town near the Indian city of Mumbai: thankfully no one was killed

MUMBAI, INDIA – What is it with terrorists who try to kill and maim over differences in culture?

Do you watch a lot of movies or Netflix series? Are they all good? If you are anything like my wife and me you get ten minutes into a whole bunch of offerings before you say to yourself ‘Nope! I ain’t gonna watch that one!”

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I suppose the same goes for taste (would that be “in the mouth of the beholder”?? Ew!). We all have our own views on what we like and what we don’t and there is no one-size-fits-all assessment of anything humans create.

Still, not liking something is not the same as trying to prevent others from liking it. I don’t like porters (the beer, not the guy who opens the door or carries your luggage!); my son-in-law does. Tomato-tomahto.

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What could a horse not possibly like, aside from the glue factory of course! (Photo: Nickelodeon)

When it comes to films or other forms of culture there have been occasions on which some people get so angry at what someone produces that they want to kill that person. The Iranian campaign against UK author Salman Rushdie is perhaps the greatest – or should that be worst? – example.

Here is another one.

On this day in 2008

Unidentified individuals tossed a bomb into a theatre in a town near the Indian city of Mumbai: thankfully no one was killed. On screen at the time was the film Jodhaa Akbar, a sixteenth century love story about a marriage of alliance that gave birth to true love between a great Mughal Emperor and a Rajput princess.

Apparently, some members of the Rajput community hated the film, accusing it of ‘historical revisionism’, and calling it offensive and ‘denigrating of Hindu gods’. I am fairly certain they did not give it a high Rotten Tomatoes rating!

Interestingly, later in June of that same year two followers of Sanatan Sanstha, a ‘Hindu revivalist’ religious group, were arrested for planting bombs in other theatres that were showing films which the extremists felt were showing Hindu mythological figures ‘in a poor light’.

RELATED: Borealis discusses Hindu extremism

The possibility of Hindu extremist groups being involved is being probed along with other possibilities. We will soon question members of the Sanatan Sanstha and the HJS (Hindu Janjagruti Samiti).

Senior Indian Anti-Terrorism Squad official

It is one thing to be upset over a film. It is quite another to try to kill over it.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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