March 13, 2003: Train bombing kills commuters in India

On March 13, 2003 at least ten commuters, including four women, were killed and 70 injured in an explosion on a local train in Mumbai.

MUMBAI, INDIA – We do not have to have all the facts at hand to call something a terrorist attack.

You would think that now, some two decades after 9/11, that we collectively know what a terrorist incident is.

After all, we’ve seen planes flown deliberately into buildings, cells attack sports stadiums, restaurants, pedestrian malls, concert venues, and other locales and far too many suicide bombers to keep track of. This adds up to a lot of data with which to create the ‘profile’ of what constitutes terrorism.

And yet not all acts of serious violence can be slapped with a terrorism label. There are other actors who use these tactics to their own ends – gangs, organised crime syndicates, drug cartels, etc. – and as a consequence we cannot decide holus bolus that any given attack is indeed tied to an underlying ideological (religious, political or otherwise) cause.

We may terrorise you but we ain’t no terrorists (Photo: Public Domain)

Sometimes what certainly appears on the surface to walk, quack and look like a terrorist duck is not necessarily one. Take today’s attack.

On this day in 2003

At least ten commuters, including four women, were killed and 70 injured in an explosion near the first class ladies compartment of a local train in Mumbai. The explosion occurred a day after the tenth anniversary of the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai.

The draft charges were filed in the court in 2004. Following an application by an accused the trial was stayed by the Supreme Court, which was lifted only in 2012.

Police officer

Was this then a terrorist attack? It sure looked like one and India has suffered its fair share of violence perpetrated by such individuals. Still, not everything is always as it first appears.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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