Previous Part


2130 Hours

1 November 2012
Udyog Bhawan
Kolkata, India

The 3 story inconspicuous Udyog Bhawan in Kolkata was completely unimportant to everybody except for the RAW and ARC people who worked there. GP, Deputy Director NTRO was going over the latest satellite images and intelligence reports gathered over the day when the red phone on his table rang. He felt a irrational fear creeping up his gut as he looked at the instrument. The news of the nuke attack had came via this phone minutes after it happened. It was going to be be quite some time before he could go back to answering the calls on this secure line normally again. Nevertheless he let go of the pictures and lifted the phone. “GP here.”

“How’re you doing GP ?”

The subdued voice of Meir, Directorof Mossad’s Research Department felt felt a lot different from it’s usually cheerful tone. “What do you think old friend ? This hasn’t been exactly a good day.”
GP heard Meir sigh on other end of the line, “I’m really sorry for what happened today GP. I wish that whoever did this must rot in hell for all the eternity.“

Was Meir trying to pry some information out ? Although India and Israel were allies and the two intelligence officers good friends, but intelligence business is unlike all others. Countries spy on enemies as well as their allies alike. GP let out a bitter chuckle, “Only if wishes were horses.”

Meir replied in a mysterious voice, “But I do have something for you to ride upon.”
GP’s ears perked up a little. “ Do I need to pay rent for the ride ?”

Meir chuckled, “Well, if you insist. How about a bottle of scotch and a fried fish from your kitchen next time we meet ? “

GP was mystified, “ That’ll be my pleasure. You, of all the people should know that.”

“That I know very well my friend. The thing is that you guys have already done us a favour. We are just returning it.”

“Suits me.”

Meir turned serious, “You remember the small payload that your ISRO launched for us in April ? “

A bulb just clicked on in GP’s mind. PSLV launch that month had carried a satellite designed and made by Israelis in complete secrecy. It’s capabilities and applications were a well guarded secret. Apart from a select group of people that included the satellite’s designers and some in intelligence circles, nobody had any idea. GP replied in a slightly reproachful tone, “Yes I do. You guys have been awfully shy with that one. “

“ It’s time that we let this complain sorted out. Can you check the mail ? There is a surprise for you. Please let me know if you like it.”

GP was suddenly inpatient, “What is it ? “

“What else it could be GP ? We deal in information and information it is. I hope you keep your end of bargain when we meet again. Till then, take care and Namaskar.”

“Shalom friend”.

Gp replaced the phone on it’s cradle and opened his secure mailbox. A mail with blank message body and an encrypted attachment had just arrived.. He put in the decryption key and extracted the files. There was a small text file and a bunch of high resolution satellite images. He opened the text file first and read it through. With mounting excitement he clicked on the images and started browsing through them. It was with a shaking hand that he picked up the intercom and called for his best analysts to come in to his cabin.

Previous Part

2120 Hours
1 November 2012
India

Scheduled TV programming was interrupted on almost all TV channels as the ashen face of Defence Minister appeared on the screens. He started reading from a prepared speech,

“My dear countrymen, I’m here with a bad news for all of us. Today we came under a surprise nuclear attack. Mirwai, a small town in Rajsthan with nearly 55000 population was devastated by a nuclear bomb delivered through a missile. The attack happened at 6 pm today without any warning. Although the missile was launched from Pakistan, a military spokesperson speaking on behalf of the Pakistani authorities has denied that they were involved. I can’t tell you the exact figures right now, but more than 20000 people are believed to be dead and many more injured. We are doing everything we can do to help the stricken people. Even as I speak, supplies and relief material are being rushed with utmost speed. Indian army which operates a small base there and Air force, have pressed in all of their resources to help the survivors in every way possible.

As of now, no one has taken any responsibility for this dastardly attack, but I’d like to assure all of you that whoever did this will dearly pay for this crime against humanity. Our forces are now on the highest alert and are taking every action to identify the culprits and also to prevent any further attacks. Our chain of command and most importantly, will to fight are still intact and will remain so.

Our country needs help of every single citizen in these troubled times. Irrespective of our differences, every single one of us needs to support the government and armed forces. I appeal to all of you to remain calm and follow the instructions provided to you by local authorities. Please do not panic or try to relocate unless absolutely necessary. The government will take whatever steps are necessary to protect everyone.

Jai Hind”

Cameraman signaled end of transmission and DM slumped limply in to the chair. He ran his hands through his thinning hair twice and got up to his feet. His aide came up a cup of tea which he waved away. He was in no mood to eat or drink anything.
He opened the small door of the media room and started walking towards the PM’s cabin in the special Boeing 747 informally known as AF1. PM and DM along with some senior defence and civilian officials had been bundled in to the special plane within 20 minutes of the time when first warning of the missile attack came. An IL-76 based AWACS on a patrol over Rajsthan had first detected the missile as it’s reached it’s terminal stage. The crew had immediately sent warnings, but it was not enough to help Mirwai. There was little any one could do anyway .

DM was visiting PM at his residence when their bodyguards burst in to the room and bundled them off in to a chopper and then to AF1 with little ceremony. Much to consternation of every one, PM had suffered severe chest pain moments after plane was airborne. On board doctor, a middle aged Air Force Major Rudra had treated him and put him under observation. News of the country’s PM collapsing on hearing such news, even of this magnitude would’ve been really bad for morale. So it was DM who had to go on TV instead of PM to read the bad news. He had done so with much reluctance but had kept the fact to himself only. He walked slowly towards the PM’s cabin and stopped in front of the door, apparently lost in thought. Two guards on the door smartly saluted him and that caused DM to come out of his reverie.
“I wish you guys stop doing this every time you see me. ” he smiled tiredly at the young soldiers.

“I’ll keep it in mind from now on sir.” Older of them smiled back politely.

“Thanks. Is doctor still inside ? How is PM feeling now ?” DM asked.

“Yes sir. Mr. PM wanted to see you as soon as possible. He is waiting for you.” with this, he knocked on the door once and on hearing the permission to enter, opened the door and ushered the DM in.

PM was lying on a bed apparently sleeping while his wife and Maj Rudra were sitting on chairs besides him talking in low voices. Both stopped talking on seeing him and Maj Rudra got up to salute him. PM opened his eyes and looked at him with resigned eyes.

“How are you feeling now sir ?” Suddenly not sure whom to ask this question, DM asked with a slight hesitation.

“Much better. Thanks to Dr. Rudra here. ” PM replied looking at the doctor who looked on impassively. “Any new developments ?”

“A little. Some of our people are standing by on a video conferencing call. Are you feeling well enough for this ?” DM asked with some concern looking at PM and the doctor in turn.

“Sure. Lets begin right now.” PM replied with some display of energy.

DM gave the doctor a questioning glance to which he replied, ” Yes of course, he can do anything he wants short of strenuous physical activity right now. But please be sure that he doesn’t get too stressed. My work here is done anyway. I’ll pop in from time to time to keep an eye. I think I should leave, if I have your permission.”

He gave everybody in the room a quick bow and left. PM’s wife also left the room after instructing both men to be careful about her husband’s health.
PM watched her close the door with a tired smile and then turned to DM, “So, what did you find out ?”

DM in the meanwhile had called for some senior officers and analysts on board the plane to enter the room and had turned on the video conferencing screen for other people to join in. Faces of people, some old and most of them new to both the ministers filled the room. After hurried introductions, everybody quickly got to the business. Chief spook Angad was first to begin via a video link,

“The missile was launched from a location somewhere east of Karachi. Our analysts believe that it was a Shaheen, just a repainted Chinese M-9. The bomb was Uranium 235 based with yield of slightly less than 20KT . It’s copy of an old Soviet design that was stolen by China. Apparently they also sold the same design to Pakistan and North Korea. The missile has a possible range of less than 700km with this kind of warhead. If anybody is wondering why didn’t they try hitting New Delhi, Bombay or any other big city, then I assume it’s because of Shaheen’s limited range only. Mirwai is one of the very few possible places that can be hit with that missile when fired from that distance.

“Do we know who actually launched it ?”

“Unfortunately, not yet. Control of Pakistani nuclear arsenal was supposed to be with General Beg only. But the missile was launched from the area under control of General Asgar.” Angad answered.

DM jumped off his seat and begin in an excited voice, “That can mean only one thing. If General Beg had full control of every weapon, then it’s entirely possible that he had launched the missile. That way he can injure us as well as gather support for his fight against Asgar.” He started pacing the small room as he spoke then his voice trailed off, “But..”

Curious at his behaviour, PM asked “What ?”

DM shook his head slightly and said, “Same thing can be said about General Asgar too. He too is a prime suspect just as Beg is. If he proves that it was Beg, not him that launched the missile then Beg is screwed beyond redemption. Even him being the American poodle wouldn’t help him then.”

HM butted in before DM had chance to finish, “Screwed how ? Pakistanis have already started celebrating this strike against the kafir Hindu India. In my opinion,the culprit will gain support of Islamists and gain power, not get screwed as you said it.”

DM gestured defensively, “Hey, I’m just thinking aloud. Either way, you can’t have everything. You win some, you lose some. For either of them, there are going to be benefits as well as repercussions. The perpetrator took his chances and I’ll be damned if I know who did this just by talking and guessing like this. “

PM who had been listening quietly asked, “If it’s like what you people are saying, don’t you think that either of them will try to take the credit ?”

On the screen, HM just stared blankly while DM shrugged his shoulders trying to think of something. “Could be terrorists.” he added.

Angad cleared his throat and said, “True. But they would’ve taken the responsibility as soon as it had happened. Not a single one of the rag head terrorists out there is going to miss an opportunity like this. Strangely, no one has. But most importantly, an attack like this is beyond he capability of almost all of terrorist groups out there. There is no way that a bunch of terrorists could have pulled this off without Paki army help.”

“What about a rogue military commander acting independent of every one else ? DM asked

General Vaidya, a 3 star general replied, “Same as with terrorists. Possible, but highly unlikely without either of the two Generals knowing.”

For a few seconds, everybody involved in the meeting fell quiet having reached a dead end. Then voice of PM broke the silence, “Excuse me for the silly question, but didn’t Beg had full control of all the nukes ? Then how can Asgar be possibly involved in this ?

“He could’ve taken the control of one or two missiles that Americans didn’t knew about.” HM took the bait.

DM was quick to pounce on it, “And launched it on us without trying to take any advantage ? If he really had those nukes then he could have bargained with Beg and Americans for anything. This doesn’t makes any sense.”

HM challenged him, “Well, tell me one thing that does.”

DM shrugged and slumped back in chair, ” I don’t know.”

Angad looked slightly uneasy on the screen“ I don’t know if it seems important, but Gwadar is not too far away from the launch site. For what it is worth, Chinese seem to be awfully busy lately there. Far more than what seems normal.”

“Busy ? How ?” DM asked.

“According to our intelligence reports, number of ships docking there has increased by 15% during the last 3 weeks. Of course it could all be unrelated, but somehow I can’t shake off the feeling that something fishy is going on.”

“You don’t have details ? It’s your job to get this kind of information. We can’t do a single damn thing based on your hunches only.”

Angad took the remark as the unneeded insult as it was. He was still bitter over the fact that his proposals for more intelligence satellites and human intelligence had been gathering dust for years now, “ What else would you expect on the money that we actually spend on intelligence ? “

DM let out a sigh and rolled his eyes. But he knew that Angad was right. Intelligence organisations had been demanding higher budgets and more freedom from political intervention for years, but successive governments including the present had been dithering on many important proposals. Who knew this attack could’ve been avoided if they had advance warning.

HM piped in, “Please leave all that for the moment. What’s done is done. We have to do something right now. We can’t just sit here and yap away. Thousands of our people have died in 4 attacks, one of them a nuclear one. All in a single damned day. Nations have gone to war on much less. Why are we still not bombing the hell out of those terrorist pigs ? The missile was launched from Paki territory, it’s a Paki missile as well a a Paki bomb. What other proof do we need ?“

“For starters, identifying who actually gave the orders.” DM replied.

HM opened his mouth to say something but then kept quiet. With the condition Pakistan was in, nobody had any idea whom to punish. In frustration he banged his fist on the table and groaned loudly, “Damn it all. I say we launch everything we have on those bast**** and be done with it. Do you realise how bad it is going to be for our economy, or prestige, everything that’s precious to us ? We lose the confidence of everyone in the world and our own citizens. We get nuked in broad daylight and can do nothing except twiddling our thumbs inside our collective asses. “

General Vaidya cleared his throat and begin, “ We can take steps to neutralize their remaining weapons.. Actually it’s going to be suicidal if we don’t. We just need your permission to do so.” He finished looking at PM directly who appeared to be lost under deep thought.

He took a deep breath and replied, “I’m afraid that I can’t allow that without positive proof General. We need concrete evidence of who actually did it.”

Most of the people presented in the meeting groaned inwardly.

There was a knock on the door and Dr. Rudra asked for permission to enter. DM broke up the conference for a while and called him in. Doctor entered the cabin glancing at the video screens once and then faced the PM, “Sorry to interrupt the meeting, but some more medical tests are needed and I can’t do that on this plane. I’m afraid that we’ll have to get you to a hospital.”

Both ministers were slightly taken aback and PM asked with surprise in his voice, “But why ? I feel absolutely fine.”

The doctor had heard this line many times. He replied impassively, “May be you do, but you heart doesn’t. I believe that one of your arteries has some degree of blockage. We need to get you to a hospital without any delay.”

“I’ll be damned. Just what the doctor ordered.” DM thought to himself. Then asked, “Where can we take him ?”

“I checked with the pilots. Agra is the nearest place with sufficient medical equipment.”

“You came in all prepared, didn’t you ?” PM asked with a slight resentment. But I can’t go to any hospital right now. Our country is at war right now. “

DM’s eyes widened a little at this, “Good to know that he realises this.” While the PM continued to argue with Dr. Rudra who kept shaking his head like a stubborn mule on every argument that PM put forward. Finally he said, “Sir, I don’t have the authority to make you do anything. But as your doctor I strongly advise you to get yourselves examined in a hospital. We may not need to operate yet. If everything is right, you can still be in action. The tests wouldn’t take longer than five hours.”

Pm looked towards DM with exasperated eyes. “Do you believe him” ?

“There is no harm in getting you examined on ground. I’d rather do it as soon as possible.”

“Ah well. What the hell ! OK doc. Five hours on ground. That’s the maximum I’m giving you.”

Doctor smiled slightly, Thank you sir. I’d better control my temper if I were you in this condition.” He gave a slight bow and went out.

DM looked at the departing doctor with arched eyebrows then said, “Looks like we’ll have to break up the meeting for a while.” PM started to protest but he went on regardless, “It’ll give our guys time to gather more intelligence. Not too bad of an idea after all. What’s your opinion General Vaidya ?”

“Agree completely. I’ll go and check security arrangements.”

Previous Part

1815 Hours
1st November 2012
Mirawi, Rajsthan

Mirawi was a small town around 70 km south-west of Bamer and 40 Km from border. Until 2009 it was just an ordinary small town when Indian Army decided to base one regiment of it’s latest T-90 Bhishma tanks there. For this purpose army acquired 1100 acres of land and started construction of whole tank related infrastructure there.
With efficiency typical to armed forces, the base was up and fully functional by late March 2010. The base now boasted of one of the largest workshops for tank repair and maintenance in Western command. A part of acquired land served as training ground for the tank crews .Although not as big as Pokhran, it was an ideal place to train the tank crews on desert warfare.

It was not officially stated, that tank regiment formed one of the most vital parts of much discussed Indian Cold Start doctrine. As such no effort was spared in order to keep the base as well supplied as possible. Existing highway was widened to 4 lanes and strengthened and an extra railway line was laid down apart from the existing one .

It’s effect on town was largely positive. Within 2 years the town’s civilian population had jumped from less than 50000 to 58000 thousand, most of it due to people from surrounding areas moving in to takeadvantage of the money being pumped in to local economy by increased army presence. A lot of these new migrants were civilian contractors, suppliers and labourers who set up their shops there.

Tushar Aggarwal was one of such contractors who had shifted his business from Jaipur to Mirawi. He had realised the significance of army raising a brand new tank base and had opened an office in Mirawi in December 2009 itself, much before other people had the sense to do so. His business flourished due to his early bird advantage and soon his earnings from his new office eclipsed what he had been earning in Jaipur. Assigning one of his employees to take care of his Jaipur office, he moved in to Mirawi along with his family which consisted of his wife of 11 years, Sushmita and their 8 years old son Krishna. They rented a small house with a big yard about a Km from the army base.
His business was growing steadily and family had taken well to the new town. Specially Krishna who had never seen military life from so close. He had been granted admission in the local Army School and had made a lot of new friends. Their class had been taken on tours of the new base and given a ride on one of brand new tanks. Ever since his visit he had been obsessed with tanks and had been begging his father to get him one too. His mother managed to placate him by buying him a toy tank much smaller in size and the one which fired up a small light in it’s gun instead of a high explosive shell.

Although not quite as good, he had satisfied himself wih his ‘tank’ and was playing with it in their yard with some kids from their neighbourhood. His tank had a good aim and had ‘destoyed’ a car and aLego brick castle of his two playmates. Slightly miffed, both had packed up their own toys and left for the night. He played alone for a while after they left until it started getting too dark. He too picked up his tank and proceeded to go back inside the house when he heard the sound of an army convoy passing on the road. He rushed back to the main gate and peeked outside at the procession of T-90s being transported on their carrier vehicles. He opened the gate and stepped outside, watching excitedly as the massive trucks rolled by one by one in front of his eyes. He waved his hand with much enthusiasm and some of the soldiers smiled and waved back. He kept watching as the last truck drove away from his sight. Smiling contently he put his tank on the ground and started to steer it towards the door of his house.

His attention was diverted by sudden wailing of the air raid siren. He stood up to attention slightly puzzled listening to the oddly discomforting sound. He had heard this sound only once before in the school. The teacher had told them to at once ask the nearest grown up for help and take shelter on hearing this sound. But what could actually go wrong. He was perfectly safe in his own house. His chain of thoughts was interrupted by the band of screen door of their house as his mother rushed out looking for him. Seeing him standing right outside, the troubled expression on her face slightly receded. Standing at the door step, she asked him to come inside the house at once.

Krishna need not to be told twice. He picked up his toy tank and started running towards his mother. All of a sudden, the dusky evening was penetrated by a bright flash of intense light as if another sun had risen up in the sky. He put up his hand to shield his eyes and tried to squint through the gap when he felt an earthquake shaking everything around him. He then felt as if a wall of fire had hit him and he fell down screaming with pain and pure terror. He cried for his mother who unfortunately for both, was in a similar situation and could do nothing to help. Moments later, their burning bodies were crushed under the rubble of their two storied brick house as it collapsed when a tremendous shock wave hit it.

Previous Part

0830 Hours IST
30 October 2010
PPC World News Broadcast

In a surprising development in Pakistan, General Beg a few minutes ago appeared on Pakistan TV and radio claiming that he had quelled the rebellion by some of his subordinates that had threatened to shove his nuclear armed nation in to a bloody and very dangerous civil war. Reading from a prepared statement he said that most of the rebel officers led by General Asgar have either been killed or arrested facing further trial. He assured everybody that things are under his complete control and urged everybody to get on with their lives as usual.

But international observers are far from convinced. Pointing out to the still raging battles inside major Pakistani cities, they say that General Beg’s claims of quelling the revolt are far from true. His opponent, General Asgar has powerful allies both within and outside Pakistan and forces loyal to him still control coastal city of Karachi and parts of disputed region of Jammu & Kashmir. Further, many influential Islamist groups based in Pakistan have come out openly in support of General Asgar, mainly to show their disapproval of what they say General Beg’s sucking up to USA for money. Two of these groups have taken over the the controls of civil administration in Peshawar, Malakand and Quetta
General Beg not only has to control his nation’s armed forces but also these powerful Islamist groups that threaten his grip on power more than anything. These group hold just more than significant influence on Pakistani civilians as well as serving and retired defence personnel. Therefore earning their support is going to be vital if he wants to consolidate his position.
How he manages to gather their support without antagonising his western allies is a matter of debate itself. Regarding this matter, no less importance should be attached to Indian reaction. It becomes still more important right now as it suffered 3 deadly terrorist attacks in a single day killing nearly 300 people, allegedly by Islamic terrorists supported by the very same groups that Beg needs to appease.

This news broadcast is brought to you by PPC International. Please stay tuned for more

Previous Part

0145 Hours
30 October 2012
Pitampura, New Delhi

The white Qualis parked by the road side 3 men alighted. 2 of them were carrying small canvas bags much like the ones favoured by workmen. They were dressed in grey uniforms typical of many construction and utility companies that have sprung up all over the place. Third man was wearing a white shirt and pants and he looked and behaved like their senior. He was carrying nothing apart from a small notebook and a mobile phone. They opened the back of the car and started pulling out a small hoarding advertising a discount sale on Manik Jewellers.

“Hurry up. We have to finish the job before 2:30.” The senior looking man barked.

The other two men were probably used to such talk. One of them shrugged but nevertheless both quickened their steps. In two trips they had carried and deposited all their stuff below the metro line passing above the road. It’s pillars were nearly 9-10 meters high and constructed right in between the divider of the road. The pillar they were interested in was nearest to the traffic lights that controlled the traffic from 3 roads that converged there. The place had no official name but was informally known as Radio chowk due to the big radio tower nearby. During the day, it was bustling with thousands of people but there was nobody in sight at midnight.

After taking inventory of all the stuff, the man in white shirt let out a satisfied grunt and asked the other two to begin their work. They opened their bags and started taking out their tools. One placed a small folding ladder near the pillar and climbed on it . Taking out a measuring tape and a small piece of chalk he started making marks on the pillar with help of the other 2 men. After the markings were made, he took out a portable drill and started drilling holes in the pillar. He was still in the middle of drilling his second hole when they were interrupted by the irritated voice of a beat constable.

“What the hell you guys are doing ?” Loud voice of the constable so startled him that he almost dropped the drill on the head of his mate standing below. The drill was a comparatively silent type but the sound carried far at that deserted hour. The policeman had walked in completely unnoticed, his footfalls masked by the sound of the drill.

White shirt guy barked at him to stop and strode towards the cop with a big smile pasted on his face. ” Good evening sir.” We’re from NewWays Enterprises.” Motioning towards the hoarding he said, We need to put up that hoardings on metro pillars.”

“At this time ? Couldn’t you do it during day time ?” Cop asked while nudging their wares with his stick.

“We had instructions for night time only. ” white shirt replied without allowing any change in his smile,

“Really ? Who gave you these instructions ? “

“uh..our boss did. Mr. Nehra is his name. “

“Do you have permission from government agencies ? You can’t put up advertisements on government properties just like that. Where are the official letters ?” he demanded.

“We have that too sir. In the car. I’ll show you. ” Saying this, he turned and started walking towards the car with cop ambling after him. He opened the car door and rummaged amongst papers littering the dashboard. After making a show of it for some time he emerged triumphantly waving a sheet of paper.

“Here it is. Letter from NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Council).”

Policeman took it from him and read through it absently. Handing the paper back, “But this is from NDMC and the pillar you are hanging your stuff belongs to Delhi Metro. You can’t do anything without their approval.”

“I’m sure Delhi Metro has approved it. Our boss wouldn’t have sent us otherwise.” white shirt stammered uneasily.

Policeman snapped, “I really don’t care about your boss or his instructions.. If you are going to hang this hoarding on that pillar you need..”
Rest of the sentence was left unfinished as the policeman dropped unceremoniously to the ground. One of the 2 uniformed guys had sneaked up behind him and hit him on the head with a hammer. He watched with cold impassive eyes as blood started to spread around the fallen constable’s head.

White shirt looked at him with a some surprise but quickly composed himself, “Good work.”

2nd uniform had walked in close by then and he too was staring at the blood. In a voice barely audible he asked “Is he dead ?”

White shirt crouched and felt the neck of policeman “I can’t find pulse. Must be dead or would die within minutes. Now lets carry this body and dump it in that under construction house over there. It’s full of rubble, nobody will find him before morning. Hurry up before anybody sees us.”

3 of them quickly lifted limp body of the cop and hid him behind a mound of dirt. All then sprinted to the pillar and resumed their work feverishly. “You two finish drilling the holes. I’ll finish connected the electrical stuff by then. Hurry up. We’ve got to catch the train at 3:00. No time to waste. That moron cop could’ve messed up everything”

Working quickly they fitted the hoarding and packed up their tools before 2:30. “Everything finished ?” White shirt asked glancing at both men in turn. Both nodded yes. “Let’s go then. Change you clothes in the car. Train leaves in half an hour.”

Picking up their belongings they quickly threw everything inside the Qualis and drove away towards Old Delhi railway station. They changed in to new clothes while on the road and threw old clothes and their tool bags in an sewage gutter in the way. They parked their car a few 100 meters away from the station and caught the train to Gorakhpur near Nepal border, They were out of New Delhi before 04:00 am.

0715 Hours
30 October 2012
Pitampura Police Station
New Delhi

Head constable Shashi Tamar was warming up his morning cup of tea in an ancient kettle when constable Shubhash came running through the door. “What happened ? Some mad dogs chasing after you ?” A bleary eyed Shashi asked with with mild irritation at being disturbed so rudely.

“Leave all doggy thing aside sir. Take the keys of Gypsy. We have to go to hospital.” Subhash answered breathlessly.

Suddenly alarmed at the mention of hospital Shashi asked “Why ? What happened ?”

“Somebody whacked Bhushan last night when he was on duty. Some labourers found him in that under construction building near Radio chowk. Now hurry. It looks serious.”

All thoughts of his morning tea and traces of sleep washed away from his head, Shashi jumped to his feet and reached for the keys , “Bh******! Is he alive? “

“Barely. He has a fractured skull and lost too much blood. “

“Ma ** ***** whoever did this! Do you know who did this ?” Shashi asked as he asked another policeman to take his place and started running towards the Gypsy parked outside station.

“How’d I know ? Let’s get to hospital first and hope he can answer the questions. ” Subhash replied with no less irritation.

Traffic was still very light and they reached hospital within 10 minutes. A familiar hospital orderly met them in the ward and informed that Bhushan had been taken in for surgery. Swearing again Shashi asked, “Did he say anything while he was conscious ? “

“He was unconscious all the time he was here except for 1-2 minutes. I was there then but couldn’t make heads or tails of what he was saying.”

Shashi snapped, ” I don’t want YOU to make sense of what he said. Just tell me whatever you could hear.”

Slightly taken aback at the outburst orderly looked at the policeman with reproachful eyes before continuing, “Uh..all I could make out was something that sounded like khamba, (pole). He just repeated khamba khamba. Khambe par .. (On pole) “

“What ? A pole fell on him or what ? ” Subhash exclaimed.

“No. It can’t be a pole. The injury was on side of his head and looked like somebody hit him with some heavy thing. A hammer or a stone maybe.” Orderly replied, feeling slightly important.

“Was he robbed ? “

“No. He still had his wallet and mobile phone. “

“Hmm! How long will this surgery take ?”

“I don’t know for sure. 35-40 minutes if there are no complications. But you can’t talk to him anytime soon. “

Shashi turned towards Subhash, “Inform SHO sahab and come with me to Radio chowk. We might find something or someone useful there.”

“Leave him alone here ?” Subhash asked with horrified surprise.

“I’m calling station. They’ll send somebody and inform his family.” Pointing towards the orderly he continued, “He’ll take care of him till anybody arrives. Wouldn’t you ?”

Slightly taken off balance orderly replied, “Of course. Of course. That’s what I do anyway.”

“Good. Come with me right now Subhash. There’s no time to waste. “

Leaving the slightly confused orderly behind they ran to their jeep and started driving towards Radio chowk.

Traffic was getting heavy due to morning rush. Even then they managed to travel with a high speed. Soon the radio station, made conspicuous by it’s tower was within their sights, although it was still 200 meters away.
“Almost there.” Subhash mumbled as Shashi prepared to take a turn towards the road that proceeded to Radio chowk. He was turning the Gypsy when their ear drums were assaulted by the sound of a massive blast. Shashi was so startled that he almost lost control of the vehicle but managed to apply the brakes before anything happened. A column of black smoke arose from the general direction of traffic lights steadily growing in size along with shouts and screams of people.

“What the hell was that ? ” Subhash asked in a panicked voice.

“What does it seem to you moron. Some ma******* bomb blast is that what happened ! Call HQ immediately. ” Shashi shouted at the constable.

Within moments they reached the sight of the blast and what they saw made them freeze in their strides. The blast was so powerful that more than 2 meters thick pillar for metro line was nothing except for a small smoking stub of concrete poking from the ground. The 2 beams supported by the pillar had collapsed, forming a rough V. The 10000 Volt power lines had also snapped and were hanging precariously just 4 feet off the ground. A jam packed bus had taken the brunt of the blast as it waited adjacent to the pillar for green light. All the windows of bus were broken, it’s roof all but torn off and bodies of dead and injured passengers hung limply. A few cars and two-wheelers had also suffered and were on fire.

But the thing that scared the hell out of everybody was not on ground, but above it. A speeding metro train had left the adjacent metro station and was coming right towards the damaged portion. Although it had lost all power due to damage to the power line, it still had sufficient momentum. Driver of the train had applied emergency brakes and sparks were flying off the metallic wheels. Standing on the ground, people could see the confused faces of passengers inside the train through the glass windows.

Shashi knew that the train had no chance of stopping before and wanted to avoid seeing the tragedy as it occurred. In spite of all his best efforts he couldn’t tear his eyes off the horror before him. Right before his unwilling eyes, train reached site of the breach well in speed well above 25 kmph and plunged in to the gap. It’s first bogey sailed through the gap for a while and hit the collapsed beam face first. That bogey was compressed to less than half of it’s original size as rest of the bogeys crushed it from behind. Nobody could hear anything apart from deafening screeching of metal and horrified and painful screams of passengers in the train and the bystanders. But the ordeal was far from over. The train started to list on it’s side and inch by inch started to slide towards the ground below. Then all of a sudden something that was holding the train on track gave away and all 4 bogeys fell on road below with a huge crash. A number of already damaged vehicles made immobile after the blast were crushed as the train fell on top of them.

Evening news listed 145 people dead and more than 14 injured, many of them in serious condition.

Condolences and calls for restraint from governments all over the world were still coming in when Mumbai and Hyderabd too were rocked by powerful blasts that killed 109 people combined

Constable Bhushan regained consciousness next morning and easily identified one of the suspects from file photos. The man’s name was Mohammed Nazir, a long time member of SIMI. He was last seen at Nepal airport catching a flight to Dubai on a Pakistani passport. There were no leads to other blasts though.