Plenty of Suspects, Little Evidence in Mumbai Attacks

A myriad of coordinated attacks across India’s financial capital of Mumbai continues this evening, and though a group calling itself the Deccan Mujahedeen (Deccan is a plateau that makes up most of southern India) has claimed credit for the attack, there is no shortage of speculation, or suspects, for who is actually behind it.

Few seem to take as credible the Deccan Mujahedeen’s claims, primarily because no one seems to have any clue who they are or what their motives would be. Beyond them, speculation is all over the map, with assorted experts picking their favorite militant group to pin the enormous whodunit on.

Some see a connection between the attack and the ongoing turmoil in Kashmir, and the favorite organization for those people is Laskar-e Toiba (LeT), a group with a long history of attacks and ties to the border regions in Pakistan. The LeT has officially condemned the attack however, and denied any link to it.

And indeed, Pakistan seems a popular scapegoat for the Indian military, with the commanding officer at the Oberoi hotel saying that though the militants claimed to be from Hyderabad, they were actually from Pakistan. Indian officials have also detained “sympathizers” of SIMI since the attacks began, which suggests that they have not ruled out a domestic source.

Western security officials seem to prefer pinning the attack on al-Qaeda, and have claimed that the attack has the “hallmarks” of an attack by al-Qaeda.

And that’s only an incomplete list of suspects operating on the assumption that militant Islamists were behind the attack. Other security experts have pointed the finger at organized crime, in particular notorious crime boss Dawood Ibrahim. And there is no shortage of militant factions in India which are not Muslim: the nation has a recent history of violent attacks by Hindu militants and Maoist separatists.

The only thing that can be said conclusively is that there is no conclusion to be reached as of yet. Speculation is unlikely to stop for lack of evidence, but until those actually responsible for the attacks say something about why they are doing what they are doing, it amounts to little more than a guess.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of