Monday, December 5, 2011

Chapter-3: Damage Assessment

18th December, 2013 - 11:00 local time

Chittagong Medical College Hospital

Bespectacled doctor came out from VIP ward and proceeded towards special waiting room. He talked to a Bangladeshi Army Major standing there for a minute and left the room.

“Doctor says that we can talk to him for some time but General is still in shock and sedatives will take some time to wear off.” Major said while looking at his companions in the room.As they walked towards VIP ward, soldiers guarding the area saluted major and wondered who his companions were. While some of them looked like their countrymen, two of them were clearly foreigners. Must be General’s Arabian friends they thought. They couldn't be more wrong.

Major dismissed a Captain standing at attention near the door and closed it from inside once his group walked inside. Young Captain was loyal to him and a man of faith, but he was too young to understand the games that he played. May be he’ll be ready for it soon he thought.As they went towards General Hasan’s bed, he looked at them in amazement and almost screamed from fear.

“Calm down General Sir, by Allah’s grace you are safe and amongst friends. Doctor says that you should not get too excited. We are here just to meet you and ask few questions about attack on your life.” Major said trying to comfort the wounded man. He just remembered that this man was his senior by many years in service and he should have saluted him like a good soldier. But this was an unusual situation and General was in no shape to remember lapse on his part.

“Why don’t you go and talk to that sad excuse of a man Commodore Nazrul Ahmed?” replied Hasan in a voice that contained more anger than pain.

“You mean commander of Navy’s SWADS?” asked a senior officer from Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) responsible for gathering military intelligence and policing ranks of Bangladeshi armed forces. Special Warfare Diving and Salvage (SWADS) is the elite special operations force of Bangladeshi Navy.

“Yes. He has doubts about true faith and has sold his soul to that great Satan in the West. I have known him for many years. He was a decent man, but after he went to Amrika (USA) for training with their Navy SEALs, he forgot his purpose in life and started thinking like those kafir (unbeliever). He thinks that I am a threat to safety of our country and that my actions have increased hostility between Bangladesh and that country of baniyas (traders)” Hasan’s heart rate was increasing now and heart rate monitor next to his bed showed a sharp spike. He went on “Nazrul’s men from SWADS attacked us. But Allah be praised, they left me for dead and made a mistake. Now those pigs and their families will pay for their crimes.” Hasan was clearly agitated now and heart rate monitor made shrill beeps. A doctor and his assistant ran inside and prepared to sedate him.

Bangladesh Navy SWADS during exercise
Bangladesh Navy SWADS during exercise
“Take it easy Sir; we don’t want to lose a brave soldier like you. We’ll see to it that perpetrators of this attack will be punished to discourage such incidents in future” assured the officer from DGFI. But he knew that it would be easier said than done. He signaled others to move out and left the room as sedatives took effect on Hasan.

They all walked out and got into Major’s official jeep. Since this was a sensitive matter, Major had done away with the driver and drove the car towards his office. First phase of damage assessment was over.

“So what do you think?” This time it was a Pakistani officer from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

DGFI man responded “there might be some truth in what old man said. There was a theft at SWADS barracks few days back and equipment was reported stolen. Our investigation confirms that ammunition used during attack on Hasan and his friends was stolen from armoury. All that remains to be seen is whether theft was staged by some insiders or was it an external enemy”.

ISI officer asked “How reliable is this Commodore Ahmed of yours?” to which DGFI man replied “he is one of the best operators in our armed forces. His methods are unconventional as expected from a special forces chap, but he is loyal to the country. I can’t say the same about his faith, but I don’t doubt his integrity either.”

“Hmmm. I think you might be right. Lack of faith does not make him a traitor”

“I had chat with Obaid and he said that one of the attackers spoke Bangla. Not polished, but the sort spoken in villages. But that is not conclusive evidence and brings us back to where we began from. One thing is for certain that it was well-planned strike with all the trappings of involvement of special forces.”

“We must find out the actors behind this attack and their intentions. And we must do it as early as possible unless this event lowers morale of fighters in India. That would be a major setback to our plans. I am already getting reports that they are questioning our commitment to their cause. They think that we could not protect their leader in a foreign country then it would make more sense for them to lay down their arms. I have promised them fresh shipments and couple of my men to guide them till we find somebody to fill Kamei’s place.”

Pakistan Army SSG troops in HALO gear
Pakistan Army SSG troops in HALO gear
“How good are these SWADS boys?” asked Colonel Shamsher Baloch.  He had been silent all this while. He was from Special Service Group (SSG) of Pakistan Army and was not much of a talker.This was answered by Major “pretty good I would say. They train with US Navy SEALs and are professionals”

“That is nice. But professionals don’t leave behind witnesses to tell the tale” SSG man remarked. Major applied brakes all of a sudden and looked back. “What do you mean?” he asked.

Colonel Baloch lit a cigarette and said “I think somebody is trying to send a message and a loud one at that”.

18th December, 2013 - 21:00 IST

Khengjang Zamvung (Indo-Myanmar border - 23°57'14.24"N 94°11'16.26"E)

Mimin Haokip took last sip of rice wine from his glass and sprinkled some of it on his tattered coat. He had to live up to his cover as village drunk and this ritual was very essential to maintain that cover. He walked out of his hut and stumbled at door on purpose. He made a quick survey of his surroundings while taking his time to get back on feet. It was pitch dark outside and most villagers were asleep. Even if there was someone in the streets, he/she would have ignored Haokip as he was known to roam around at odd hours. Haokip was not concerned about villagers, but he was afraid of being spotted by UNLF cadres who used to visit nearby villages. Frequency of their visits had increased manifold in last few months. They were searching for informers and were ready to execute anyone based on mere suspicion. Haokip had a few close shaves with them, but he had survived. Due to increased activity of insurgents around his village, he had not been able to pass on information about infiltration to his Indian Army contacts. Inability to pass information meant no payment. And now he was running out of money, so he needed to meet Captain Ajay Pathak. Moreover he had received information about major infiltration attempt in the area and expected a huge amount of cash and Old Monk rum as his reward.

Haokip kept walking slowly and stumbling after few steps to keep up with his cover and check his surroundings. It took him 20 minutes to get outside his village. Once he was sure that nobody was following or observing him, he started walking briskly to the rendezvous point. After walking for little more than a mile, he found the spot. He crouched and pretended to take a leak in that position. After few seconds he got a gentle tap on his back and he stood up.

“I thought you were executed. But either you are smart or those misguided youngsters are not able to think because of opium” observed Captain Pathak of 21 Para (Special Forces) with a slight smile. Intelligence business is such that even though you may not like a person or his reasons for co-operating, but you always took good care of your sources.

Indian Army PARA SF troops with Tavor rifles
Indian Army PARA SF troops with Tavor rifles

“Sahab, I don’t get drunk but just pretend to be drunk and that has worked for me so far. I try to avoid unnecessary risks as well and that is why I didn’t meet you earlier. I had collected lot of information and wanted to pass it on, but UNLF keeps visiting this area more often than they did” replied Haokip in broken Hindi.

“Good thing you didn’t get too adventurous. I lost couple of informers in recent purges and I can’t stop feeling bad about it. I wish I had known about it earlier then I could have saved them and bagged some UNLF buggers. Anyways, tell me what is happening.”

“Sahab, a large number of arms will be inserted through the border in day or two. Today morning I went across the border and heard one guide discussing about it with his drinking partner. He was saying that he was being paid much more than normal to guide some men and arrange for mules to carry some stuff. I am pretty sure they won’t be bringing milk from that side of the border. It has to be weapons, but I am not sure about men. Usually these gun-toting kids cross on their own as this is their backyard and they know lay of the land.”

“How sure are you about this information? Did you try to confirm it through any other sources?” Pathak asked.

“I know some guys who own mules. I visited them casually and asked them about their health and business. One of them told me that he has got some new clients and they pay well without haggling. I also managed to find out their area of infiltration, but they were not sure about when it would happen. From what they said it might be within two days. I didn’t probe further as I didn’t want to raise suspicion”

“Thik hai. What is the probable area for infiltration?” This guy is really smart. Knows how much far he should push his luck. Good for him and bad for those who would try to infiltrate.

“It is one mile from here. I can show it to you right now if you want.”

Indian Army Para SF deep sea diver coming ashore
Indian Army Para SF deep sea diver coming ashore

“Alright, you walk ahead, I’ll follow you. Try to act like a drunk” Pathak said with a smile. Haokip grinned and nodded. His grin would have vanished if he had known that Naik Mishra and Sepoy Iqbal were observing him through night sight mounted on Tavor rifles. While Haokip moved ahead, Pathak signaled both of them to follow him. They maintained their distance covering each other and making sure that there were no bad guys around.After walking for around half an hour they reached their area of interest.

“This is the area Sahab”

“Ok. Your job is over. Take this money and rum. Drink as much as you want tonight so that you don’t have to pretend to be drunk tomorrow morning” Pathak said handing over a plastic bottle filled with rum and bundle of cash that had been captured a week back from dead insurgents.

Pathak watched Haokip dig earth nearby and bury most of the cash there. Haokip was smart he thought. This way he would be away from cash, so in case UNLF paid him a visit, they won’t find any proof of him being an informer. Some of the stuff that could never be taught in school was grasped so well by this villager. This business was like a jungle where only fittest and smartest survived and Haokip he thought was a survivor.

Haokip started towards his village and Pathak watched him leave. After few minutes he got his GPS out and started plotting co-ordinates of that area. Once he was finished, he waved randomly. That was the signal for him and his two troopers to move out.

Indian Army Parachute Regiment insignia and SF badge
Indian Army Parachute Regiment insignia and SF badge
An hour later, Iqbal and Mishra were off to sleep while Pathak sipped on vodka with his company commander Major Nikhil Jacobs. Along with alcohol he also drank the information Pathak had brought. Brains started working in overdrive and a rough plan was formulated.

“Alright Pathak, we have rough plan in place. We’ll fine tune it with troops tomorrow morning. Let’s get those buggers. If you think who they are then it would be a big embarrassment for our neighbours. And more than that, we might be able to identify head of the snake and cut it. You got a name for this operation” Nikhil said while biting chicken tikka.

“Yes Sir. How about Operation Johnny Walker?” and both officers from Para SF had a hearty laugh.

Chapter-2: Rivers of Blood

What transpires in Lord’s court is never known to mortals. But Arambam Kamei, the chief of UNLF had met his maker in a style he had never anticipated. With a romantic full-form like United National Liberation Front, there was nothing romantic about what UNLF did. Established in 1964 to demand and fight for a separate state of Manipur, they had killed number of civilians and security personnel over half a century. Over a period of time, security forces prevailed and gradually UNLF started facing problems in recruiting and arming cadres. In due course, UNLF left the battlefield and returned to dialogue with the government. But then there were those who had vested interests and those were being threatened by peace in Manipur. Such powers encouraged likes of Kamei to stick to violent means and cause maximum damage to India. For this he was provided a safe sanctuary in Bangladesh, while his followers fought it out with security forces in hills and valleys of Manipur. Flush with funds, weapons and training from their tall and fair ‘instructors’, his followers felt confident about achieving their goal of separate Manipur. Little did they know that they were mere pawns in a major game that their chief and his friends were playing. A new round of violence had erupted in entire North-East India. Security personnel operating in North-East India were no strangers to insurgent attacks, but latest wave of violence shocked them. These new crop of insurgents were far cry from those they had faced in NE earlier. They operated in smaller teams and were focused on targets that would get them prime time slot in all news channels. Their aim was to paint India as an oppressive state and highlight UNLF as savior of the people of NE.

Unlike past operations where they were localized to Manipur, UNLF had started contacting other insurgent groups across NE and sending members to train and co-ordinate with them. Such actions not only increased scope of UNLF operations across NE, but also consolidated their position amongst insurgent groups.Collaboration between various insurgent groups under aegis of UNLF had created a monster that now threatened to severe not only Manipur, but entire North-East from Indian Union. Indian government’s first response was to deploy additional troops of various non-military units like CRPF, BSF and ITBP. Their deployment was purely defensive. Their orders were not to conduct operations except for patrolling and aid to Army and local civil authorities. Even normal cordon and search operations were not allowed. While Indian government insisted on dialogue to bring peace to the region, local Army commanders and intelligence officials knew that dialogue was only the second step. First step was to hit at the heart of this monster which lied elsewhere, only then could insurgent groups be persuaded to join negotiations and arrive at a solution. In fact for a change, armed forces and intelligence agencies were working closely and had identified key players of this play. Crack units of SFF and Army Special Forces were just waiting for the green light. Their warnings and suggestions ricocheted off the ears of a government plagued with inaction. Brains behind increased tempo of insurgency had done their research well. In spite of ghastly terror attacks, Indian government had deterred from taking any concrete steps. Instead of action, mere statements were released and citizenry was just fooled and made to forget about it till the time of next terrorist strike. This was the routine script after each terror strike. Over a period of time, India was tagged as a soft state and considered to be a safe haven for terrorists and insurgents. All these failures had been kept in mind by planners inside and outside India before fanning the fires of insurgency in North-East.

BSF women troopers positioned at Indo-Pak border
BSF women troopers positioned at Indo-Pak border (via Bharat-Rakshak)

UNLF was guiding insurgents across North-East to adopt newer techniques and incite local population against security forces. Most used method was mingling with local crowd and opening fire on security forces. When security forces fired back, insurgents hiding in buildings and trees would fire carefully aimed shots at security personnel as well as innocent civilians. Couple of days after such incidents, some villagers would ‘witness’ truckload of ‘men in Indian uniform’ driving up to their village to rape and kill those responsible for attacks. Indian Army and other security forces were being hammered on both sides. They were losing men to attacks and their reputation was being tarnished due to such theatrics. Leftist media had a field day showing interviews of so-called witnesses and branding security forces as barbarians invading paradise of North-East. Government was feeling immense pressure from pseudo-liberals and international community to sort out problems in North-East and reign in a ‘bunch of psychopaths in uniform’. As history shows, such pressure always translated into curtailing powers of security forces which in turn led to increase in number of such attacks. Commanders of security were not only worried about maintaining order in the region, but also the effects of multi-pronged attacks troop morale. Then there was this incident in Gangtok that sent shock waves across the world. Termed as “St. Joseph’s School massacre”, it was the deadliest and most dastardly attack by insurgents.

2nd December 2013 - 17:00 local time

Assistant Commandant Himanshu Negi of BSF was writing a letter to his wife in Palampur. He was missing her as he sat in a tent on outskirts of Gangtok. He had been married for a week when orders came from HQ to move to Sikkim due to increased insurgent activity. He and his platoon were tasked to patrol on the outskirts and report anything suspicious. He had decided to rest his platoon before going out on a night patrol. He wrote to his wife every single day and she wrote back with same frequency. Today he was writing to her about his day and that his second in command Ratan Lal’s wife had given birth to baby boy. He mentioned that he planned to start his effort towards bringing a new life to earth once he got leave. He was thinking about other things that happened on that day when a bullet from silenced Sterling L2A1 went through his head. His bleeding head fell on the ground soaking his last letter in blood. Few seconds after that three figures wearing BSF uniform entered his tent carrying silenced weapons. Their leader gave instructions and they started wrapping up tents and collecting gear of dead soldier. Within minutes corpses of 30 BSF troopers were loaded in civilian trucks and taken to unknown location. 30 men wearing BSF uniform now boarded the trucks that once belonged to Negi’s platoon.

2nd December 2013 - 17:45 local time

Shivam Mahesh Agrawal was son of a prominent businessman in Gangtok. Shivam’s grandfather had started with a small shop in Gangtok. His father expanded his business and spread it across entire North-East. He had high hopes for Shivam who was not only good with studies and sports, but also showed sharp business acumen expected from a Marwari. Shivam was good at making friends and a favourite of his teachers. So when he returned from national level Judo championship bagging a gold medal, his schoolmates and teachers decided to take out a procession from St. Joseph’s school to his house carrying him on shoulders and singing school anthem. It was then that this procession was stopped by two BSF trucks that appeared out of the blue. Before any inquiry could be made, men in uniform climbed down from trucks and opened fire on the procession. Students and their teachers were taken by surprise by this sudden firing. They spent precious seconds to take evasive action and paid the price. Shivam was shot through his heart and stomach. By the time those men had stopped firing and boarded their trucks that sped away in different directions. Official figures quoted 167 dead and 230 injured. Out of these, 38 would later succumb to their injuries across various hospitals. Rivers of blood flowed for a long time.

BSF Mi-17 performs CASEVAC
BSF Mi-17 performs CASEVAC (via Bharat-Rakshak)

News of this genocide shocked entire world. Media hounds had gone hysterical and were asking for government to pull out security forces from North-East. Government was in a dilemma. If they kept security forces stationed in NE, they risked losing faith and support of people of NE leading to loss of entire NE. And if they withdrew security forces from NE, insurgents will see to it that India lost control over NE. all in all, it was lose-lose situation for India. While this episode was taking place, Al-Jazeera interrupted its current program about malnutrition in South Sudan to air live interview with leader of a local organization named Sikkim Sabha. Registered as a NGO working for spreading education in villages of Sikkim, this was the first time that they had gone public. There were four other insurgents visible besides their leader who was speaking excitedly in crisp English. He was telling his interviewer how Sikkim had been forced to be a part of India and how they were being oppressed. He went at lengths to describe cruelty and cowardice of Indian troops in firing at children and their teachers. He talked about jealousy that Indian troops had felt when someone from Sikkim had won a gold medal. His inane talks went on for almost twenty minutes and then his tone changed. He started speaking softly and slowly to let meaning of his words sink in. He asked interviewer and cameraman to follow him. After walking a few steps he asked cameraman to point his camera to his right. As soon as cameraman focused his camera there, corpses lying there became visible. They were wearing BSF uniform. Cameraman shot each corpse slowly as if they were some shrubs. There were 30 corpses in total. After shooting corpses, cameraman turned towards the leader who showed a bunch of identity cards belonging to deceased BSF personnel. He also showed trucks that had belonged to BSF troopers and were later used to whisk away those who attacked Shivam and his friends. Then he proclaimed “Sikkim Sabha has grown fangs and claws to attack those who try to harm our people. My brothers and sisters, I ask you to rise against man-eaters from India and throw them out of our glorious home and give a safe and prosperous Sikkim to our children. We have suffered under this regime, but let us vow that our children will inherit a heaven that our Sikkim once was”. At this point feed goes back to the studio where a female anchor starts giving her opinion on what could be done.
News of this interview spread like wild fire. Ageing PM summoned an emergency meeting of his ministers and chiefs of security apparatus. Manish Joshi saw his boss run off towards his car with his aides in tow. He had seen that interview and was raging inside. He and his colleagues had discussed about different pattern of violence in North-East immediately after it appeared. They knew who all were behind this, but their hands were tied. At that time Manish felt impotent rage that most Indian citizens feel after a terrorist attack. But this time it was different. He felt that something needed to be done or else India would lose entire North-East. Today we’ll lose North-East, tomorrow J&K would declare freedom. If that happened, demands for Khalistan might find new supporters. Simply put, India would cease to exist. Son of an IPS officer, Manish respected law. But he knew that it was necessary to break laws in order to maintain integrity of India. While he was contemplating how to resolve this issue, he got a call on his cell phone. As he picked the call and said ‘hello’ he heard that unforgettable voice. 

MJ: Hello
Caller: I want the dossier on Arambam Kamei
MJ: No ways, I am not even allowed to share it with my colleagues from other departments.
Caller: I can feel the rage in your voice Mr. Joshi. Information you share with me will only help me bring down your rage. After all we don’t want to lose good sons of India to heart attacks.
MJ: Hmmm. Alright, I’ll arrange it for you. But you need to tell me who you are and why do you want this information.
Caller: My reason for this information will be clear in next few days. And as to my identity, it should not matter as long as I don’t get you in trouble.
MJ: What do I call you then? Phantom?
Caller: Call me Rustom. Name your price Mr. Joshi.
MJ: I want North East.

Chapter-1: Devil’s Filth

16th December, 2013 - 20:00 local time

Arambam Kamei became passionate about single malt whiskey since the time he had his first sip of good stuff. He ensured that he got the best single malts in his parties. He was well-known for hosting grand parties where best wine and women were available in plenty. But unlike others he preferred to keep his guest list short and invite only those who were close to him. Today’s party had just begun and he was enjoying his drink with some of his powerful friends sitting on terrace of his villa in outskirts of Chittagong. Most of them had made their fortune in less than legal ways by dealing in drugs, arms and humans. Their common connection was their animosity towards India for reasons varying from commercial to religious. Some of the members were officers in Bangladesh Army. Life was good for Kamei and he thought he deserved it for all the hard work he had done all these years. After spending time in jungles of Manipur under constant threat of being hunted by Indian security forces he felt he had earned his luxurious lifestyle.

Surrounded by a thick growth of trees, villa’s parking lot was filled with premium SUVs of different makes. Armed security guards of guests were milling around and discussing what idle men usually discuss. All of a sudden there was a series of ear-shattering blasts near car park. Before anybody could understand anything, security guards started dropping on ground. While some of them had dropped down due to their proximity to blasts, many of them fell due to impact of 7.62mm bullets to their heads and torsos. Smoke grenades came out of the blue and covered entire compound with smoke.

Bewildered guests and surviving guards took out their weapons and started firing wildly. Their bullets hit no targets as there weren’t any. Intended recipients of those bullets were either lying prone in the woods or on the trees. Firing stopped as abruptly as it had started as those firing could not find any targets and were now thinking about what happened. Guests from terrace started barking orders to their guards to start their vehicles. It was at that very moment that shots rang out from woods and took out couple of guests. Almost at same time, figures clad in standard issue fatigues of Bangladesh Navy Special Forces (SWADS) armed with HK-416 rifles, wearing gas masks and night vision gear emerged from the woods firing towards remaining guards. There was not much left for them on the terrace as snipers had done their job well.

Marine troops with HK416 and G36 rifles.
Marine troops with HK416 and G36 rifles. (Image courtesy:
Only three subjects were intentionally left alive with shots to their limbs to immobilize them. In next few minutes, one team of assaulters climbed to terrace while another went for Kamei’s laptop and safe. One of the survivors was trying to take out his cell phone with a wounded arm. One of the assaulters named Yusuf Mohammed gave him a solid kick on face with a comment “Dear General, you and your friends have sold Bangladesh to the highest bidder. You have sold our mothers, sisters and wives to brothels and are enjoying the riches. I have all the reasons to kill you, so you better behave yourself.” Those words spoken in native Bangla had such a ring of finality to it that brave General Khalid Hasan of Bangladesh Rifles did not even move a muscle. Yusuf looked towards his leader who nodded. He went towards Kamei who was lying in pool of his own blood after being shot in left thigh and right kneecap. He pulled out his pistol and shot Kamei’s left kneecap. Kamei who was reason behind so many deaths was now feeling the pain he had inflicted on others all these years. Yusuf said in native Bangla “We, the Sons of Bangladesh hereby send you back to Allah’s court, for he’ll judge you for the crime committed against my country and her children”. It was repeated again in heavily accented English and then he fired two shots in Kamei’s head.

By this time the third survivor Omar Ubaid, who happened to be involved heavily in human trafficking started to plead to spare his life. This was the last that General Hasan saw before he fell unconscious due to blood loss. Omar was carefully shot by Yusuf to ensure that he does not bleed heavily and could survive for some time. One of the assaulters checked for vital signs on General. He was still alive. He gave a ‘thumbs up’ and all of them left as quickly as they had appeared taking with them Kamei’s laptop and documents from his safe. When jeeps and trucks carrying troops local police and military garrison arrived on the scene, all they could find were charred remains of SUVs and corpses of some very powerful men. Omar and General Khalid were rushed to nearest hospital and a mop up of villa was ordered by local military commander. Those in the vicinity of the area were asked to forget about everything that had happened at the villa.

Few hours after this incident, Gregory Carver of CNN, Julia Trent of BBC and Prakash Roy of NDTV were on air reading the email and showing video clips that they had received. That email rested responsibility of “cleaning devil’s filth littered in Bangladesh” on shoulders of erstwhile unknown group called ‘Sons of Bangladesh’. Their agenda declared that they were a patriotic Bangladeshi group formed of common people who had decided to stop foreign elements from milking their country and pushing Bangladeshi people into bottomless pit of poverty and disease. It proclaimed that this was their first operation and from now on they would target those who acted against interests of Bangladesh without giving any consideration to their ethnicity. Immediately afterwards was live telecast of a press conference summoned by Bangladeshi Prime Minister. He conveyed that there was no such incident and this was just a ploy to foment unrest in the country.

Governments across the globe were startled at this incident. It was surprising that a non-government organization had conducted an operation with military precision and eliminated so many powerful men. But then there were a few who saw the news on TV and gave a cunning smile for it was their handiwork. Who were these men would never be known to the world thought Manish Joshi. He switched off TV in his office and called up his wife of 20 years. Manish informed her that he’ll take her out to eat ‘chaat’ at Chandni Chowk just like they used to during early years of marriage. She deserved at least that much for making sacrifices all these years. After all his work involved spending lots of time away from family and then there were things which he could never talk about. He was happy not only because he was taking his wife out, but also because mysterious Rustom had struck. Elimination of Kamei and his cronies had struck a blow to separatist movement in North-East India. Rustom had promised more and Manish was willing to wait. While leaving office, he could not help but feel proud of the organization he worked for. Located at a non-descript building, its name betrayed its function. Named Research and Analysis Wing or RAW for short, it was India’s topmost intelligence agency and he was one of the best spies RAW had ever produced.

Frustrated Fuse - Spy Thriller Novel

India is a country of over a billion people. Unity in diversity was supposed to be guiding principle of independent India. However in practice, there is no unity but only diversity. People are divided over issues like religion, state, caste, sub-caste, etc. But there is one very strong factor that unites all Indians. It is insecurity and fear caused by terrorists that cuts across all the layers of society and is spread evenly from top to bottom. While terrorists roam freely and safely amongst us, it is the common man struggling with his day to day life who has additional burden of safety to worry about. This fear is aggravated by inaction of spineless and corrupt government. Recent blasts in Mumbai (aka Bombay) have brought out hollowness of government’s promise of security. Instead of ensuring our security, government is busy telling us that such things happen. I bet most of us have felt the feeling of frustration and helplessness when such incidents occur. May Lord help us all.

Soldiers from Indian Army's Ghatak unit conducting Combat and Search Operation (CASO) in Arunachal Pradesh
This spy thriller is a story of a young man who got frustrated by acts of terror and decided to play his part to try and stop such attacks against India and Indian interests across the globe. Was he successful? Did he die in vain? I don’t know, because I have not finished the story yet. I’ll be writing it in bits and pieces and will try to be regular. Bouquets and brick-bats will be equally welcome and your suggestions are very valuable to me. Right now I have named my work of fiction as Frustrated Fuse, I am open to suggestions for a better name.

Click on links below to navigate to relevant chapters:

Disclaimer: All characters are fictional. Any resemblances to people in real life are purely co-incidental.