As if the authorities in Mumbai didn’t need their counter-terrorism responsibilities to get any more complicated, the latest problem to surface has been the fact that terrorists might have a better grasp of the city’s frequent name changes than most locals. In a satirical piece in this week’s Outlook, which is nonetheless based on real concerns, the magazine refers to a recent intercept by Mumbai police in which would-be terrorists used the new manual of place names rather than the old colonial names by which everyone in the city still refers to everything:
It seems the terrorists have started using the Brihanmumbai Corporation’s city guide—which lists streets by their new names—to plan their operations. One intercept that intrigued the entire force read thus: “Assemble at R.S. Nimbarkar Marg. Proceed to Shankarseth Road and then to Nyaymurti C. Patkar Marg. Wait there for the team coming from C.D. Barifwala Marg which will first touch base with agent ‘Y’ at Sir Dinshaw Mulla Marg…and then leave the explosives in a cloth bag.” Had the Lashkar operatives referred to the locations as Juhu Street, Marine Lines or Girgaum Road then their plans would have been that much clearer.
This site gives a list of some of the ongoing changes which are potentially proving an inadvertent code for would-be badmashes. Certainly, from a Western point of view, things were alot simpler with the old monikers, although it must be said that in the few weeks that I’ve been in India, locals have been much more likely to refer to this city as Bombay than Mumbai. This bodes well for my plans to single-handedly recolonise the place, this time in the name of Brockley, southeast London, although we are in need of a flag.