1. While A occurred only a few days ago, B occurred about 24 years ago.
2. While less than 200 people were killed in A, more than 4000 were killed in B.
3. While most of the victims in A were shot dead, in B some were hacked to death, while others were burnt alive after their hands having been tied behind their backs, their bodies drenched with kerosene and burning tyres put around their necks. The women-folk amongst the victims were, in the latter case, forced to watch the male members of their families being killed, including young children, after which they were raped and then killed. Some of the youngest victims were tossed in the air, to be killed by falling on to sharp-edged weapons like spears.
4. The victims of event A mostly included those present in the hotels and the railway station under attack, but during event B, people were dragged out of their own homes to be killed, after which their houses were set on fire.
5. While the police force fought hard against the killers in A, in event B it was either inactive or, in some cases, even assisted the killers by blocking the victims' possible escape routes.
6. While the army was called in within hours of the attacks having begun in the case of event A, it was called in after several days of the commencement of event B, in order to give the killers a free run for that long, even though it acted in an unbiased manner, once it was sent into the affected areas. It is a different matter, however, that there was not much left for it to do.
7. Whereas 9 out of the 10 killers in the case of event A have been shot dead and the remaining one arrested, nearly all of the killers in the case of event B are still at large.
8. While the alleged masterminds of A are said to be located outside India and are sought to be captured at the earliest, even if that involves launching attacks on a neighbouring country, those for B are all present within India and yet none of them have been brought to justice over the past 24 years. As a matter of fact, some of them have been legislators and even cabinet ministers in the government of India during that period.
Some of them, ironically, are protected by the men of the same elite commando force i.e. National Security Guards (NSG), which was sent in to fight against the attackers in A. The political party that these alleged masterminds belong to, won a huge electoral victory in the general election that followed event B, almost as if it was being rewarded by large sections of India's population for its 'good work' that was widely perceived to have included the organisation of the massacre.
9. Following event A, the prime minister of India declared that such events are a threat to pluralistic societies, while the (then) prime minister of India said following event B, "Jab baRaa peyR girtaa hai toh dharti toh hilti hi hai." (When a large tree falls, the earth is bound to shake.).
10. Following event A, there has been a large-scale outpouring of grief by various sections of the general public in the form of demonstrations replete with banners, black arm-bands and plenty of slogan-shouting, in addition to candle-light marches, chain-letters circulated through email, etc., while very little of anything like that was in evidence after event B or for the 24 years that have gone by since then.
11. Whereas politicians are being criticised and even being abused following event A, the politicians perceived as being largely responsible for event B were able to build up a huge fan-following, on account of which, as mentioned above, they were able to win general elections with a huge margin of victory, soon after the violence.
12. One of the most prominent slogans that have been raised after event A is, "Enough (of terrorism) is enough!", but since there have hardly been any protests after event B, over the past 24 years, except by some of those belonging to the same community as the victims, there is no question of any such slogans having been raised. However, soon before event B, one of the slogans raised was, "Khoon ka badlaa khoon se laiNgay!" (We shall avenge blood with blood (of innocents who had nothing to do with the incident sought to be 'avenged')!)
Incidentally, if event A is substituted by any other instance of terrorist violence in India and event B is substituted by any other instance of communal riots in the country, the contrast is likely to remain almost as stark.
The foremost question that arises in my mind, in view of all of the above facts, can be summed up in one word i.e. why?
Update: March 7, 2009. Apparently, I am not the only one who has noticed the contrast. The following is an excerpt from a letter published on page 14 of the March 2009 issue of the Indian edition of the Reader's Digest:
"This country is known for its double standards. Orissa was targeted by our "in-house" terrorists and no one really cared about the innocent civilians who were burnt alive or about a nun who was gang raped in front of mute policemen. But when it comes to Mumbai being terrorized, every politician is playing his part and the whole nation is voicing its opinion."