Sunday, November 30, 2008

Security: A Lack of Will to Enforce It?

In the aftermath of the terror attack, there's a lot of analysis in the media. Acres of newsprint has now been expended to explain how the city fought back, not about how vulnerable it is after repeated terror attacks.

(A video I took a day after the terror strike shows the terrorism hit areas of Metro, Cama Hospital and VT station through which I pass everyday on the way to work.)

After the blasts in the train in 2006 I thought the authorities would become wiser and tighten security at train stations and airports. At VT station through which I pass daily on the way to work there are a row of metal detectors at the gates but nobody to man them. The policemen/women sit and chat at two table, sometimes they read the newspaper and are least bothered what goes on around them.

After the present audacious and indiscriminate shooting at the train terminus the same state continues, no policemen check the passengers and everyone walks around as if nothing happened. I think there is no political or bureaucratic will to see that the safety of the common people are ensured. Why common people even the elite dining in the five-star Taj and Oberoi hotels weren't spared. So far those who died were poor and destitute but those who died in this attack were the rich and powerful, see this article.

Problem is our security men and women are poorly trained, not provided adequate weapons, poorly paid, aren't alert at all and even the worst terrorists can get through their porous security apparatus. Where did we go wrong? The police consider theirs as another comfortable government job they aren't expected to do much, despite there being some dynamic leaders in their midst like Hemant Karkare.

Meanwhile here's what Suketu Mehta, chronicler of Bomaby and author of "Maximum City" has to say in an article on Bombay in an article in New York Times. Excerpts:

"In 1993, Hindu mobs burned people alive in the streets — for the crime of being Muslim in Mumbai. Now these young Muslim men murdered people in front of their families — for the crime of visiting Mumbai. They attacked the luxury businessmen’s hotels. They attacked the open-air Cafe Leopold, where backpackers of the world refresh themselves with cheap beer out of three-foot-high towers before heading out into India. Their drunken revelry, their shameless flirting, must have offended the righteous believers in the jihad. They attacked the train station everyone calls V.T., the terminus for runaways and dreamers from all across India. And in the attack on the Chabad house, for the first time ever, it became dangerous to be Jewish in India."


Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Just wanted to say thanks for all the updates on the attacks. I've been pretty glued to your and Dilip's blog these past few days, keeping track of developments, apart from a few other blogs.

@lankr1ta said...

John, Don't ou think there is something very wrong with the Indian "chalta hai" attitude. How is it that a movement of weaponry of this scale happens and the "intelligence" has no idea. How is it that post 1992, Mumbai is felled by attack after attack and all they can do is Change the name, evict non marathis and have a few communal riots. How much more people will have to die before the politicos make it another political "photo-op" and blame the ruling party?

John said...

Daniel, thanks, sure good to know someone appreciates!

Alankrita, thanks, yes it's a shame to know that there's so much to be done but the leaders are after populist acts like changing names, threatening outsiders and generally spreading fear!

Ironic isn't it?