Monday, December 1, 2008

Let us put our house in order first

Post 11/26, life will not be same for any Indian for a very long time to come and never ever for those whose any of their kith and kin has perished in Mumbai attack or even for those who have escaped the attack by a whisker. The images of gun bearing terrorists will always haunt those who have lived to tell the tale of horror minute by minute.
As soon as the news of Mumbai attack, the worst so far on Indian soil spread , the Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh washed his hands off by announcing quickly that it was a handiwork of Pakistan. This piece is not about whether Pakistan is involved in this act or not. Even if at this stage of investigation it is believed that Pakistan has directly or indirectly supported this heinous act, let us ask ourselves what have we done to prevent it?
This is not the first time that an act of terror has taken place on India’s soil. For the past one year, it has been the order of the month. Hardly a month passes without any news of blast in one or the other part of the country so much so that a minor blast with one or two causalities gets only a brief mention in media. The terrorists have become bolder and their numbers are increasing day by day. This time they surpassed the imagination of even Hollywood script writers. The plan for Mumbai attack was not put together in hurry. It was the outcome of months and perhaps years of planning. For sure, it went through many alterations since its original plan and must have gone through several trails before the final act of disaster that was executed to have maximum damage.
The first question we need to ask ourselves what our intelligence services were doing all these months? Why didn’t they get to unearth anything about it? If they had some clue about it then why didn’t they act in time? No point blaming others now, the damage has already been done. If our intelligence officers are not capable then why they are there in the first place? Like private sector, incase of non performance why they are not given pink slips?
Secondly, it is not only the duty but the job of the Coast Guard Services to protect our sea borders. Are they really protecting our borders? How can twelve armed men enter our borders with bags full of grenades and arms through sea route without anyone knowing about it? For sure, the terrorists must have checked this route for their safe arrival. Did we have confidence in the capability of Coast Guard? If not then no one will be a bigger fool than our government to believe that no enemy can enter our country through sea route. If they are not well equipped or trained then it should have been the prime priority of the government to provide them with required arms and instruments to execute their job fully.
Every time there is talk of outsiders penetrating our borders, India’s ‘porous borders’ becomes the lame excuse. The defense of the country should be the top most priority of our government at what ever cost. If lack of funds is the issue then it is advisable to dismiss the mission to moon and divert the money for defense of the country. Let us walk safely on earth first before we learn to walk on moon.
India’s police force has been the laughing stocks for years. Has our government taken any steps to equip them with modern arms and ammunition to prepare them for facing such a war? We expect pot bellied revolver bearing policemen to take on AK 47 trotting agile well trained terrorists.
We have the habit of waking up from our slumber only after the damage is done, we think of everything possible to prevent the next attack but again have lackadaisical attitude when nothing happens for some time. Now hotels will have fool proof security, spend heavily on safety of guests but will forget everything soon only to be woken up after the next attack. When it was expected that terrorists will hit again and hit really hard then why such casual attitude towards providing security to its guests? Why hotels have multiple entrances, why can’t there be just two entrances - one for guests and one for service staff. Is it so difficult to provide heavy weight security at just two points in a hotel which is on terrorist hit list? Isn’t a stitch in time better than two later?
Why NSG is located only at Delhi, why not in all metros and why train only NSG officers, why can’t our police men be trained in this? If NSG was located at Mumbai then this terror scene would have got over much earlier and many precious lives could be saved.
We blame our government for not doing anything for our safety. It is ironical that the public is helpless in a democracy. Is there no way to morally pressurize our government to deliver? Our government makes quick plans for our safety bothering little about its execution. Should we believe that the terrorists have read our mind and got scared just by our thinking of taking a few measures for the prevention of next terrorist act? Unless we put our house in order, it is heartening to state that this Mumbai attack will not be the last heinous crime on India’s soil

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