Sunday, November 30, 2008

Terror Not Again!

The Mumbai attacks are a grim reminder for taking the dignity of an Indian citizen's life more seriously. Of course a systemic lapse and failure on all parts of the administration prior to the meticulously planned attack goes on to show how there are large chinks in our security armour. The Intelligence gathering framework, the coast guard, the state police apparatus (cant blame their bravado and valour given the fact that they have to make do with WW II era carbines and Lee Enfield rifles) and every other bandobast seemed to have been brought to naught by the terrrorists as has been happening time and again. 

Firstly how did so much ammunition not get detected, then the terrrorists themselves playing, fiddling and moving around with impunity from one spot to another, and not even getting detected at the very entry point and then the complete failure of the state police in averting the violent carnage given the fact that IB had provided prior intelligence - all are evidenty most shocking. Seems the terrroists were from the LeT and the ammunition used had been provided by Dawood Ibrahim's men from within Mumbai and suburbs - a clear Pakistani ISI handy work, otherwise these kind of operatives cannot be produced. Unless trained rigourously, given endurance training - as some reports claim the Pak Navy trained them. Check out the kind of sophisticated handhelp GPS navigation equipment they had from Garmin etc. There are several questions unanswered (the biggest joke was the resignation of Shivaraj Patil; dont forget who put him there firstly need to be held responsible) and the immense anger and sorrow after close to 200 people were killed and more than 300 injured in the brutal attacks. 

Citizens will have to become more alert and certainly less indifferent, as this scourge of terrorism spreads like never before and is no longer restricted to a Kashmir or a Punjab. A mandatory military training for all citizens as Israel does may be a feasible option if introduced at the college levels and implemented as a de facto measure.  Extraordinary times call for extraordinary action.

We cannot sit mum and take things as they strike us - the US has not had a single event of terror strike post 9/11 - surely an indication of how tight their security has got. A federal security body independent of the meddling of the political pack, in command of someone like KPS Gill will need to be created and bestowed with adequate authority to fight these and tighter laws as is also being articulated.

Also most importantly we - the intelligensia cannot turn their face away and claim as if nothing has gone wrong - we as members of the corporate, the so called elite, the educated and empowered will need to do our bit - 'what can we do?' is to be thought out and not used as a escape device - creative ways and mechanisms will have to be generated. Getting on with life as if nothing happened, mindless and irresponsible 'mall culture' and 'pub culture' and other frivolous pursuits which we all often indulge in, will have to end - the youth will need to come together (this is the right time to galvanize as a nation together) and do something, anything feasible be it in the social, technology or media space or even through using programs and reality shows like 'MTV Roadies' to actually impart training than to restrict them to mere entertainment and bitching and mindless nonsense talk shows. 

We will have to start today! The 'who-cares-a-damn'  attitude could cost us our lives or those of a near and dear one - no this is absolutely not a joke it is in the very realm of the possible - clear and present everywhere, capable of engulfing anyone at anytime.

We will have to make the change happen - as the saying goes - if not we, who? If not now, when?

NOTE: My point was essentially to get more alert and ready for averting the next event of this magnitude. As citizens we often feel helpless and thus are triggered into thinking what we can do/contribute in times of crisis such as this. We got to see both sides of the picture, but despondency does set in with the ineptitude the govt displays time and again in the prevention angle - no one is blaming the NSG for the cure - it's the occurrence of such large scale violence/attacks that causes a groundswell of anger and doubt among the public. The NSG, MARCOS, RAF commandos, and the policemen require a tribute from our end but we cannot always depend on them for everything.
Also the following is a riposte from a friend of mine - a Squadron Leader (IAF) - whom I shall not name here (I respect his views against a knee-jerk reaction):

Should we, as the public, play into their hands by training all our guns on the instruments of the state? The post-mortems and the blame-games have already started. Indian politicians are venal and nincompoop. India doesn’t have an internal security policy. The police is worthless. It is an intelligence failure. We are doomed as a nation.Are these really true...?

Politicians are the easiest targets, the softest ones and they rightfully deserve a major share of the blame for the mess we find this nation in. But can we wait a wee bit longer before going all out against them?

Can these TV anchors turned arm-chair experts suggest the way ahead rather than merely decrying the system and the nation? Media acts as a force multiplier for the terrorist. A similar incident in the heartlands of Bastar would have achieved little except a byline in the inside pages of a national newspaper after two days. If this kind of media coverage provides oxygen to terrorism, then the electronic media and the society needs to introspect about the role of media in the Indian society today. It is about TRPs and revenue figures for the media while it is about pandering to voyeuristic tendencies in each one of us.

Comparisons to the US during 9/11, although not very exact, will continue to be made. Let us look back at another famous siege in India that happened nearly a quarter of a century back. Was Operation Blue Star less gruesome or worse than these Mumbai attacks? The terrorists inside the Golden Temple had even laid mines and shot down army tanks with anti-tank weapons. But it wasn’t a media spectacle and the mood in the nation was not of despondency and vexation. The nation then said — let’s fight and eradicate terrorism. What is the feeling in the nation now — let’s berate the government and eradicate this system of governance.

If that be true, then the terrorists and their ideology have already won. Let us be cautious and careful in venting our emotions. Each one of us has a right to be angry, but at the right target — the terrorists and our countrymen who, wittingly or unwittingly, further the terrorists’ agenda for their petty, selfish gains.

The immediate goal of neutralising terrorists inside Mumbai has been met. There is an urgent need to identify and lay out a short-term plan for ensuring internal security, along with a long-term vision for restructuring the internal security system in this country and a medium-term strategy that bridges the short-term plans and the long-term vision.

Until then let the common man enjoy his mall and pub, its required for the nation to stay cool, thats the strategy "the opponent gets his share of joy in a fight only if you show him that you are hurt; any indifference to this would take him off the driver's seat in the fight". So much so for 300 wounded and 200 dead....

Some more links:


  1. Shamz, be it Patil or anyone else who has put up his paper.. Be it any party for that matter.. U r going to see the same results. Politicians all are of the same kind! For instance the so called prime ministerial candidate from the opp. didn't even care to attend the all party meet called by the PM !! Forget about the solutions that will be charted out in such meets... what about the solidarity message they are sending out to the world ??
    And u r point out one Patil !!

    Moreover there isn't any conclusive evidence that Pak Navy trained them. They are LT and they were trained by LT!!

  2. Shamit,
    The media might be going overboard in its 'govt-is-to-blame-for-everything' tirade. But then, would it be prudent to take a completely diametric stand and absolve them of all their mistakes.

    Remember, one of the foremost duties of a govt is to defend its citizens. We are trusting our lives on this one singluar thought. Now, when that very notion gets shaken, there is bound to be angst among the people and some over-reactions as a consequence of that. But then, will this over-reaction bring about the required change in the annals of power and a realization that the common man's life is no less expendable than that of a politician's ?

    That is the moot question.

    Isnt it a shame that the cream of our armed forces are handpicked for an extremely intensive physical, mental and psychological training and made as NSG commandos, only to have them become glorified bodygaurds for the politician?

    It doesnt actually matter who trained those bastards, what does really matter is that we could not stop them from wreaking havoc.
    A dozen men bringing a city to its knees. Shameful.

    Apologies for the long comment.

  3. Absolute conclusive evidence a citizen of Pak what else do you want GKS, anyway it is futile to argue on a topic that is a foregone conclusion. Yes the politicians (whichever party they may belong to) are a corrupt lot that point you have made and is true ...

    Appreciate the thoughts you cared to write down Adarsh. It is but natural that the outrage is palpable and the politicians are not able to handle this. How long will we push things under the carpet and pander to the vote-bank politics. I dont want to see an Afzal Guru happening of this captured terrorist Kasav ...

  4. Shamit, I agree that there has to be a two pronged approach to solving terror activities, the short term one and the long term one. And it's no longer a problem that "politicians, Police and Secutiry forces" have to handle. These people can not and should not monitor everything happening everywhere! Police will be overpowered and outnumbered easily! The only way to completely tackle it is for India to rise above its dividing lines, the caste, religion.........and contribute actively as vigilant and responsible includes voting for correct politicians, boycotting elections if there are no suitable candidates and of course, the educated and aware to enter the political arena......we can no longer entrust our country to the selfish and insensitive breed of politicians we have currently......

  5. @Pritesh: Agree with all the points you make.