Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mumbai attacks and the lessons we refuse to learn

There they come again. Just like millions of Indians, I feel deja vu. The same feeling now haunts me as it did 31 months ago. The same apathy of the political elite, the same outrage of civilians, the same candle lights and then the same 'Mumbai spirit', resilience, blah blah blah..Every problem India faces today is reduced to a news story, consumed for a day and disposed the next, even the 17 dead and 131 injured on this black Wednesday. Perhaps, the story of the Minister, in-charge of Mumbai's security, best illustrates this point.

Raosaheb Ramrao Patil, as the home minister of Mumbai, infamously opined after 2008 Mumbai attacks " "They (the terrorists) came to kill 5,000 people but we ensured minimal damage". In a further proof of the callous stuff he is made of, he said after a few days "It is not like that. In big cities like this, small incidents do happen. It's is not a total failure." Just as it does, the government succumbed to public outrage over his comments and removed him from office then. When the heat is out, he was bought back in after 10 months. And here he is presiding over, as Mumbai is attacked again! And add to that this visual news 10 months ago that the honorable home minister was at a social gathering hobnobbing with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's aides. I am not implying having this guy as home minister made the attacks possible. What I am pointing at is the callousness and a lack of logical centre in playing around with such a vital portfolio. Why was he moved out and back in? Are there any lessons learnt for him from his previous experience? If so, it did not show. What did Indians do to deserve this? And what are the lessons terror in Mumbai and elsewhere in India teaching us which we are failing to learn?

The first lesson is that nothing now happens in India unless the government is forced to. The Lokpal bill is a case in point. Things seem to happen only when people come on to streets. We need the civil society to pressurize the state and central governments into coming up with any lessons they possibly could have learnt and the remedial measures planned. Let them come up with clear decisions on enforcing the measures and let the follow up to these measures be in public domain. The union home minister said "There were no prior intelligence inputs for the attacks”  and yet he adds it is not an intelligence failure! It is clear that projects like National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) and the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) aimed at bettering our intelligence gathering did not take off, even after 31 months. And that is despite a mammoth budget. It is a shame that the union home minister says the same 31 months passed without an attack because the authorities did well. That is like saying, on scales of efficiency, a next attack after 32 months is okay! In hindsight, I feel we were plain lucky for all these months.

The governments' lethargy and ill intentions in not acting on the existent laws of the land should be questioned. The government should be forced to answer on why Afzal Gurus and Ajmal Kasabs are not given the punishment the courts have condemned them to, after exhaustive trials. Why are the clemencies pending with the President for years altogether (In fact, it was reported Afzal Guru's clemency petition was not at President's office, despite news to the contrary).

The way he said there are 'inherent difficulties' in avoiding these acts of terror in Mumbai, because of its density, is appalling. Why does he think cities more dense than Mumbai have not become victims of terror? It does not a Harvard brain to answer that. The appalling attitude of Indian political elite shows just how irrelevant Indian politics has now become to the basic need in this country - security and the right to live. 

As long as Indians think their duty starts and ends with voting for one of the devils in election, these attacks wont stop, just as the corruption, nepotism and misgoverning in governments wont stop.The lesson Mumbai attacks teach us is that we can no more leave our welfare and security solely in the hands of these rogue politicians. We have to take a role. Any debate now should be on what and how that role should be, not on how the media stooped low in reporting, or how resilient Mumbai is, or which minister has to be booted out, which anyway would not avoid the next attack on us that is probably being planned somewhere at this very moment.



Why did government take again,the same home minister who was suspended after 26/11 attacks??because we, the responsible citizen of India, elected him again with bumper majority.How can Chidambaram, Rahul (future prime minister),Digvijay singh can say openly it is common incident in such a big city...we successfully stopped them 31 months..blah blah?? because they know we,the responsible citizen of India will again elect them with bumper majority or else unanimously again.
The fault is with us:
First of all, we will not come to polling booth (evident from 65% polling) those who come, will vote for their cast ism or else regionalism or else money power.
Just keeping a poll in this blog and ask the persons who visit this blog whether he voted in election if not voted, what is the reason.
If we voted properly, then these irresponsible persons will not be elected.

ESPY said...

well said !

Anonymous said...

the callousness is there in the system ...

the "get on" attitude is often mistaken for resilience

agree it's a large country and every nook and corner can't be searched... so, the citizens also need to do their part by being alert

"because we, the responsible citizen of India, elected him again with bumper majority."

if not wrong a case is pending in the Madras high court regarding his election ... he won by a whisker ..can't blame the voters in his election

chomskyist said...

No amount of Good "Intelligence" can prevent a Determined Homegrown Insurgents(or lone wolfs), who makes IED's out of Fertilizer.
India just cant ape UK or USA and Restrict the usage of Ammonia Nitrate on the lines of what our Moronic Media is proposing.
The best Longterm Counter Terrorism program for India is to remove the feeling of Marginilisation among Muslims .

If Indian govt Really had a Success Rate of preventing 99% of Terrorism plots that are launched, as our Prince Gandhi has stated, CIA will be taking Tuition classes from the Indian Police.

Our Rahul Gandhi and Chiddu can make such callous Statements because they are extremely well Protected, z+ Category Security cover means they are guarded 24/7 by the Special Protection Group, perhaps the best trained and equipped security branch in our whole Nation. Contrast them with the much Hyped NSG commandos who are supposed to be the Rapid responce teams in the Event of an Terrorist Attack or a Hostage Situations in Our Cities,the are Pathetically trained and poorly Equipped.