The scale and sophistication of attack was unprecedented. Different access routes, loads of ammunition to survive days of fighting, simultaneous attack on multiple locations - some of them iconic landmarks and aiming of diverse nationalities leading to brobdingnagian damage to life and property. Indiscriminate firing on innocents commuters at VT, guests at Taj and Oberoi and the Nariman House, a Jewish settlement, has left approx 200 dead and 300 plus injured. Infact the damage goes beyond those dead, it has left everyone alive, scared and vulnerable.
The battle was witnessed live for 3 days on TV bringing Mumbai massacre right into our homes. It collapsed the sense of distance and made everyone part of the city. It’s their city, which was burning. Everyone was a Mumbaikar.
Over weekend, we have been talking about this with friends. The more one talks more the frustration, as it leaves so many unanswered questions, which basically points to the callousness and criminal negligence on the part of political leadership across spectrum. It’s their failure, which is exploited by administrative leadership who take it easy. The ‘chalta hai’ attitude and with money changing hands, politicians and administrators collectively have become spineless craven retards.
This is not the first time that political leadership failed us. This whole year we have been haunted by terror with blasts happening at Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Bangalore, Delhi. Still nothing was done other than customary sound bytes around maintaining peace and praising resilience of masses. On our part, we never protested and pushed for accountability. We chose to go on with our life. A collective sterner response would have yielded different results. For the first time the public response has left the political leadership ducking for cover. We shouldn’t forget this tragedy and keep the heat on the politicians till they perform to our satisfaction.
Such terror attacks also have other collateral damage - Inbound tourism, investments, slowdown, negative sentiments, lost days, lost productivity, cancellation of events, hotel occupancy, travel – everything gets affected. Coming on top of economic slowdown, the affect could be devastating for us.
Couples of steps, which government must take:
1. Stepping up intelligence. RAW should be strengthened. Investments in intelligence infrastructure should go up. Co-ordination amongst various intelligence wings should be stepped up. Probably there should be a central authority that should command all intelligence wings. Mechanisms to increase co-ordination amongst state and central agencies should be put in place.
2. Police reforms should be carried out immediately. They need to be de-politicised and paid better. Politicians have been misusing them for too long.
3. National policy towards terrorism should be put in place. No negotiations should form part of that.
4. Response infrastructure for all the cities should be put in place. Tier 1 cities, major hubs and installations including industries should receive help within 60-90 mins.
5. Lawmakers should immediately pass tough anti-terror law. We have been procrastinating this for too long. State governments should enact similar legislations.
6. Post event trials should be swift. Need to visible with our actions. Afzal, who attacked the Parliament, has still not been hanged though SC has confirmed the sentence twice. No one should have authority to Pardon. What signals are we sending?
7. Cabinet Committee should have Leader of Opposition as one of the participants. Have to take everyone along.
We on our part should be prepared to shoulder increased cost of security and gracefully accept the inconveniences due to increased security measures.
The only silver lining in this dark cloud is that it has bonded the citizens. Anyone talking about religion, cast or regional partisanship is a treasonist. It’s all about being an Indian. Hopefully the sacrifice of our countrymen will not go waste and create a stronger and peaceful India.