Why can't we Indians raise our security culture from a pathetic standard despite being attacked time and again? Blame game was on as usual after the blasts but how long will this continue?
The worrying factor is both the state government in Andhra Pradesh and the Centre are being led by the Congress but yet there was a clear lack of coordination in dealing with security issues. Even news channels showed many of the CCTV cameras installed at the blast sites were not working. How does it matter to know after the disaster that people had this information or the other. Does voting only count for the country's leaders? We often hear that the Congress is trying its best to protect its biggest fort in southern India, i.e., Andhra Pradesh. Is this the example of protection? Let people die, we will form government again!
Vague intelligence inputs
There has to be a powerful and comprehensive intelligence network in place to track terror mechanism. In India's case, the network might be powerful but is it comprehensive enough? Law enforcement agencies have been found ruing about vague information that they receive from intelligence agencies. Take for example this piece of info: "Mr X from Islamabad called up Mr Y in Mumbai. The latter was asked to hand over some money to Mr Z in Pune to carry out conduct some dastardly act. Please take action."
There is no address, contact number, specific details about the suspects and yet there is intelligence warning. Who will the law keepers fight against with this piece of information? Against air?
Often our political leaders are seen assuring people that intelligence alerts had been raised. But why do they say this after the disaster strikes? To cover up their failure and create a sense of optimism before the next explosion occurs? Do people have any idea about the ridiculous way intelligence inputs are provided? And we have a number of outfits supposed to uphold the national security.
A report on India's anti-terror establishment by Tehelka said in one of its issues published in September 2011 spoke about an IB alert sent to the Mumbai Police just ahead of the 2011 cricket World Cup final.
It said: "This is in continuation of my earlier communication regarding the possibility of LeT operatives using forged documents and IDs to gain access to the cricket World Cup final. According to latest information, there is a likelihood that forged documents and ID cards of organisations such as cricket associations, press clubs, media outfits, PAN cards, bank employee ID cards, voter cards, ration cards and employee cards of infrastructure entities such as telecom, electricity, etc, may be used to obtain regular passes from the agencies to gain access into the stadium. In this background, inquiries may please be made to authenticate the genuineness of the enclosed documents and feedback may please be given to us."
Aren't such intelligence inputs too theoretical and unfit for taking appropriate action? They surely are. The law-enforcing officials take a casual approach towards beefing up security after getting such vague information. And what does this beefing up security mean?
Half-hearted approach towards security
Increasing the number of police constables wielding batons by a few during a national holiday or festival or personnel possessing outdated arms (the security officers found their guns not functioning when they were attacked by terrorists at the American Centre in Kolkata a decade ago). If indeed the government decides to take a sophisticated route, it bans bulk SMS or circulate alert SMSs. Does that make any difference to the security culture?
In November 2008, armed terrorists entered Mumbai, India's commercial capital, through waterway and caused a carnage. What's the point in blaming Pakistan for such incidents when we ourselves have failed miserably to put up a minimum security culture? We have seen many political assassinations in our country starting from the Mahatma. But yet, how much importance do we really give to security apart from building up a massive show of armoury that actually alienates the leaders from the people.
Yes, it is understandable that manning a high population isn't easy for the authorities but in that case, there should be an extra intensity to chalk out an internal security policy. The problem is the compulsion of vote politics has left the political forces too much fragmented to devise a agreed formula to secure the common people's life. Personality clashes and political tussle come into the way to integrating the entire nation by a comprehensive security grid. Even one minister can not do it just as a normal 9-5 job. A complete dedication is required to set up a national security cover.
Moreover, it is sorrowful to see the country's home minister uttering words like 'Hindu terror' to gain a political advantage over the opposition. If terror is made into a political tool instead of being identified as a national threat, then who can really save this country?
List of terror attacks since 2006:
July 11, 2006 : Over 200 killed in Mumbai train blast
Sept 8, 2006: 30 killed in Malegaon blast
May 18, 2007: 11 killed in Mecca Masjid blast, Hyderabad
August 25, 2007: 30 killed in twin blasts in Hyderabad
July 25, 2008: Two killed in serial blasts in Bangalore
July 26, 2008: 57 killed in serial blasts in Ahmedabad
September 13, 2008: 26 killed in Delhi blasts
November 26, 2008: 166 killed in terror strike that continued for three days
February 13, 2010: 17 killed in Pune bakery blast
July 13, 2011: 26 killed in serial blasts in Mumbai
September 7, 2011: 12 killed in blast outside Delhi Hugh Court