Saturday, November 24, 2007

Have we surrendered to terror?

As families lie shattered in the three cities of Uttar Pradesh -- Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi -- following the bomb explosions there yesterday, a few thoughts come to mind:

1. In UP, yesterday it was the judiciary that came under attack. One of the reasons being spoken of is that it's a retaliatory attack against lawyers for having refused to plead for people who have been charged with terrorist motives. In neighbouring Pakistan too the judiciary has been under attack for the first time. There, it's by the nation's President Gen Musharraf, for not toeing his line and overstepping the limits that he had drawn.

2. Why hasn't our security agencies been able to ensure the safety the citizens? One headline yesterday was "Terror revisits UP". The question is when will these visitations be stopped for ever?

3. How seriously do authorities take these incidents? Even before any proper examination or analysis has been done of various attributes of the tragic event, the security agencies have pointed their fingers at various organistions. All suspicions, nothing is for sure. Why do they have to do this, in the first place. Not surprisingly, not many of the charges against the suspects in such incidents have stood the test of scrutiny in the court of law.

4. In a way, it's only natural that the investigators haven't been able to do a thorough job given the politics that is insidiously brought into such tragedies. Within hours chief minister Mayawati was blaming the central government for not getting its intelligence right. In the cacophony of allegations and counterallegation muddied by insinuations, it's no wonder that neither public places are well-secured nor a meticulous investigation is done in the event of a tragedy. The investigating agencies lack both financial and human resources. The inputs hardly match the enormity of the problems we have.

5. Foolproof security is a myth. As former British Prime Minister Margret Thatcher said after escaping a bid on her life "They (terrorists) need to get it right only once; we need to get it right always." She was making a reference to the challenge. That was when terror strikes were not very common. The availability of low-intensity devices and the deviant human beings proclivity to reach for such devices is a bane of civilisation. (Look at how quickly Kolkata was paralysed few days back. That too was terror.) Today, the challenge is all the more, but how well have we stood up to it?

1 comment:

  1. Our diplomats, including our PM, widely proclaim that countries in the west could learn from India's experience because India has been dealing with terrorism since long. I say, India should first learn from its experience. We are not any better in dealing with terrorism, at least at the various political levels. We are finger pointers and deep inside, we have lost the ability to grieve for the souls lost each time a bomb explodes. Ironically, the media calls it names like "springing back to life" or the "spirit of the city" each time a bomb goes off and the very next day everything seems normal.

    This "life goes on" attitude, if looked from another perspective, shows the hard side that we have developed over the past decade.