Replace HM

Replace HM

The gaping holes in India’s counter-terrorism security grid stands exposed yet again. Barely two months after serial blasts in Mumbai’s diamond markets, terrorists have struck again; this time in the capital Delhi.

A powerful bomb blast at the Delhi high court has killed 11 people and injured 50 others. In May this year, a low-intensity bomb had been defused outside another gate of the same high court. Authorities were thus aware that the court was on the terrorists’ radar. Still, little was done to prevent a blast.

It shows how lax government is with regard to protecting the lives of its citizens. In the wake of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government announced a series of measures to modernise and spruce up India’s decrepit police force. A new security grid at much cost to the public exchequer was put in place. Home minister P Chidambaram described the new police force as “better trained, better equipped, and better motivated to prevent terrorist attacks.” However, the blasts in Mumbai and now in Delhi indicate that his claims are rather exaggerated.

The Harkat ul jihadi al Islam (HUJI) has claimed responsibility for the blasts. It has demanded sparing Afzal Guru from the death penalty. It is likely that the coming days will see our political class engage in a familiar blame game and finger pointing. However, what the people of this country would like to hear is why the government remains lethargic when it comes to securing the common man.

If only the home minister would go unannounced to railway stations or crowded markets he would see why his much-vaunted security grid is such a sham. Much of the reforms in the security grid remain only on paper. On the ground, it is business as usual. That is, holes in the security set-up remain unplugged in practice.

Rarely do metal detectors at railway stations work and policemen are still dozing on the job. Patrol boats bought at high cost are lying unused as petrol is not being provided. Since the 9/11 terror strikes in the US, not a single terror attack has taken place on American soil.

Compare this with India’s abysmal record in fighting terrorism. Chidambaram’s grand plan to secure Indians from terrorist attacks has been a total failure. People are fed up with his empty rhetoric and the country needs a new home minister with better ideas and firm commitment to fight terror.