Far from secure

Four years after the terror attacks on Mumbai, troubling questions remain over the efficacy of security measures that were put in place to prevent the recurrence of such violence.

Although no attack of a similar scale has occurred in the country since 2008, we remain vulnerable.

With the execution of Ajmal Kasab last week, all the ten gunmen who carried out the 2008 attacks are now dead. However, the key conspirators and others remain at large. Four years after the carnage, India has not been able to push Pakistan to either hand over the accused or put them under a credible judicial trial. Neither has Pakistan acted against the anti-India terror network thriving there.

That this network continues to pose a threat to Indian lives is evident from the warnings of revenge attacks issued by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan last week following Kasab’s execution.

As worrying as Pakistan’s inaction is India’s hesitant initiatives to secure its citizens. The 2008 attacks laid bare gaping holes in India’s security infrastructure. It led to the setting up of new agencies to fight terrorism such as the National Intelligence Grid, the National Counter Terrorism Centre and the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems. But these initiatives have been defeated from within, either by chief ministers unwilling to cede authority to the Centre or by turf wars among various agencies.

Plan to improve CCTV coverage of Mumbai remains unimplemented. Hiring of police and their training is far from optimal. Probes into the 26/11 attacks revealed that faulty bullet-proof vests that police were given exposed them to terrorist fire. Apparently, no action has been taken against those who supplied and procured these vests that failed to protect our police.

The 26/11 attacks have enhanced security at our luxury hotels, airports and embassies. But can we confidently claim the same with regard to our railway stations and markets where India’s middle-class and poor throng? Is the common man as secure as a parliamentarian? Or do we have different standards of security for different classes of people?

Do Muslims and Sikhs feel as secure as do Hindus? Simply installing CCTVs in our cities or providing police with better equipment will not make Indians feel secure. We need to ensure that all sections of our population - rich or poor, Hindu or Muslim, upper caste or dalit – have access to security. Security will come only if the state is inclusive and sees the wellbeing and safety of all people as its priority.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)