26/11, Mumbai Terror Attack – Clinical Measures

India was at a winning moment at Cuttack against England in the Day-Night one-dayer. Some of us were enjoying cricket and relaxing a bit in our TV room. I did not have my dinner as I was watching cricket. Towards the end of the match, couple of my friends planned a Natural Icecream trip for a post match celebration and they went to the nearest Ice cream parlour in HN immediately after the match. I could not join them due to some other professional engagements, even though I was very interested. A few of us were waiting for the post match presentation. Suddenly my phone rang, I was bit shocked to see the number flashing on my mobile at that late hours. When I picked up the phone, I could not believe the concerned statements, “don’t go out, there are firings near CST and some other places“. “What kind of firing?” and “how do you know?” were my immediate queries. “It is showing on the TV channels as breaking news now, check that“, were the answers from the other side. “Is it?, I’ll get back to you“, saying that I cut the call and headed to my room to check the news sites (because no one was interested in the TV room to change the channel from Neo Sports to a News channel, as hardly any one knew the gravity of the situation at that time).

Came back to my room, and checked the news channels; could not believe on my eyes and the things that I was seeing on my PC. I checked 3/4 different sites, there were conflicting reports, some were saying, it is a gang-war (between two gangs), some were telling it is a terror attack and some that it was a firing between police and underworld dons. Immediately I went back to the TV room to check in detail. Couple of my friends were watching anxiously the live broadcasts by that time.

Taj now

I was mum, when I saw the pictures in the live telecast from different places. Called my friends, those who were in the post cricket celebration at the Icecream parlor to come back to campus. Then I started watching the TV more carefully and was glued to the set for the next 60 hours. During those fateful, tragic and horrifying 60 hours, many ideas to tackle such unforeseen tragedies emerged and togetherness and unity among the fellow citizens increased manifold — something which is trademark of a national tragedy. The most important thing that media (the common man too) started giving low priority to the politicians — the so called policy makers and rulers of this country.

We had many discussions during those 60 hours. Many things came out of that. The first and foremost thing that came to our mind is that “the damage has been done and is irreversible; we need to move forward”. Mumbai as well as India has to stand-up against these kind of barbaric incidents and the show must go on. But, waiting with utter silence and ignorance will not only boost the confidence of the perpetrators and antisocial elements, but also will make us coward and irresponsible social beings. Neither our present nor our future will pardon us for this.

If you think carefully, you will understand that there are many sections of our society and socio-political establishments including the basic element of all – the “aamjunta” or the common man that need a through introspection and revamping, such that incidents like this can be avoided, and tackled with precision, if that occurs. To be very precise, the media, the political parties, the intellectuals, the industry, the security establishment and the common human beings have to look back for the remedial measures.

Media, including the print and electronic, needs to be very careful while dealing with such kind of situations. A small mistake and a wrong news can create havoc in the society. In the age of mobile phones and internet, it takes few second to spread rumours (and that has happened too during the last four days). Media has a big role in stopping the rumours from spreading. Airing sensitive news requires a lot of restraint and editing. Sometimes, even the truth needs to be edited, if required. In the name of free speech and 24/7 news broadcasting, do we think we should show how to make bombs?, analyze various plans of the terrorists live on TV, live broadcast of telephonic conversations with terrorists (to glorify them and increase TRP?), show the positions and plans of our armed forces live on TV so that people who are guiding the terrorists on satellite phones get each and every detail of the commandos plans and transmit it to the terrorists? These will not only create serious security issues, but also, will increase the strength and morale of the terrorists. They get the details of their enemy’s next step and plan at free of cost. This is a serious issue and requires a lot of self restraint. If that does not happen selflessly, such channels should be banned and a law should be enacted to stop them from broadcasting details in the name of “free-speech“.

Media should have some code of conducts and ethics. The journalists requires proper training. They have to be told, if they do not understand, what to show and how to show. Else, the live telecasts will be suicidal for us. All of us have to remember/realize that these are not cricket matches and do not require live commentary as if one is hitting a six or taking a catch. These are matters of life and death and have more emotional and ethical values than cricket. Giving live commentary (as seen in almost all Hindi news channels and some English news channels during those 60 hours of tragedy) requires thorough understanding of the situation, and should not be used as a political speech and advertisement. Remember, a slip of tongue can create havoc in the society.

The most important section among all is our political force. They are the people who frame the laws and rule the country. But, they are the worst and most irresponsible establishments among all. One can’t understand, what stops them to enforce tight laws? act at the time of crisis unitedly? How will one believe that they work for the country? Do they have any work ethics? Do they have any unity at the time of crisis? For them these are opportunities to appease a section of people and polarize. They only worry for their vote banks and for their power, not for the safety of the common man. For God’s shake do not politicize the supreme sacrifice of our jawans and stop putting banners showing their photo with your party’s symbol. They need respect, not to be used for vote business.

Same stereo-type response to every attack!! Pathetic. When the security forces were fighting at Taj, Trident and Nariman House, instead of avoiding their trips to such places, the politicians visited frequently. Don’t they think that this kind of irresponsible visits dilutes the security strength against the perpetrators? Both the ruling and opposition requires maturity and statesmanship at the time of the crisis. Working together, not pointing fingers” is required and expected. In fact, the situation is so worse that the ruling parties and the opposition can not even share the same airplane to fly to Mumbai. Their batch wise visits to Mumbai during this crisis led to jamming of the airport. Political will and speediness is required, not political leisure (like convening a cabinet meeting at 3pm, after some 18 hours of crisis). I request to all politicians of our country, Please remember, Aamjunta’s safety is more important than your own comfort. Come forward to lead the nation and speak from your heart, not read blandly written speeches without a second’s emotion.

On a slightly different note, does the political force have any back up plan? What if the Prime Minister or Chief Minister is out of station? Who takes charge and accountability? The show must go on and some one from the ruling party should show some leadership at that time. Accident/Misfortune never informs before hand. So, what about crisis management? Do they have competent authorities in their team? Political parties need to think seriously about this.

And what about the intellectuals? In the crisis times, I hardly see any kind of movement or listen their voice. Where are they? They owe a lot to the country, to tax payers. Why can’t they participate in nation building? What stops them? They only crib on TV, on news papers and in panel discussions. Do they have any courage and strength to go to the common man and mobilize against the perpetrators? No… I do not see that. They are very good orators, confined mostly to electronic media, and that too, selective complaints against some one or some thing they hate (or do not see their business), not the issue related to common man. Don’t they understand that they too can put more pressure on the government and the political parties for the benefit of the country? Forget about putting pressure, their ignorance towards such issues even at the time of crisis is worrisome. Some of them even do not want to know what exactly is happening on field? In the name of humanitarian concerns, (in fact only to advertise that they are concerned about the issues of common man) some times they sit on dharna, write articles, and give speeches about things that are absolutely beyond their perception. They are more calculative and will not sit for dharna, for any cause unless their interests are associated in it. They come straight to the media desk from some cocktail party (their dressing up shows that they have come from a party) or show their anger because of personal enemity.

And the security forces… we really thank you from our heart. We salute you not because of Kargil or Mumbai, but because of your dedication, your work ethics and patriotism. Our security force is up to mark. But, requires introspection too at the light of Kargil and Mumbai. The intelligence failure in both cases are alarming. Back up plan as seen in ATS was not up to the mark. The loopholes need to be sealed. Coordination between the security force and intelligence bureau needs to be strengthened. Police reform is definitely a major requirement in the light of attacks by Maoists and terrorists. This requires more political will and enforcement, rather than any major change in the security establishment. Giving extra resource and sophisticated equipments is definitely a requirement, but not the answer to all. Police force requires more organizational reforms and training for the new terror activities. The flexibility to work and less political interference in the police forces are the most significant pre-requisites. The mindset has to be changed, 18th century work style needs to be replaced by the 21st century need. Modernization and reinforcement of security force is definitely an answer to all.

Saying all above, I want to ask one thing, what about the common man? the aamjunta!? It has to act too. Common man (includes both gender) has to remember that this is his/her own country. Every time there is a crisis the aamjunta waits for someone to come and rescue him/her. Why is that so? What kind of responsibility it is showing then? The moment Nariman House was declared to be free of the crisis the aamjunta flooded into the area, more out of curosity than out of concern, as if there is a film shooting or some circus show going on. When the jawans were fighting with the terrorists, (sea of) people gathered to watch (some with even kids) the show from the Gateway of India side (Near Taj) and from Trident. Don’t they understand that any stray bullet can come and make their life fatal? We proved to be hassles rather than help to our forces. Unless the common people realize their role and responsibility no one can help them. The common man can’t ignore everything. The chalta hai attitude needs a through change.

Aamjunta at Nariman House

Help yourself first, then think of helping others, Educate yourself first, then educate others. It is you who can change and throw the terror-perpetrators, you have done that in past, in 1947 and before and can do it again.

Aamjunta think about it.

Jai Hind.

%d bloggers like this: