Mumbai 26/11: Years Come and Go

New Delhi, 16th October, 2009: “India still Vulnerable to Mumbai Like Attacks” – P. Chidambaram, Home Minister, Republic of India.

If, this is the kind of statement made by our Home Minister, then what do you think: India is safe and can counter Mumbai 26/11 like attacks? Can India protect itself from such kind of attacks in future? Can we avoid such kind of attacks? One year has just got over and many more years will come and go. But, what about our action and reaction to such tragedies? Are we in the right direction? Where do we stand after one year of the tragic incidents of Mumbai? Is the history we are creating  follows the ‘right’ path?

Before finding an answer to all of the above queries or before debating on Home Minister’s statement, let us discuss some ground realities of  the aftermath of “Mumbai 26/11” and analyse the happenings of last one year from aamjunta’s perspective. We start this discussion in a step by step manner starting with the police reforms, action by the state and central government, re-action by the media and public awareness.

1. Police Force Got a New Look in Mumbai: Around Rs. 360/- million has been spent to modernise the Mumbai Police. There was a plan to spend more than Rs. 1200/- million to modernise the police force. Anyhow that amount still remains unused 😦 . A Quick Response Team (QRT) with 900 officers, (out of 900, 200 officers are trained on the line of NSG) has been deployed. 39 combat vehicles with latest arms and ammunitions and Global Positioning System (GPS) on board and 10/12 bullet-proof vehicles have been inducted. Moreover, there is a growing awareness among the police force and their families on health issues with an aim “always fit” to combat any kind of eventualities, which include handling internal or external terror  factors. Even though the new look of Mumbai Police, it is still not equipped enough to counter the sophisticated terrorist attacks. Still much more requires to be done without much red-tapism.

But it is to be seen: how is the quality of the materials, arms and ammunition, bullet-proof jackets purchased in the present scenario? Is it a repetition of the materials purchased before, which was the reason behind the death of Hemant Karkare and others in the past. Moreover, do we really behave humanly with our police force? I doubt!

2. New Look of Indian Navy: Geographically, India is vulnerable from all sides; Arabian Sea in the West, Bay of Bengal in the East and Indian Ocean on the South. This complicates the border security through the sea. We have to accept that at present Indian Navy do not have that much capability to counter terrorist attacks through its coasts. However, Indian Navy is waking up to its demand – Indian Coast Guard is re-shaping with 3000+ new recruits. Strength of Marine Commandos (MARCOS) is increasing, additional boats and bullet-proof boats are getting deployed in both east and west coast, chain of coastal radars are getting in place. But, still we lack in our preparation and alertness.

3. New Hubs for NSG: Four hubs of NSG – Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata with a strength of 241 each are in place now. In addition upgrading the weaponry and other arms and ammunition has already been done and some are on the pipe line. But what about the administrative hurdles for deployments at the crucial time? We lost precious time in Mumbai (during 26/11) and Chandigarh (during Air India Plane Hijack in 1998). It has to be kept in mind.

4. Mumbai got its New ATS Chief: How can ATS function without its head and that too in Maharastra for almost 8 months? It was really shocking! But after Mumbai High Court’s strict warning Maharastra Government appointed Additional Director General (Railways) K.P. Raghuvansh as the new ATS Chief on 11th June, 2009. That post was lying vacant after the death of Hemant Karkare during 26/11 terrorist attacks. The question arises – how come government took such a long time to appoint ATS chief and other senior police officials? Is it a failure of the state government or a political compulsion or a mere negligence? Aamjunta– What is your opinion?

5. Respect Shown by the Government Towards the Martyrs: Till today, the government does not know where is the bullet-proof jacket used by Hemant Karkare on that fateful night? Is this the way we treat our officers who have sacrificed their lives for our country? On a different note, even no one has time to inaugurate the memorial built at Thane on the memory of the martyrs of 26/11. Quite disgracefully, even some of the memorials built for the martyrs do not have correct names. Are we really serious or our respect is just a show?

6. Maharstra Home Minister: R. R. Patil is back as the new Maharastra Home Minister, a year after 26/11. During the terror attacks, he went on describing the incident as a small incident in a big city (and later denied that a communication gap resulted due to poor “Hindi”).  What about his speech in Hindi now? Hope this time he will not make any mistake while answering in Hindi.

7. PIL Filed in Mumbai High Court: There was a huge public outrage on the media’s role during 26/11 operation. Many news channels were irresponsible and their actions were condemned by the public and a section of media itself. Their code-of conduct during the operation was felt to be a security threat to the country. We too have condemned their action in our previous posts. In addition, a PIL has been filed in Mumbai High Court on 5th Feb, 2009 on behalf of the common man by ‘Small Change‘. Let us wait and watch and hope for the end of media-apathy.

8. Public Awareness: It is definitely a positive development that the common man or the aamjunta is aware now and is waking up towards its own responsibilities. There were silent marches, candle light protests, blood donation camps, etc. People have understood now who cares for security and who does not. Use of RTIs and  PILS have been substantially increased to bring the state machinery into line. Public awareness has also been increased which may become the key to national security and intelligence.

9. Committees after Committees: A two-member enquiry committee by R. D. Pradhan, ex-IAS officer and former Union Home Secretary and V. Balachandran, ex-IPS officer and former special secretary R&AW was set-up by the Maharastra Government. Recently, the committee has submitted its report. One wonders that this committee does not find who was responsible for the lapses, be the ministers or administrators or the police officers. However, it has slammed the then Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor, without even giving him a chance to defend. Moreover, there is no answer to other strategic failures like delay in action by NSG, delay in counter attack by Mumbai police and the strategic failure of intelligence. It was just a mere cover-up exercise of the government. Interestingly weak opposition both at the centre and state have not even bothered to force government or to put pressure. Instead, they are busy with their own speeches, morchas and in-fights. When will they think for the country, when their own houses are disturbed and fractured? Shiv Sainiks are so frustrated that they have to attack press offices these days in order to remain in news, leftists are busy with their own ‘red’ politics, BJP is busy with its internal problem – to find a new party chief and new leader and finally the 2nd/3rd/4th front… either busy with inaugurating their own statues or election campaigning or scams.

10. Diplomatic Relation with Pakistan: It is just like a cat and mouse game by both the governments on one issue… Delivery of dossier continues between India and Pakistan. Accusations after accusations and statements and counter-statements… is there any end to it? Pakistan is already getting its own boomerang, which  was created against India and Afghanistan. Everyday there are bomb blasts in different parts of its own country.  Do they want dossiers or actions or bomb-blasts? When will the diplomats grow up? Do they think by doing this they will get J&K? Indian diplomats should also realize that there are differences between making statements and taking actions. Better to take some serious actions first and then bring other things into perspective.

Aamjunta – what is your opinion? where do we stand- as an individual, as a city, as a state and as a country? Do you see any progress in any of the above fronts? Let the government do its own part and let us do our own. Seems government is coming up with a 20 point plan on the anniversary, but is that sufficient? Are they serious to implement this without politics? What about opposition? Where are they? Busy in fighting with other Indians on the basis of language, domicile and living! or providing a constructive opposition to the government?

Years will come and go, but … our actions and reactions will be remembered as a part of the history. So, decide whether we should facilitate a good or bad history?

Jai Hind!

P.N.: Let us pay our humble tributes to those thousands of innocent lives lost not only in Mumbai 26/11 but in many such attacks in the name of terror and politics.

Where do we stand after one year of the tragic incidents of Mumbai?

Thoughtless Media Reporting and Desperate Political Movements – Tamasha with Terror Attack

Those fateful and unforgettable 60 hours of terror drama at Mumbai has not only opened the Pandora’s box of so called free India, including free media but also has exposed the real face of our politicians. “On the record“, I’m not blaming any one, rather I’m writing some real and indigestible truth of the media and the politicians. If media is responsible for the security concerns and aftermath bizarre of the Mumbai terror attack, then the political establishment of our country too has given them the chance and feedings.

In a structured and systematic way, let us see what media has done — to start with our very own Indian Media. It was painful to say that during the operation, at one point of time the cameraman and the reporter of NDTV have shown live the positions of the snippers sitting on the top of the Gateway of India, near Taj. Don’t they understand that by showing the positions of our sharp shooters/snippers they not only diluted our effort, but also allowed the terrorists to attack our key positions with accuracy? Forget about NDTV, one news reporter of Times Now channel even had shown a map and the position of the armed jawans on that map live during the Nariman House encounter? How will they justify? Is it free speech? or does it comes under right to information? The same channel too had reported live a rumor of the terror attack at CST. The reporter went to that extent of saying, that she is hearing the gunshots and blasts and there is a major blast at CST. The entire incident was hoax and was a rumor. It was reported as a rumor too in the same channel. But, by that time the damage had already been done.

Neither NDTV or Times Now is singled out here. These are just few examples of thoughtless reporting. Almost all news channels (both Indian as well as foreign) have done the same mistake. The foreign media including CNN too has done some blunder by giving the locations of the guests live as reported (report published in DNA). Channel like BBC does not want to call the Mumbai bombers as “terrorists”, rather want to call them as “militants”. I’m not joking. It is true. The same channel called the London bombers as “terrorists” some time back. Don’t you think it is a double standard? I’m not going to discuss about the Pakistan Media here. They are of course biased to their country. There is no point of discussing them here.

During the 60 hours of terror operations, the Hindi News channels were broadcasting like some cricket commentaries; “ab dekhiye… aur, hamare do jawan jakhami ho gaye“…was that a six or a bold out? Don’t they understand the gravity of the situation and public sentiments? How will they justify these commentaries? On a different note, one TV channel (India TV) went on discussing on the contents of the e-mail they received from terrorist organizations on the terror attack. They went on emphasizing the contents, the language of writing, and had explained the meaning (extrapolated to some extent too) of the content. What was that? Right to information?, free Speech? or glorification? That, they are the first TV channel to show the email?, increase the TRPs? How will they justify their action? Don’t they understand that by doing so, they not only glorify the terrorists, they also create panic among the aamjunta? and in turn are helping the terrorists? Hindi channel India TV went on airing the telephonic conversations of their journalists with the terrorists holed up inside the Taj. How did they verify that those are the real terrorists holed up inside Taj? If they were sure and had the information, they could have given those to the security agencies, not live broadcasting. The entire conversations are now in you-tube. Terrorists will use these videos as their victory against a country and their morale will rise. Do we want that? This is a serious question to be asked at this moment. This is not journalism. This kind of journalism makes the terrorists as celebrities. BBC defines this kind of reporting by using the term celebrity terrorism

Some of the Human Rights activists cum journalists have theorized the entire incident as a conspiracy of RSS and BJP with Israel. What kind of human rights they are talking about? Don’t they have the common IQ that any other form of terrorism except Al-qaida and Lashkar have not come of age as yet, so much so to hold a city to ransom for 60 hours? They know how to give colour to the incident in the name of human rights! Where were they when innocent people and the jawans were killed mercilessly? Kindly do not add politics to the death of our brave jawans. This is not human rights, this is anti-human and non-human. These are few examples of the thoughtless reporting of the responsible media. There are many such incidents. How is NDTV going to defend such kind of reporting? Can they come up with one more on the record statement? I doubt. Many people including some of their own journalist friends and the Navy chief has too have expressed their dissatisfaction on this. One has to remember, “one small mistake can whitewash 10000 good things”. The sensitivity of reporting and thoughtful journalism is the need of this hour, not TRP rise journalism.

Saying all these things, I still will not deny giving some credit to the electronic media like NDTV/Times Now and CNN-IBN. They have shown courage and have published certain things which infact united the entire population, and has created awareness among many. At least, the common human being became aware of the ramifications of these terror attacks for the entire world.

Coming to politicians… Union Home Minister Mr. Shivraj Patil, Maharastra CM Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh and Deputy CM Mr. R. R. Patil … all three have resigned. Either they were forced to leave their posts or it is some political adjustment and face saving measure of the ruling party. Ruling party wants to keep the power intact as the election is around the corner. So, there will be some changes in their guard-ship, in a desperation. Their resignation is also a political movement and is clearly marked by Mr Singhvi’s press briefing. Every one wants to compare, “that our govt has done that, their govt did not do that”... Pathetic. Safety of the people, not Comparison is the need of the hour.

After the resignation of Mr. Deshmukh, CWC nominated Mr. Ashok Chavan as the new CM. See, how is a senior congress minister reacting? Is this the time for such kind reactions and revolt in the party? If he thinks so, then he does not deserve to be the CM. He has done that in the past (a few years back) and is repeating the same. I’m not doubting his capability. What worries me is the desperation and power-savyness among the politicians. During the terror attacks, ex-deputy CM Mr. Patil went on describing the incident as a small incident in a big city (and latter denied as a communication gap). On a different note, see how another ex-minister Mr. Gopinah Munde of BJP has acted? Without realizing the sensitiveness and the security concerns he visited the Nariman house area even before the end of the terror operation. How will he justify this action? I am sure he will have answers to this, as every politician has.

At the center, on that fateful day BJP’s PM waiting (this the word used by the media very often) Mr. Advani had shown some statesmanship by announcing that he is with the PM of India Dr. Manmohan Singh at the time of crisis. They went on announcing that both the PM and the BJP’s PM waiting will visit Mumbai jointly on a single flight to asses the situation after the sanitization. But, that did not happen. They visited separately and started on comparing the Mumbai terror attacks with the previous attacks. Who was interested to listen this? Where was the statesmanship? They visited separately, not because they were desperate for the Mumbaikars, but because they were tightly placed with their election rallies and wanted a face saving. Disgraceful.

On a different note, see how other national leaders and politicians of national parties are talking on Mumbai attack. Mr. Naqvi of BJP has commented with women with lipstick and powder, where as Mr. Achuthanandan commented on the refusal of meeting and reaction of Mr. K Unnikrishnan, father of slain Major Sandeep with some irresponsible and egoistic manner (I do not feel good to even repeat those statements here). Not only that, he went on justifying his statements further. What kind of attitude do they have? While all these things were happening, Mr. Deshmukh, CM of Maharastra had a dissasterous tourism trip to Taj with a film director and his actor son. Do they have public sentiments with them? I doubt. The politicians are not interested on the public sentiments, or the safety of the people, rather they are interested in their power, their own wellbeing and future of their sons and daughters. They can go to any extent to achieve this, can do corruption on the bullet proof jacket purchasing or fighting among them selves. Senior politicians like Mr. Lalu Prasad, Mr. Narendra Modi too have shown their desperation very much, through their usual political statements, pseudo-secular and inflammatory speeches . Mr. Modi went to the extent of visiting the terror hit places during the operation. Shame on all these so called leaders.

I have just cited a few of the reports here. There are many more such high dramas of desperation. Every one is busy for his/her own wellbeing; no one is interested for the martyrs, the innocent people and the aamjunta at large. Some one rightly said “an ace shooter shoots and gets a gold medal, govt gives 3 crore, another shooter dies while shooting terrorists, govt gives 5 lakh! Hats off to India!”

Aamjunta, better late than never. Wake up, before your house is ablazed and attacked.

Jai Hind.
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Bullet Proof Jacket for India, not Blame Games – An Immediate Need

Why do we blame Pakistan for any small/big incident in India? Cant we take care of ourselves and bring order?

Read the “Bullet Proof Jacket for India, not Blame Game” at Eddieskitchen on the track progressive thinking.

Thanks Eddie for the encouragement and space 🙂

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.

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